Why the Job Applicant Experience is Critical to Long-Term Success at Your Dealership

job applicants

While 67% of the U.S. workforce would be open to a new career opportunity, only 1% of the workforce would even consider working for an automotive dealership, according to recent data from Hireology and Cox Automotive.

With the right hiring strategy and a strong employment brand, your dealership can reach top candidates who may have not even considered working at a dealership and can have a significant impact on your dealership profitability. The State of Retail Automotive Hiring Q3 2017 found 33 percent of recent dealership applicants surveyed held jobs outside retail automotive before applying to a dealership.

How can you attract top candidates at your dealership and turn your team into a source of competitive advantage? Consider the following best practices.

Focus on Your Employment Brand

A strong employment brand can help you stand out from the competition and attract top candidates, who will ultimately lead to increased efficiency, productivity and revenue at your dealership. To build a strong employment brand, highlight the benefits your dealership has to offer – including vacation time, certification reimbursement, a tool allowance, and more. Also build out career paths on your career site, so prospective employees can see ways to rise from entry level to management positions. And continuously share engaging content – such as videos, photos and employee testimonials, to get potential applicants excited about working for your dealership.

Support a Positive Candidate Experience

Your dealership should place as much emphasis on creating a top candidate experience as you do on creating a great customer experience. With a poor candidate experience, you risk losing out on quality candidates to the competition – and without quality employees, it’s nearly impossible to offer great customer service.

Not only can a poor experience cause you to lose candidates, but it can cause your overall dealership employment brand story to take a hit. Job candidates often leave reviews on Glassdoor, Facebook and other channels – and a negative review can drive future candidates away. Support a positive candidate experience by: reviewing new applicants quickly, following all steps in the hiring process, scheduling interviews in a timely manner, efficiently communicating with candidates, and following up with all candidates whether or not they receive an offer.

Treat Applicant Leads as You Would Consumer Leads

Dealerships spend a significant amount of budget on advertising to attract qualified consumer leads, but many fall behind with investing in employee sourcing channels like job boards. Your dealership should have a strategy to embrace digital advertising for dealership recruitment.

When it comes to applicant sourcing, some dealers might buy single, costly online job board postings any time an open role needs to be immediately filled. To optimize job board spending, you should instead diversify your recruitment channels to more than 1-2 sources – similar to what you likely do with your consumer advertising. Over time, casting a wider net across job boards, social feeds and local classified ads enables you to reach quality candidates through more sources while saving money that would have been spent on one costly posting.

Since most consumers have likely already made a buying decision before walking into your dealership, the only thing standing between your customers and the final sale is your people. And a poor customer experience can also cause you to lose future customers, as customers increasingly write and reference online reviews to inform buying decisions. By focusing on a strong people strategy, you can build your best team and, as a result, improve the customer experience, and increase productivity and profitability at your dealership.