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Volunteering as a Hiring Guide & Benefit

I’m always inspired after reading through our contributors’ articles each month. Their willingness to share their leadership, sales and marketing advice is a testament to the generosity of our industry.

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I’m always inspired after reading through our contributors’ articles each month. Their willingness to share their leadership, sales and marketing advice is a testament to the generosity of our industry.

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I was particularly touched by Mike Esposito’s article titled “Hire for Attitude, Not Skills.”  Mike is Auto/Mate’s president and CEO, and he recently was honored with a Top Workplaces award for the company. In his article he recommends dealers look beyond work experience on candidates’ resumes and take a look at their extracurricular activities.

He advises, “If your dealership is focused on providing the best customer service, you probably want to hire people who are other centered. Ask candidates if they have ever volunteered for an organization or if they participate in community events for good causes.”

I found research from a Deloitte Impact Survey, where respondents reported that they see volunteer experience listed on only 30% of the résumés they receive. At the same time, the majority (82%) of respondents said they would be more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer experience on their résumé.  

While the majority of respondents found all types of volunteerism to be beneficial, respondents slightly preferred skills-based volunteering for building skills that they see as “must haves” for leaders. When it comes to skills-based volunteering, the majority of respondents believed that it improves communications skills, strengthens accountability and commitment, and helps individuals develop strong character, all traits that respondents identified as leadership “must haves.”

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Despite survey results indicating that volunteerism is a valuable tool for developing talent, nearly half (47%) of respondents said their workplace does not offer a volunteer program. 

It’s pretty clear that volunteering not only helps the organizations gaining the help, but also the volunteers themselves, reinforcing Mike’s advice on its importance. I myself have volunteered for the past two years as the chairperson for the Family Resource Council (FRC) in Mount Washington, KY. I oversee two local schools’ programs. The FRC is a committee that helps children and families get the things they need — from a pair of shoes to Christmas gifts and holiday meals to our Blessings in a Backpack that go to kids who could use meals on the weekends. Working with the state, our committee of the school principals, counselors, parents and community leaders is able to help the many children right in our own community who need our help. I’m extremely passionate about it, and selfishly, I get so much back from it, that I feel like it’s an honor that I’m able to help. People have asked how I have time for it. My answer is that I make it a priority because it makes a difference in a child’s life.

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I asked others on our AutoSuccess team about their volunteer efforts: 

Aime Szymanski, senior editor: “I worked with my local library to improve literacy in the area. I’d spend a few hours on Saturday mornings sorting and organizing books for a large discounted book sale in the spring to encourage the community to spend their summer reading. As a dog lover, I used to visit the shelters to walk the dogs and play with them so they’d get some loving before they were adopted. The great thing about volunteering is that you can do something you enjoy while bringing joy to others as well.”

Thomas Williams, art director: “Most recently I volunteered at my wife’s high school for troubled youth. It’s like a career fair where individuals from the community come in and help to educate the students on the many career choices they have and how to go about positioning themselves to get to where they want to be in their lives. I’ve been doing this for many years now and it always feels rewarding to know that, even if you’ve helped just one student, that you might have made a difference in someone’s life. We all deserve a second chance in life and helping someone at a young age can be beneficial in helping them change their course for the better.”

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Jennifer Clements, editor: “I’ve volunteered for many years for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s One Walk, which raises money to make living with Type 1 Diabetes safer and healthier. While it may be as simple as handing out water or packing lunches, the walkers are so appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts and they know that the benefit goes beyond helping them, but really working to get closer to the day that there’s a cure.”  

Sean Donohue, group publisher: “My wife and I have been actively involved in a local charity that provides free supportive services and programs for individuals and families touched by cancer. As a board member, I would collaborate with the entire team in an effort to raise as much money as possible to make sure the organization could continue. Every time I stepped foot in that place, I felt like my efforts meant something. Every event and every time the team gathered, we knew this was affecting someone or some family directly. It meant a lot to me.”

For more inspiration, check out our Dealer Panel, where we’ve asked dealers what they do to encourage their employees to volunteer. If you’d like to share your volunteer story, please send them to me at the email above.

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Click here to view more solutions from Susan Givens.

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