How to Make Your Retail Automotive Roles Attractive to Other Industries

There’s a stigma associated with working in the retail automotive industry that affects who and how you hire. These preconceived notions can limit your dealership’s recruiting in a couple of different ways, whether that’s through perpetuating the gender gap or being less inclusive to people with different needs or ethnicities. Even though the stereotypical car salesman may not be employed at your dealership, we as an industry have to show job seekers that’s the case — especially when it comes to attracting those outside of the retail automotive industry.

In terms of recruiting, there are currently more job seekers joining the labor force as time goes on, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Stastics jobs report. While other industries, like hospitality and retail, are still having a hard time sourcing the talent they need to provide a great guest experience, retail automotive is facing a different sort of challenge: there simply aren’t enough qualified talent on the market to meet vacancies left after the pandemic and people retiring.

Offer competitive compensation

This is a no-brainer — attracting top talent requires competitive compensation packages with benefits, pay, and time off. The key here is you’ve got to be competitive among those in your industry as well as the industries you’re attempting to pull talent from, so do your research when assessing your offerings.

You don’t have to be at the top of the market, but you should be within range. And when it comes to benefits offered, some things are non-negotiable — like paid time off and health insurance — but any other offerings, like dental or vision insurance, commuter benefits, or flexible work from home options, can really give you a leg up. 

Improve employee work-life balance

A Randstad Employer Brand Research study of over 175,000 working-age individuals revealed that a work-life balance was the second most important consideration when choosing an employer, after salary and benefits. Dealerships that don’t address issues with work-life balance are losing out on talent, and are likely contributing to the gender gap seen in the retail automotive industry.

In an Automotive News article, Dave Wright, an auto dealer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shared how he’s focusing on attracting and retaining the best employees to his dealership. He chose to cut store hours to help staff with work-life balance, closing at 4 pm on Saturdays and staying open only two nights a week. This shift in operation gives his staff more time to spend with their families, as the dealership is closed Sunday. It’s one sure-fire way to attract new talent, as well.  

Be strategic with job descriptions and interviews

Your objective in both job descriptions and interviews is not solely to find the best fit for your company, but when it comes to attracting professionals from other industries, you need to sell them on your dealership. It needs to be clear in your job descriptions that your dealership holds career growth opportunities, a standout culture, and competitive benefits.

In your interviews, you can go deeper into the specifics of what makes your dealership better than any other company they could work for. Talk about employee tenure and developmental offerings you may have, like continuing education courses or job shadowing opportunities, but also be realistic about what they can expect in their day-to-day role. Give them a tour of the dealership, and introduce them to individuals in their position. This will make them feel welcome and help them envision what working with your team would be like.

Utilize employee referrals 

Not only are employee referrals 3-4 more likely to get hired, they hold the best return on investment of any other hiring method. Incentivise your team to recruit their connections with a referral program by offering monetary rewards for hired referrals. Pay out your employees 90 days after your new hire starts to make sure they stick around, and make sure all your employees know about the offering.

If monetary rewards aren’t feasible, other types of incentives — like extra vacation days — are effective. Just keep reminding employees that their referrals are welcome, and previous automotive retail experience isn’t necessary.  

Strengthen your technology stack

The best way to offer a forward-thinking environment is to implement technology where manual processes exist. For example, dealerships pivoted to a digital-first selling strategy due to the pandemic, which drew record profitability. Those changes were adjustments made due to consumer expectations, so why not do the same for your applicants?

Think about the processes that your dealership goes through everyday. Do you have a CRM platform to keep track of your customers? Do you use an email marketing software for outreach? Have you implemented a digital recruitment process to reduce hiring and onboarding friction? Are you utilizing a payroll software to shave hours off your HR team’s time? Adopting user-friendly technologies can make your dealership a much more attractive place to work to those inside and outside the retail automotive industry.

The automotive industry is full of promise, it just has to be advertised as such to job seekers. Focusing on what makes working for your dealership better than working for any other company will win you top talent in today’s market and beyond. And Hireology can help! Schedule a demo today to see how we can transform your hiring process to hire your best team. 



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