Recently, I heard a new statistic in regard to the automotive industry. It has been projected that by the end of 2020 more than 75 percent of 30,000 technical jobs will not be filled. As a professional in the industry, this should be alarming to you because of the impact it could have on your business. Now more than ever, we need to be wise about how and where we are focusing our recruiting efforts. If you have a high turnover rate at your dealership, this is the time to take a step back and ask yourself how you can do better in regard to your hiring process.
Knowing that there could potentially be a shortage of technicians in just a couple years, how can we stay ahead of the curve and hire the right people for our businesses and dealerships?
Cast a Wider Net
A good place to begin your search for quality candidates should be at your local technical and trade schools. Trade schools are slowly becoming a stronger alternative choice for high school graduates and millennials. Get in touch with your local technical schools and find out when they offer career fairs and if they have a specific place they post internship and career opportunities within their network. It is important to build personal relationships with these schools, so the graduating students can be aware of your presence as they start their career search.
You can also search and connect with people interested in jobs in a targeted search on LinkedIn. Use the messaging feature on LinkedIn to start a conversation with someone who is in search of a job, and even start a conversation with people who are already employed as a technician or in sales to at least make them aware of your dealership and what you are looking for. Even if someone is not currently searching for a job, you never know when they may decide to make a change. Having your contact information on hand will make the process easier for them to reach out to you about their interest.
According to 2014 NADA data, the current percentage of female automotive employees remains stagnant at just 18 percent. A major recruiter mentioned that they had received over 1 million resumes, 40 percent of which were from women. But out of all of those resumes, only one in four were hired by dealers. With these numbers in mind, it is clear that women are applying for jobs within the auto industry, but are you following up with the resumes that you receive from women in particular? Investing in female employees not only diversifies a heavily male-dominated industry, but it also gives your dealership a chance to thrive with different kinds of leadership and ideas from a new perspective.
Create New Roles
A common thing I hear amongst hiring managers is that a person they hired for a certain position did not work out because “they weren’t the right person for the role.” Of course, it is nearly impossible to tell immediately if a person you have hired will be a great employee who will stay on your team for years, but you are able to recognize an employee’s strengths and weaknesses within a few months.
What if, instead of letting go of someone with great potential and ideas, you just created a new role for them to better suit their strengths? If you hire someone who is very detail-oriented to do sales and they seem to struggle making calls and face-to-face appointments, perhaps they are better suited to be a technician or painter. Instead of losing this employee altogether, offer to train them for another role. This shows that you see value in what they bring to the table, and that you are willing to use them for something else you may not have planned for during their immediate hire process.
Sometimes creating a new role for someone happens organically. It’s likely that when you became a manager at your current dealership, social media was not as important or effective as it has become now in 2018. Just like trends that evolve and shift over time, your business has to assess its needs and make sure you are ahead of the game. So, you may not have had a need for a social media manager or specialist in 2005, but if your dealership wants to stay relevant and keep producing strong sales, you likely need an employee that solely focuses on social media. If you have an existing staff member who knows a lot about social media, technology, trends, this may be a better-suited role for them. The difference between a good manager and a great manager is the ability to see the potential in their employees and utilize them effectively.
Of course, you may not always have the capacity or resources to create a new position for a new or existing employee. With this in mind, be sure to carefully select employees for new roles that need to be filled over time. Hiring employees, as with everything else should always be quality over quantity. If your dealership hasn’t considered creating new roles both internally, and for external hires, it may be worth contemplating as both the industry and the number of candidates looking for jobs shifts and changes over time.
Effectively recruiting new employees is a huge undertaking, and like many other things at a dealership, require a lot of trial and error. When you hire outside the box, network within the industry and work on creating new roles for employees, you will be sure to reduce turnover and increase employee retention.