By George Nenni
One approach to effective hiring is best framed by three questions. Take a look at the techniques you’ll need to use in order to be successful with digital candidates.
1. Can he or she do the job? Focus not on personality or ability to coach, but skill. Start by creating a worksheet that spells out the skills required for all candidates, as opposed to the ones you are willing to teach. Once you know your must-have skills, start reviewing resumes (or even better, LinkedIn profiles). Look for past experiences on resumes where applicants might have gained your required skills. Next, you will move on to the phone interview asking them specific questions that will gauge whether they have these skills or not. Don’t have time for phone interviews? The truth is, you don’t have time NOT to do them.
How many times have you sat in front of a fresh in-person interview candidate, and realized in five minutes they are not a good fit? We often want to be courteous and spend 30–45 minutes with the candidate before dismissing them.
Your time would have been much better spent in a phone interview, lasting only 10–15 minutes finding out if they have the skills to move to the next step in the process. In the phone interview, you want to determine how much knowledge and experience they have in digital marketing. How computer savvy are they? Can they effectively use a digital camera? What do they know about social media? Can they effectively communicate with customers in the digital world?
2. Are they willing to do the job? This can take place during either the phone or personal interview. I like to focus on past jobs the candidate has held. Will this be a step forward, or backward? Why are they making a career change? Since you know you will invest significantly in training them, how long do you expect them to stay with your dealership? Has this individual shown a successful track record of hard work, strong results, and career growth? Does he or she like to read and stay up on current technology? How fast do employees working in your dealership learn? Can this individual learn at that rate or above, and what recent technology developments can he or she bring to the store? How does this person handle conflict, confrontations, or angry customers? Is this candidate customer oriented? Determine not only whether or not an individual is the right fit for your dealership, but also, is your dealership the right fit for this person? Ideally, the goal is to find long-term employees who can start at entry level, and then grow into higher positions of authority. This is a stage where organizational fit is paramount.
3. Are they coachable? For this step, you need to truly get to know the candidate in person, and his or her personality. Consider getting out of the dealership and go to lunch or dinner. Evaluate the candidate in both a formal and informal setting. Focus on past relationships with managers. Why did this individual leave the previous position? Was there conflict with a previous manager? Sometimes this information can be difficult to discern from a candidate. For example, he or she may instead want to place blame on something else, such as the downsizing of the company. Use the approach taught in sales training: remove the objection. Ask questions such as:
“So if you hadn’t been downsized at company ABC, do you still think you would be working there?” If you get an answer that says, “No, I didn’t always see eye to eye with my boss”, you now have some work to do. Your goal then becomes to determine if the boss was unreasonable, or if your candidate was unreasonable. The last thing you need at your dealership is an employee who is difficult to manage. All of the skill in the world won’t outweigh a resistance to coaching. You will be spending a lot of time with this person so it becomes imperative that you have the proper fit.
The lessons for effective recruiting and hiring are difficult to summarize in a few short pages. In summary, when bringing on new team members, commit to changing the profile of your dealership. Add people who are skilled and knowledgeable in digital technology. Create your list of must have skills, and build a solid process for finding capable employees who can help you continue to be successful in today’s digital age. Happy Hunting!
George Nenni is the Vice President of Operations, and can be reached via the .