Article

Sales Professional Recruiting: The Selection Process

December 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Michael Rees - Also by this author

With the amount of responses I received about recruiting, it is apparent that many of you need to recruit, and thankfully, you want to conduct a professional campaign. 

As I continue walking you through the recruiting process, hopefully you have already seen that in order to have a successful campaign, you need to put a lot of effort and thought into it. Like most things, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.

Last month, I ended with the initial interview. Hopefully, you will have several applicants that you would like to hire, or even more than you need. So, how do you decide which ones to hire? Don’t rush into this decision; take some time to gather more information about your applicants so you can make a more informed decision.

Further Interviewing/Initial Training
Many dealers like to hire people on the spot (especially salespeople) and let them sink or swim; this is time consuming and expensive. Dealers have to go through the hiring process a lot more often than necessary with this process.

Invite all the applicants on your short list back for further interviewing and training. That’s right, training before you hire them. How many times have you hired someone who interviewed well, and when they show up to actually work, it is as if someone else showed up instead? You can take a lot of the guesswork out of hiring if you put potential employees through some training and role-playing.

If you conduct the initial interviews over two days, say Monday and Tuesday, have the selected applicants show up for a full-day interview and training the next morning (Wednesday). Let them know they have successfully passed the first interview and are now invited to attend your training class, so they can learn more about the car business before they make a decision. Let them know it will also give you a chance to evaluate them further.

This is too big a decision for both parties to make on a whim, and one interview doesn’t give anyone enough information to make a decision of this magnitude. We are talking about potentially changing peoples’ lives here, so let your candidates and your own team know the importance you place on the recruiting process.

Wednesday Morning
Set a specific time for the candidates to arrive. A good time would be 9:15 a.m.; it gives you and your team time to conduct your normal early morning activities before you turn your attention to your candidates. Ask them to arrive at 9:15 for a 9:30 start; this sets the stage for punctuality.

Make the effort to welcome your candidates as they arrive at the dealership. This personal touch speaks volumes. It makes them feel important (they are), and it will show you and your dealership off in a favorable light in case they are considering other jobs. You would probably want to do this for very important customers, and as these people have the potential to make you more money than any of your customers, treat them right.

Assemble your candidates in a suitable meeting/training room. This room needs to look the part; make sure it is clean and tidy and will not be used for lunch or other activities that day. Put a sign on the door if necessary to show these people the respect they deserve as potential employees.

Now hold a motivational seminar. Let’s get these people excited about the car business and what a great career it will make. Our business still has somewhat of a tarnished reputation in the eyes of the general public, and it is the general public you are working with. We need to change their opinion, and this seminar will help with that.

Give them a background of the industry and talk about the attitudes that they will need to be successful and how hard work will pay dividends. Talk about yourself and how you came to be where you are. This is indeed an industry thatwill take you wherever you want to go, if you want it to. Let everyone know that.

Go over how much they can earn; explain how commission works and the advantages that come with being on commission. A lot of people fear commission mainly because it is a fear of the unknown. Let them know it is really like going into business with you, the dealer, without having to put up any money. You have invested in the property, the building, furniture, computers, telephones, parts inventory, vehicle inventory, advertising and people – all to attract customers in your door.

All they have to do as salespeople is take care of these customers the way you are going to train them to; then, you will split the profits with them. Sure, you will keep a higher percentage, but you will pay them off the top. They don’t need to worry about any of the costs associated with running the business; you will take care of all that. Pretty good business for them to be in, isn’t it? Make sure it comes across that way.

Once they are excited to be there, give them some basic training and an introduction to how they will need to do things if they are successful. Teach them how to professionally meet and greet your customers and how to conduct an interview. Get them to role-play with each other; let them practice on themselves rather than real customers. The important thing here is to offer critique – positive statements about their performance and areas of opportunity.

At the end of the day, give them some homework. Ask them to prepare a five-minute, stand-up presentation on what they learned that day. They will be making these presentations tomorrow morning, in front of the management team and the dealer, and the hiring decisions will be made afterward. These presentations will show you a great deal more than the normal 20-minute interview most dealers give.

If you think all this is a lot to do just to hire a few salespeople, you’re right, but what is your most valuable asset? Your people. Spend time recruiting these assets. The amount of time and energy put in to a recruiting campaign will have a direct impact on the results.

Vol 4, Issue 11

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