The events of 2020 and beyond have impacted the manufacturing space in many ways. But the production of semiconductor chips — which power anything from toothbrushes to Playstations — has been hit particularly hard. And few industries have suffered the consequences of the chip shortage more than the auto industry.
For dealerships, the chip shortage has led to an extreme new car inventory shortage. And an increase in demand for personal vehicles across the United States has only exacerbated this. Consumers are sitting on savings and stimulus money and financing has never been easier. As a result, dealers are in a frustrating position — you want and can sell more, but are unable to do so due to lack of vehicles.
You may be tempted to pause hiring until the production of chips catches up with demand. If you can’t sell, why have more people on staff? Although it may seem counterintuitive, now is actually the time to focus on enhancing your hiring process and continue working hard to bring great folks on board.
There are two big reasons why. First, even if you think you’re fully staffed, chances are you’re not. You will always have a need for top talent at your dealership — whether or not there’s a chip shortage. So you can’t afford to put your efforts to build your best team on hold. Building your employer brand takes time, and if you pause now, you’ll be behind when the shortage ends and supply and demand are back in sync.
And secondly, if you can’t keep up with the demand for new cars, you need to find ways to unlock revenue from other profit centers at the dealership — such as F&I, used car sales, and service. But traditionally, it is really hard to find people to do this type of work well. You need technicians with experience turning used cars fast and a staff of salespeople who are skilled at getting those used cars off the lot. And regardless of the role, the folks you hire need to be skilled at keeping customers loyal and ready to return to your dealership as soon as the chip shortage subsides.
So what exactly should you be focusing on now as a dealership? How do you continue to build your employer brand and attract candidates for those hard-to-fill roles? The key is to focus less on maximizing the sheer volume of applicants and more on getting the right person in the right seat. But to do that you can’t rely on tactics you used prior to the pandemic. Times have changed and your hiring process needs to evolve too.
As the chip shortage rages on and times remain difficult for auto dealerships, here is how to improve your hiring strategy to bring on the people who are going to help your dealership win:
Revamp job descriptions
Regardless of the roles you’re looking to fill, chances are you’ll need those people to do more. Technicians have to work faster. Salespeople have to find a way to sell the cars you do have on the lot. That means you need to attract a certain person — someone with a wider range of skills. And your job descriptions need to reflect that. Be sure you’re using the right keywords and that the descriptions clearly outline the requirements of the job. You also have to make sure they’re optimized for search and that they are easy to read on a mobile device.
Update your career site
The best of the best in your talent pool has plenty of options. To attract them to work for you, you need to communicate what’s in it for them. The best way to do this is through your career site, which is a page on your website that serves as a hub for your employer brand. Your site should clearly highlight what you offer that your competitors don’t — perks like pay, benefits, hours, diversity efforts, and culture. You wouldn’t market a car without also listing it on your website for buyers to confirm, so why would you advertise jobs without a strong site for potential applicants to learn more about you?
Standardize your processes
To get the right person in the right seat, you have to move fast. Today’s top job seekers can and will move on to other opportunities if you don’t respond to their applications fast enough. In fact, according to a 2020 Hireology study, nearly one in three applications in the auto industry are considered lost due to slow or all out lack of response. The easiest way to speed up your response time and keep the best candidates moving quickly is by setting a repeatable, standardized process for your recruiters and hiring managers to follow.
Diversify your sources
When you’re looking to hire folks with a diverse set of skills, you need to source them from a wide range of channels. Think beyond traditional job boards like Indeed and make sure your career sites show up in Google searches and that you have a presence on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. The key is meeting your talent pool where they’re searching and spending the most time.
Consolidate your hiring tools
As noted above, you have to move fast in order to attract and hire the right people for your open positions today. But too often, your disparate hiring tools are slowing you down. You’re losing data from system to system and you’re wasting precious time moving between different platforms. With a consolidated hiring platform, you can drive efficiencies throughout the process, enabling you to keep candidates engaged, decrease time to hire, and even save money on your hiring efforts too.
The chip shortage will eventually end, but your need for top talent never will. So having processes and tools in place to hire the right people for the right seat will be important, always. Tools like Hireology can help. We’re constantly working to enhance our platform to help you keep pace with a rapidly changing automotive industry. Check back on the blog regularly for product updates.