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5 Steps to a Successful Dealership Hiring Process

August 26, 2011

By: Carletta Clyatt

A leaner, more aggressive auto industry is making a comeback, hiring workers and ramping up manufacturing you know how to hire the right people?

Some otherwise very smart auto dealership executives may be surprisingly ill-prepared to tackle the all-important business of hiring! They might manage small offices and, perhaps, up until now, have been lucky enough to know and trust the people they hire, i.e., relatives and/or friends -- individuals from inside their own parameters, their own comfort zone.

However, as their businesses grow, these dealers are almost certain to run out of family members or acquaintances when looking to fill open positions. When the inevitable occurs, small dealership managers will be dependent on a strange, often intimidating unknown for their staffing source: the outside world! They’ll quickly discover that it’s best to take plenty of precautions before hiring – and not base personnel decisions on their own gut feelings!

Managers of larger dealerships might also think a more formalized hiring system is unnecessary. Often, too many layers of corporate bureaucracy yield complex problems and unexpected, time-driven emergencies within these organizations. Stringent hiring practices may seem impractical or too time-consuming and the primary objective of a corporate HR decision maker may be to simply find somebody -- anybody -- to quickly fill an open slot. A common myth often accepted as inarguable fact at large dealerships is that frequent employee turnover is normal and unavoidable so it almost doesn’t matter who is hired – the logic being that he or she will probably leave soon anyway. Unfortunately, such a misguided theory simply fuels the fires of inefficiency and expense, compounding the already exasperating everyday problems these major dealerships face.

Regardless of how few or how many employees any manager oversees, the goal of leading trustworthy, capable, long-term and well-suited staff members should be undertaken and achieved. List your needs and some reasons for those needs. This will help you set priorities and may cause you to see the strengths or weaknesses of your expectations and ideas in a more realistic light. Think about the specifics of your work environment. Is it fast-paced? If so, you have good reason to avoid hiring people who tell you they are “patient and systematic.” While such persistence and diligence may sometimes be thought of as admirable qualities, they are almost certain to become debilitating liabilities in a busy, highly charged atmosphere.

When you are ready to start looking to incorporate your next "A Player" on your team, consider this:


Once you’ve placed your ad and gotten responses from applicants, start weeding out the very obvious misfits. Whittle down your candidates to a small number that seems reasonable to you, but keep in mind that as you dig deeper into each person’s background, you may uncover more than just a few unpleasant surprises. Current research shows that 30 to 40 percent of all job applications and resumes include some false or inflated facts!


Consider performing a background check before allowing a total stranger to join your dealership. It’s something you owe not only to yourself but also to your existing employees. Incidents of violence and crime in the workplace are well documented and, unfortunately, no longer uncommon. Make sure there are no issues from an applicant’s past that make you uncomfortable. “Negligent hiring” is a term commonly used in today’s business world and can be alleged if an employer fails to exercise reasonable caution when choosing an employee. Courts increasingly hold employers both financially and legally liable for illegal or violent action taken by employees not subjected to reasonable pre-employment screening.


It’s also wise to ensure your potential new employee possesses the skills needed to perform well for you. This can be done by administering proficiency tests that are job appropriate and designed to demonstrate abilities in areas such as typing, math, writing or deductive reasoning. Don’t just assume that the person interviewing for your bookkeeping position is mathematically gifted. Sometimes, people who say they know how to make complex, formula-based calculations really don’t…surprise!


Once your applicant has cleared a background screening and proven his or her abilities, there is another assessment you may want to make. It’s an extremely important one -- a determination of your potential new employee’s compatibility with the proposed job and the proposed work team! If you’re looking to retain good, productive employees, make sure the people you hire fit the profile of the target you have in mind for the job.

A behavioral assessment is not a pass or fail test. Behavioral evaluations, determined by your applicant’s responses to a simple online questionnaire, are readily available and offer extensive insight regarding a person’s strengths, weaknesses, suitability to the job and motivational hot buttons. A formalized hiring system needs to be implemented in order to avoid the expense, disappointment, and frustration that a misfit employee brings to a dealership.


Consider your own style of management and keep in mind that you’ll need to understand yourself before you can motivate and inspire others.

Do you micromanage or do you expect subordinates to work independently?

Is your ideal employee one who consistently asks for your advice or one who makes solitary decisions?

Surround yourself with subordinates who mesh with your own work approach and you’ll reap all the rewards that follow.

It is possible to lead a group that’s productive, cohesive and loyal, but to do so you’ll need to know your own unique expectations then seek and find subordinates who can live up to them. Don’t just hire anybody! Demonstrate your excellence as a decision maker and gain the notice of others within your organization. Take your management skills to new levels by employing workers who exceed expectations and rightfully deserve full membership to your team!

Need help with your interview process?

Start with this FREE 5 PAGE GUIDE to Behavioral Inteviewing Questions!

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Carletta Clyatt

Carletta Clyatt, a popular seminar speaker, is the SVP at The Omnia Group. She offers clients advice on how to manage more effectively and gain insight into employee strengths, weaknesses and behaviors. For more information about employee behavioral assessments, call Carletta at 813-280-3026 or email:

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