Don’t Settle!

Mike-Stein-newsletterHow much does it cost when we hire people out of desperation and they end up being the wrong person? It’s estimated that a bad hire can cost a company $60,000 to $120,000 depending upon the position and time spent at the business. 

Having the ability to go around the country, I have run into the scenario of hiring a new technician, service advisor or parts counterperson in an act of desperation because there was a need. Sometimes a fantastic new employee is found and becomes an instant member of the team. Unfortunately, this seems to be a rarity and most times the new rushed in employee disrupts the team, causes animosity and becomes a new challenge a manager must now deal with in a business filled with daily challenges.  So what can we do to try and weed out the candidates that may not be the best fit?  How do we avoid the chaos?

 Let’s start by looking at the hiring of someone with experience.  During the interview, have the candidate clearly define how they measure their own success, and what made them successful. Measure this against their experience and work history.  Now, how would they fit in to the culture of your business? Are they going to pull everyone up with them, or are they more interested in standing on the pedestal alone?  A huge mistake I am finding is checking references!  This happens over and over again. We take the word of the candidate for their work history. Take the time and check if they are hazy on when and where they worked. Is that maybe the first red flag?

 When it comes to being part of the “team”, how do you feel this candidate will do? The last thing you want is what was once a nice harmoniously balanced department becoming disheveled with animosity.  Trust your gut or come up with some alternative directions to take during the interview process.  One dealership I went to in North Myrtle Beach has the candidate work for a couple days to see how they fit in. This particular manager pays them an agreed upon rate for each day to see how the team comes together.  To date this method has been successful, some fit in and there is excellent energy. Sometimes it’s apparent from day 1, it will not be a good fit.

 What about our pool of candidates? How are we finding our future talent?  Are we only working with who knows who? Employee referrals? Have you done any multi media campaigns or put an advertisement in your newsletter?  Maybe it’s time to look at some recruiting platforms.  Finding an exterior recruiting company who can advertise and screen potential new employees. Just as we are looking to earn our customers loyalty and repeat business, so are professional recruiters.  This will save you time and aggravation.  The time is the key element in this equation as we find ourselves scrambling for every extra minute of the day there is.

 While sources for new employees varies dependent upon the manager, market and company, I’ve always felt the best new employees are the ones we groom in preparation for succession.  Having someone come in without bad habits is ideal.  Someone we’ve trained and molded to be part of the team, and taught to follow our set processes. That is your perfect candidate to step up and fill the void.  It’s an investment to make for the future that needs to be made to keep the gears of the machine turning.  Look to the customer service industry, cell phone stores, hotel chains, your local colleges and technical schools.  Let’s inform people about the possibilities for various career choices in today’s auto dealerships.

There are excellent candidates out there. They are sometimes in the most unlikely of places.  Success stories in this industry range from a fixed operations director rising through the ranks from a lot porter; a former fast food cashier becoming a lead service advisor, to a young salesperson with not much experience eventually owning their own dealership. I can go on and on of the great people I’ve met along the way.  Whatever you do, don’t settle…the next great person could be closer than you think.



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