Recruiting from the Wider Pool








For some time now at conferences and dealer forums there has been talk and discussion about the importance of recruiting people from outside of the automotive industry. As a result a number of specialist agents have popped up offering bespoke events to draw people in from the high street retail and hospitality sectors to support dealerships in doing this, but do they work?

I recently met with an existing client who earlier this year had asked us to quote for just such an event. Now unfortunately we weren’t granted the contract but when I bumped into the recruiting manager recently and asked, quite innocently, how it all went he was less than positive. With less than twenty attendees to the event the pool of candidates was limited however they did shortlist and offer four people a position, which sounded like a positive result. However on the day of starting only two arrived and within a week another was dismissed as unsuitable, leaving just one. That last person has now been moved on for underperforming and other “behavioural” issues. When I asked what he planned to do next i.e. did he intend running another event he said very quickly no. This time he was going to put an advert in the local paper, talk to a couple of automotive recruitment agencies and use social media channels to attract the “right” candidates. His faith in the process had clearly been damaged beyond all repair by the outcome. So why didn’t it work?

Now I don’t suggest for a moment that these structured recruitment initiatives are bad thing, in fact quite the contrary. My team actually offer to deliver these type of events as part of our service offer but there are a couple of very important things to consider before committing a significant amount of money and resource to running one.

Firstly are you fishing in the right pool? What might sound like an odd question is very valid one. Casting a huge net to pull in large numbers of candidates is going to result in people unsuitable for both your business and culture but these events are about casting a huge net rather than a targeted fly-fishing technique. Once you understand and accept that you can begin to develop your event appropriately, but it will require you to give some real and deep thought about your business needs and what the “right fit” looks like so that the filter exercises are tailored to make sure that nobody unsuitable slips through to an offer situation. Once you’ve established that this is the right way to “go fishing” then make sure you sell your company to the potential candidates (take a look at this recruiter advert from Apple). Why? Well by mid-morning of the event they need to want to work for your organisation to the point of doing anything that is asked of them to secure a role with you and your team. Effective branding, vehicle displays, enthusiastic team members, brand videos etc. should all feature during your recruitment event. Remember, for thos of you who are old enough, Sell the Sizzle NOT the Sausage.

Secondly once you’ve selected some new team members review what happens on Day 1? Assuming for a moment you have taken the decision to recruit non-experienced automotive sales people then ask yourself, do you have a plan in place for their first few weeks (yes weeks) at the business? Is there a strategy in place to deliver a company and brand induction? Are sales process training courses scheduled immediately on their starting so that before you let them loose in front of one of your customers they know what to do and more importantly how you want it done? Do you have a schedule of compliancy training events (online or classroom based) again before they are actually sat in front of one of your customers? Have you planned for a “buddy system” by getting one of your existing team members to support them in the early days or even better engaged a mentor to work with them in the first few weeks and months?

Just give it some thought for a a moment. If any of us are thrust into an unfamiliar set of surroundings, with unfamiliar people being asked to do something we may have never done before we would fail without an effective plan to induct us into the processes and culture of the organisation so don’t let that happen on your watch, and make sure you give those people you have worked so hard to attract every opportunity to succeed.

I hope that helps a little. Good luck with your next rercruitment programme and do let us know how you get on. Alternaticley if you want us to help you put an event togtehr along these lines do get in touch.

Summary Focus Points

  • Establish if this type of event is suitable for your business needs. Don’t just do one because everyone else does them or as a result of peer pressure.
  • Plan the event as an external sales event. Lots of razzmatazz!
  • Once you’ve offered organise the first few days and weeks in finite detail and communicate to them before they start.
  • Schedule the start date around the training intervention delivery
  • Set frequent reviews for the first few weeks to make sure everything is slotting into place as planned and that the new team member is enjoying the process


Written by Darren Williams MIMI MIoD

Director of Elements PRMC Ltd

Reproduced from Auto Retail Profit magazine May 2016


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