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Dec. 27, 2004 – Who’s Going to be on Your Bus in 2005?

December 27, 2004
Filed under Features

It’s that time of year again! Time to gear up recruitment for an explosive Powersports season! The employee selection decision is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. REMEMBER, Your dealership will NEVER be better than the team you have loaded on “your bus.”
As we monitor dealerships from coast to coast we find all to often that even when the seats on the team bus are full they are full of the wrong people, or we seem to be putting good talent in the wrong seat or position.
So often we find players who would make great technicians failing as service writers or great sales talent failing as sales managers because we, yes you, took good players and put them in the wrong position.
The recruitment process is the foundation for developing a busload of winners. Employee recruitment is the process of soliciting job applications or resumes from prospective employees to work for your dealership and is the foundation of a solid team. There are several phases to developing a winning team, recruiting, interviewing, selection, background investigation, training, motivation and timely termination of tired or poor players.

CONSTANT RECRUITING
What we see happening all to often in many dealerships are what we call mercy hires. They are those people we hire “on-the-fly” with little or no thought. In most dealerships when a person is terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily, we frenzy ourselves to find a replacement depending on the position within the dealership.
The more critical the position, the more crazy we become. After all who has time to recruit? The reality is we should be recruiting all of the time. We should be recruiting employees every day of every month of every year! We want a body in that position as quickly as possible and sometimes we put the right person in the wrong job in an effort to save time.
For example, Jimmy Joe at the parts counter has just quit without notice. He is a major key player in our parts department so we hire Ray, a friend of Billy Bob from the service department. Ray has no experience and has been unemployed or underemployed for six months. We talk to him for a few minutes and we might call one of his references. We hire him and he works for six months with poor performance and attendance. He causes problems with other employees and upsets our customers. We end up terminating him.
This hiring decision cost us much more than just what he made in terms of earnings. Turnover costs are huge and can be many times an employee’s annual earnings because of lost customers, or other strong players leaving the team because of the internal problems a bad player can create. Remember to slow down the hiring process as much as you can by planning ahead.

DEFINING REQUIREMENTS
Do you know what kind of person it takes to be successful in each position in your dealership? Do you know what personality types have a high probability for failure in those positions and how to identify them? At PowerHouse we have spent a great deal of time and energy indentifying the make up of a winning player in the different positions of a powersports dealership.
Think about it. If you do not know what type of person you are looking for what are your chances of finding him or her?
Once you know, you should interview as many candidates as you can to minimize a costly hiring decision. Thus recruiting, or gaining as many possible applicants for the position, only increases your chances of success and reducing your turn over costs and chances of “mercy hires”.

RECRUITING METHODS
There are some pretty effective and easy recruiting methods available to powersports dealerships. As previously mentioned, we should be planning and recruiting all year long. The two types of recruiting available to you are internal and external recruiting.
The most cost effective recruiting that we can do is internal recruiting. One method is employee referrals.
The upside to hiring friends of current employees is we sometimes know them personally and we can vouch for their character and ability. The downside is hiring referrals of existing employees can lead to “stagnation of ideas” or a type of “inbreeding.” Remember, having a diverse workforce in a dealership can be productive and profitable.
Another type of internal recruiting that I have found highly effective is the possible pool of candidates that walk through your door every day – your customers! Most all of them we know are enthusiasts! They have strong technical knowledge of the products that we sell and usually have a huge passion for our business. They also usually end up being happy employees, working with what they love. And the employee discount doesn’t hurt either!
Having effective recruiting posters throughout the dealership placed in key locations is important. Also having an area on your dealership’s website dedicated to employment within is a great idea. Both of these suggestions are a great starting point to target internal candidates at your dealership.
External recruiting is more costly and time intensive but the costs of this type of recruiting certainly are outweighed by their benefits. The most common type of employee recruiting is running an ad in the newspaper. I know it’s not exciting or glamorous but I have a few suggestions for running an effective help wanted ad in the newspaper.
First of all, be creative! Be creative in the copy as well as where you decided to place the ad within the newspaper. If you are targeting major unit salespeople, run your next employment ad in the Motorcycle Section of the classifieds instead of the Employment Section.
Also, use language that isn’t normally used. For example, some of the most effective recruitment ads that I have researched for motorcycle dealerships used the phrases such as “No Slackers Need Apply,” “Want to work with your passion?” and “Want to work in a Rock and Roll environment?” These types of principles can also be applied for Internet-based external recruiting such as Hotjobs.com and Monsterboard.com.
These types of recruiting methods can be expensive and should only be considered if the talent pool is limited in your geographic area. Participating in job fairs can be highly effective for medium to large sized dealerships. In many market places job fairs are sponsored by the local chamber of commerce and community colleges. You will need to pay to play but the results can be good.

SCHEDULING INTERVIEWS
Another key to effective recruiting is scheduling your time to be available for pre-screen interviews. If prescreen interviews are limited to 10 to 15 minutes, more people can be seen. Remember, the purpose of a pre-screen interview is to sell the dealership as well as review the candidate’s qualifications.
We have found that administering a third party personality profile increases your chances of getting through the “chafe” and finding the capable prospects, but you must know what type person will naturally excel in the position you need to fill.
A second interview should be scheduled for a later time with more in-depth profiling. This process allows you to screen many more applicants without demanding so much of your time as well as increasing your success in choosing the right employee.
Employee recruitment is only one phase of the hiring process. By adopting sound and consistent recruitment processes you are increasing your chances of hiring a qualified and competent employee that will serve you for a long time to come! The time is now to start planning for the next selling season, it will be here before you know it! Use your time during the less busy season wisely to plan for the next operating year. By planning now you will save yourself a lot of money on training and developing bad hires. Increase your chances of success! Remember that in order to avoid living with the“ Best of the third string” you have to handle the entire employment process differently and creatively .

– Bill Shenk of PowerHouse Dealer Services may be reached at 866.896.3759 or email Bill@phdservices.com.

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