In the grand scheme of retail businesses, auto dealerships have recently been the lone source of optimism in the job market. According to Bloomberg View, retailers weren’t able to enjoy the historically productive hiring period in the late 4th quarter – December – when sales are typically at their strongest.
In fact, a mere 4,300 jobs were added in the retail space when you factor in seasonally adjusted numbers, meaning a year-over-year outlook. The saving grace in this sector were auto dealers, which increased their payrolls by 7,900 employees.
What Does that Mean in the Long-Term?
In a recent webinar for Automotive News, Hireology CEO Adam Robinson explained that auto dealers are actually in a pretty precarious position. Volumes are at a record-high while there are consistent declines in gross margins. In many ways, dealers have never had less control over their businesses. Just to name a few, auto dealership operators can’t control:
- Buyer demographics
- Consumer demand
- State and federal regulations
Along with a wide range of other factors, these are hugely influential components of operating a successful business. However, another key feature of productive and profitable dealerships is something that many operators don’t think about: hiring. Payroll is not only something that dealers have control over, but it has also become a competitive advantage for those with the right hiring strategy.
Key Features of a Hiring Strategy for Your Dealership
One factor that’s fundamentally changing the hiring landscape is the size of the entry-level workforce, which is shrinking. As a result, dealerships have to be prepared to hire smarter and more efficiently than ever before. The pool of talent is getting smaller, meaning you can’t risk hiring the wrong people.
Here some additional insights from the webinar that can improve your strategy:
Seek out a more diverse skill set: One of the traps that many dealers continue to fall into is hiring based on a checklist. Essentially, they look for auto sales experience and then make the job offer. It’s increasingly important to add people to the payroll who have a more well-developed set of talents. For instance, the modern dealership requires a wide array of communication types and styles. Whether it’s in person or via email, phone, text and chat, members of your team have to be able to create the right experiences at every touchpoint.
Understand the demographic shifts: The 800-pound gorilla in the room is the millennial generation. They’re not only entering the workforce at an enormous rate and volume, but they’re also becoming the target buyer segment. They require slight adjustment in mindset and in recruiting. Instead of asking only what the new hire can bring to the dealership, it’s important to ask what they are looking for. Ultimately, dealers will have to work at cultivating the next generation of leaders.
Look outside of auto sales experience: Again, reiterating the issue above, auto dealerships have begun to run into problems when they only hire individuals with sales experience within the automotive sector. In many cases, people with industry experience have developed bad habits that then get passed on to others. Instead, forward-thinking auto dealerships have begun to use training to build the necessary skillsets that will give new hires the best chance of long-term success in their career paths.
Use technology that fits your needs: In most dealerships, hiring still lacks structure. In contrast, nearly everything else has a process. Technology is a major component of ensuring your auto dealership develops a candidate experience that will attract top talent.
For instance, mobile technology is leaving a lasting mark on job seeking – and, ultimately, recruiting. Upwards of 50 percent of applicants on auto dealership career sites originate on mobile devices. Instead of asking candidates to rewrite their resumes on their phones, it’s important to develop a platform that’s intuitive, efficient and user-friendly.
Learn how to boost your dealership’s business through better hiring. Click below to view the complete webinar.