The Key to Building the Best Team at Your Dealership

career site

Automotive is the second highest media spending industry in the U.S. and this spending shows no signs of slowing down. NADA data recently found that mass market dealerships spend 8.9% of total gross on advertising each year. But while a significant amount of budget is spent on advertisements and related consumer marketing, many dealers fall behind when it comes to job applicant marketing.

To remain profitable at a time of diminishing profit margins and competition from disruptive business models such as Amazon and Carvana, your dealership can’t afford to fall short when it comes to your people strategy. Below are several tips to take a similar approach to hiring as you take with consumer marketing.

Build and Maintain a Strong Career Site

Dealerships tend to spend a lot of time and resources building out compelling website content to attract qualified consumer leads, but many either don’t have a career site, or it lacks the content necessary to attract quality applicants. But given how much today’s job applicants complete research online, your dealership should invest in an enhance career sites, rather than exclusively focusing on consumer-facing website content.

A strong career site is critical to building a great team at your dealership, as the most engaged candidates apply to jobs through career sites – 30% of applicants from Hireology career sites are quality hires, the highest percentage across all sources. Use your career site to keep top candidates engaged by telling a story about your dealership, culture, people and core values. Also make sure your career site is mobile-friendly – and has an option to apply via mobile. Many candidates – especially millennials – use their phones as a primary browsing device, and this includes researching and applying to jobs, so you don’t want to miss out on this segment of job applicants.

Measure Your Digital Advertising ROI

For both online consumer advertising and sponsored job board postings, it’s critical to measure the effectiveness of your digital advertising. If certain advertising channels or job boards are bringing in more qualified customers or quality job applicants, you can allocate more budget toward those sources while eliminating sources that aren’t helping your dealership meet its goals.

On the digital advertising side, budgeting typically revolves around cost per impression, cost per click, or related metrics. On the hiring side, chances are you have limited – if any – visibility into how effective job boards are for sourcing quality candidates, and you might continue spending money on a source that has limited ROI. To understand your applicant sourcing ROI, divide the total cost of each channel – including national job boards, industry-specific job boards, local classified ads, social media, and other channels – by the number of quality applicants you receive. This will give you a cost per candidate, which is helpful for comparing different job boards and other networks that might have varying pricing models.

Continuously Hire

Similar to how your dealership likely markets to prospective customers on a continuous basis, you should also be proactive about your hiring strategy. Many hiring managers across industries make the mistake of only posting a job opening and beginning the hiring process when they have an immediate opening.This leads to spending recruitment dollars inefficiently and rushing to get a new hire in the door by relying on a high volume of applicants, rather than taking the time to find the right fit.

By strategically measuring your job board ROI as outlined above, you can set a monthly budget for total spend across channels, which also enables you to be more proactive about your recruitment efforts. Proactive recruiting saves time and money because it means you won’t be scrambling to buy a job board posting when an employee leaves, and you can build a pipeline of talent so you know where to turn when you have an opening. This is particularly helpful for high turnover and other roles you know you’ll be hiring for several times throughout the year – such as dealership auto technicians or sales staff. From an employment brand perspective, continuous hiring also shows that your dealership is successful and growing, which can get prospective applicants excited about the possibility of joining your team.

Effective marketing is key to attracting both customers and quality employees at your dealership. By thinking of hiring in a similar light to consumer marketing, you can build your best team and ensure your employees are a source of competitive advantage.


Adam Robinson is the co-founder and CEO of Hireology – the leading provider of hiring and talent management technology – which works with 1 in 10 automotive franchise dealerships to streamline and improve their hiring process, resulting in smarter hiring and a more profitable business.