The key to the success of any business is simple; it’s about hiring the right people to be in the right roles at the right time. Many dealerships miss the mark on retaining the talent they want and need and therefore experience high costs of turnover.

Not all turnover is bad; however, too often dealerships have extremely high turnover, much of which can be attributed to what I like to call a “Fire Hire”. A Fire Hire is when someone feels that their store/department will catch on fire if they don’t make a hiring decision today. It’s unwarranted pressure. The dealership will not catch fire and the store won’t close the doors. Making a bad hire today because you are in too big of a hurry doesn’t solve anything. In many cases, the hire causes another fire because the individual hired wasn’t qualified or was the wrong fit from the beginning. So, the first thing we have to do to reduce our turnover rate is to slow down to get it right.

In most stores, if everyone would simply slow down the hiring process the dealership turnover rate and the cost will automatically fall because more informed decisions will be made.

5 Steps to Hire Right

1. Write a clear job description.

A job title/function, immediate supervisor, and job purpose are just the beginning of your job description. A job purpose, if you aren’t familiar with that, is a simple statement that encompasses the core function of the position.

For example – “Help prospective customers purchase a new vehicle while delivering exceptional customer service”.

Duties and responsibilities are the toughest part of any job description. This is not an exhaustive list of everything this individual will ever do. It’s also not a list of “thou shall nots”. It’s a list of duties and responsibilities that are crucial to the execution of the position. Use action verbs like repair, sell, or prepare which describes duties or responsibilities. Avoid words like understand, analyze and determine as much as possible. These are not measurable concepts as related to most automotive positions.

Understanding is likely the most abused of the bunch. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen “understand the customer’s needs” on a job description. What you really want is for the salesperson to be able to identify key buying signals and act upon them during the sales process.

Other items commonly on a job description are qualifications (ASE certified, high school diploma), physical requirements and direct reports. I need to draw special attention to physical requirements. Never include any physical requirement of the position unless it is required of all applicants and is actually required to do the job. As an exaggerated example, you can’t make it a requirement that the next service advisor be 6 ‘10” or taller because you feel it would be nice for someone to reach the top parts shelf, when a ladder would allow a 5’ service advisor to reach the same parts and do all of the same duties.

2. Create Great Employment Ads

Too many dealers forget that the ad is designed to get people interested in potentially working for you. You want applicants to read your ad and want to respond. Is there something special about your store? Do you have fewer hours than your competitors? Does the position you are looking to fill have some high-value perks, like set hours?

You should use the duties and responsibilities as the base of your ad, but not as your ad. Again, I’ve seen dealership ads where it was the job description just dropped in ad space.

Be creative, but not deceitful. Stop getting stuck in the same old job titles. Recently, I had the opportunity to test a theory and you may be shocked by the results. I ran a traditional automotive sales professional ad: “Highly successful auto dealer searching for highest caliber sales professional … no automotive experience needed … will train. Valid driver’s license, clean driving record, ability to follow direction” … you get the idea. The response rate on this ad was 39 ad views and only 7 responses; it was horribly ineffective.

So I dug into the job duty expectations and found that the dealership position had many of the same qualities found in customer service positions and I ran a different ad: “Customer service representative – looking for that upbeat winning personality that loves people and solving problems. Entry level, full-time with all training provided. Must be willing to provide outstanding customer service, follow direction in showcasing company products and services, maintain accurate customer records” … etc. The response rate on this ad was 702 ad views and 186 responses.

If the job of the ad is to create qualified applicants to join the team, clearly you need to be creative in your ad writing because 26 times the respondents allows you to make a better selection of applicant.