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Map out your dealership’s 2023 hiring strategy with data-backed solutions

Modern retail dealerships need a modern staffing strategy to gain a competitive edge in this hiring market and stand out to job seekers.

Breaking News: 55% of dealerships are still struggling with a low talent supply. If a lack of qualified applicants is your dealership’s number one hiring and HR challenge going into 2023 — you’re not alone.

The good news is that there are actionable steps you can take to rethink your dealership’s talent strategy; but it all starts with using the right technology to create a process that you and your candidates will love.

Trusted by 1 in 4 dealerships nationwide, Hireology is dedicated to helping those in the automotive industry find, hire, and keep great talent. Our all-in-one platform is designed to intuitively centralize all of the steps in your hiring process so that you — and your candidates — have an easier and enjoyable process to navigate.

As part of Hireology’s commitment to our automotive retail customers, we continuously keep our fingers on the pulse of the current hiring landscape. Last November, we asked 121 recruiters, hiring managers, and HR leaders across the retail automotive industry questions about their real-life experiences with the modern workforce in an effort to not only understand the current obstacles but to help problem-solve.

This year’s results? There are five different people-focused opportunities for dealerships to stand out from the hiring masses and achieve both your recruiting and hiring goals in 2023, which we’ve outlined in The 2023 Future of Automotive Hiring.

Other key findings from this latest report include:

  • Last year, 93% of dealerships were ghosted by a candidate
  • 87% of respondents have re-hired a former employee (also known as a boomerang employee)
  • The top source of quality hires for 34% of dealerships is employee referral programs
  • Partnerships with local colleges and high schools are a valuable candidate source for 43% of automotive dealerships
  • In-person events, like job fairs, are a key source of talent for 41% of dealerships
  • Less than half (41%) of all dealerships offer clear career pathways

The constants

When it comes to the hiring landscape, there are two concepts that will remain essentially unchanged: recruitment and hiring. Despite these consistencies, there have been advancements made in these sections of the employee lifecycle with every passing day that can be the difference between putting the right person in the right seat and losing out on top talent.

A new day brings new ways to connect with and hire the technician talent you need, which was one of the most in demand roles the industry saw last year. It doesn’t appear that the supply of talent needed to satiate this need will appear in 2023, meaning that creatively campaigning open roles is now pivotal to acquiring the staff dealerships need. New ways of approaching the recruitment process require hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals to think outside of the box in order to diversify their applicant sourcing strategies. The upside: now dealerships can use sourcing data to improve recruiting strategies, so there’s no reinventing the wheel. By using modern HR technology, automotive retailers now have the technology at their fingertips to get the best ROI per candidate source.

Simply put: modern retail dealerships need a modern staffing strategy to gain a competitive edge in this hiring market and stand out to job seekers. In 2022, the hiring industry as a whole shifted to marketing open roles in the same ways that companies advertise their goods and services – and the retail automotive industry was no different.

Changes to make at your dealership in 2023

In the Future of Automotive Hiring for 2023, Hireology outlined the five opportunities dealerships have to improve their hiring power this year. To give dealerships a glimpse at the value these circumstances allow, we’ve created this additional list of actionable steps your dealership can take this year to improve your recruiting and hiring rates.

Candidate-centered approaches are key

In the automotive industry, there are two open roles for every job seeker – meaning that your processes need to be quick and focused on providing the best experience possible for your candidates. Top talent doesn’t have to stumble through elongated hiring processes and multiple interviews anymore, simply because there are more options available to them than before the pandemic.

One way to recenter your recruiting process is to literally put your application in the candidate’s hands. Modern software, like Hireology’s TextApply feature, allows you to gather all of the applicant’s information you desire in under five minutes with the help of a chatbot designed to save your recruiters time. For the applicant, this process is as simple as replying to a text; could you imagine an easier way to apply?

Dealerships can continue to cater to the modern candidate by using text messages to stay top of mind with the talent you want to add to your team. In 2023, email is dead. While email as a communication channel will still be used to send important information like offer letters and other necessary documents, text messaging will be the preferred method of communication of many candidates on the hunt for a new role. The average American checks their phone 344 times a day, meaning you have 344 chances for them to see your recruiter’s text message and move through the hiring process. Instead of having talent wade through their overcrowded inbox and hope that they don’t miss your latest communication, reach them first with a simple text.

Keep in contact with a static talent base

How many people did you consider silver-medalists or almost the perfect candidate for your last open role? These are the candidates that might have been a great personality hire but not have all of the qualifications you were looking for or they were simply passed over for someone who fit your job description to a t; they wouldn’t have been bad members to add to your team, but they weren’t the right person at the right time. What about previous employees who left your dealership in the last year; do your recruiters keep in contact with them?

By keeping in touch with these talent sources that you already know, your dealership can create passive pipelines that you can access when you need to quickly add people to your team. The key to this approach is actively managing these relationships in a strategic way. With automated email and text campaigns, however, you can easily create and nurture these passive talent pipelines so your dealership has a constant supply of candidates. Who knows — the next time you have an open role, silver-medalists may be the right next move or a previous employee may decide to boomerang back to a company culture that they sorely miss!

Automate your automotive employee referral program

On average, referred candidates are hired faster, stay longer, and are more engaged than traditional candidates. Odds are that your dealership already has an employee referral program established; it just needs a little refreshing. To create an employee referral program that works for your dealership, you need to focus on your internal marketing efforts.

Technology has come a long way in just a few years — so use it to your advantage! Hireology Referrals creates unique QR codes for individual roles that can be easily shared with your existing staff so that all they need to do when referring a candidate is open their camera and click a picture. Once they’ve taken that first step, a chatbot takes over to gather all of the referred candidate’s information. All your recruiters need to do is share these QR codes (and open roles) with your staff; you can do this by creating fliers and posting them in common areas of your dealership or sharing during staff meetings.

Get face-to-face with future candidates

There’s no better way to get a feel for a person than to meet them in person; and now, thanks to the reemergence of in-person career fairs and other networking events, you can meet potential applicants and make a better first impression than just a job description. If your dealership doesn’t already, now is the time to seriously consider establishing partnerships with local vocational schools and high schools. By having these working relationships in place, you’ll always be in the know of in-person events where you can meet emerging talent before the competition — and sell them on the experience they’d have at your dealership.

As you know, some roles at retail automotive dealerships require specialized on-the-job training; think of this as an opportunity to create desirable habits in your new employees while helping them learn the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their new careers. The best part about this strategy? By creating a multi-channel recruiting method, you’re only increasing the likelihood that your open roles will be filled faster.

The new table stakes for job seekers

The past few years have seen job seekers have the upperhand in negotiations for new roles; as such, the table stakes of the hiring market have been permanently altered. This is the new normal; is your dealership meeting these bare minimum requirements to attract talent?

The Future of Hiring Study that Hireology released last year showed that there are three key benefits that talent wants to see in a job description after the pandemic that will either drive applicants away or invite them in. These new requirements are flexible schedules, opportunities to grow their careers, and a company culture that makes them want to come to work. These benefits might sound trivial, but to the modern applicant these are perks that can help you stand out from your hiring competitors and add the talent that your dealership needs on your team.

Read the 2023 Future of Automotive Hiring to learn more about how your dealership can successfully hire this year and beyond. For more information on how Hireology’s all-in-one platform and key integrations with technology critical to operate your dealership, schedule a free consultation today.

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Madeline Cecil
Madeline Cecil
Madeline Cecil is a Content Writer for Hireology. She writes content centered around modern obstacles in the attracting, hiring, and employee management space for a variety of industries. She brings a journalism background to tell the full story surrounding hiring issues to help customers reframe their problems to find solutions.

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