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How to be ready for Gen Z F&I applicants

Unlock the secrets to hiring Gen Z in F&I roles. Dive into their motivations, tech expectations, and how dealerships can adapt for success.

If your dealership has been making a concerted effort to hire more from the Gen Z pool of job seekers for your F&I positions, there are a few key things to keep in mind. It’s important to really dial into what makes this applicant tick and what they respond to when looking at a job opportunity.

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z’s timeline varies a bit depending on what demographer you talk to, but it’s generally accepted that they are the generation born between 1995 and 2010. They are the largest generation behind Millennials and Boomers. 

They are just now moving into post-college roles and taking their first moves into a career and will represent about 27% of the current workforce by 2025.

They grew up connected to everything…they were the first generation to grow up with smartphones and all manner of ‘smart tech’ and they were the first to be immersed in social media. They have their finger on the pulse of what’s what in trends and navigating life in an online environment.

What does Gen Z look for in a workplace?

Dealers need to understand what truly motivates Gen Z employees as they begin their search. This generation values work-life balance, flexible schedules in the post-COVID world, and growth opportunities. They are highly motivated by a sense of purpose and typically want to work for companies that align with their values. 

With F&I, flexible schedules are not likely other than a weekend day and a day off during the week for most dealers. F&I is a mission-critical role and Saturdays are generally all-hands but offering flexibility the rest of the week will be important to offer. Be clear about what you can offer when advertising the position and in the interviews.

Dealers that are active in their communities will attract more Gen Z talent as well. Purpose-driven businesses that make it clear what they do both on a local scale and even national can be appealing to this younger generation of employees.

The role of tech and the Gen Z employee

A generation that grew up with smartphones and social media is also the most tech-savvy. They expect their workplaces to be up-to-date and modern – be sure your dealership has all the latest tech to help them make all their F&I tasks as easy and efficient as possible. Detailing these platforms up front shows the Gen Z candidates that they will have tools available to them to make their jobs easier.

Skills to look for

Focus on ‘soft skills’ when assessing Gen Z candidates. They are generally known for their strong communication skills and ability to collaborate effectively in teams, which helps in F&I. Consider using behavior-based interview questions that can shed light on how they may react in situations that likely arise in F&I. It can be stressful in the box.

What they want…

Gen Z wants a competitive compensation structure and benefits packages (who doesn’t, right?) so it’s important to look at the current F&I comp plan to see if there are improvements that can be made on the commission-heavy nature of the job. Gen Z doesn’t seem to mind the commission model if it allows for growth in income and realistic benchmarks.

The generation has been saddled with one of the highest amounts of student loan debt, so they are looking for some sense of financial security that helps them get ahead of those obligations. Inflation hasn’t helped either with many in the generation struggling to even find housing that’s affordable. Give them a shot at making a good living.

Gen Z also places a high value on DEI in the workplace. The car business has had their issues in decades past, but today’s dealership environment also sees the value in diversity and inclusion. Your dealership will have more success finding great Gen Z candidates for F&I if they see you’ve invested in making the environment one where they feel comfortable no matter who they are or what their background is.

This generation also looks for career growth and training/mentoring. They want to learn and be successful but will lean on the dealership to help them be their best. Few will come in the door with dealership or F&I experience…this is your store’s chance to mold them into the rockstar F&I managers you need. 

Sociologists and demographers like to say the ‘next generation is nothing like the ones that came before’ but in this case, they are right. Gen Z is not at all opposed to working in the car business, but they want growth, good income potential, and an environment where they have a chance to learn and succeed. 

Manage to offer all of that and you’ll get young F&I managers that could be with you for years to come, providing a bridge to younger buyers and helping to take your dealership into a more profitable future.

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Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain is a contributing writer for CBT News. She has over 26 years of experience in the automotive industry specializing in F&I and B2B sales.

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