I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to hiring complaints from dealers, managers and business owners. Finding and retaining the right people is a huge concern for any business, but the auto industry pays a particularly heavy toll with an average turnover rate of 66%.
Leaders like you want to know the best way to hire and keep high-performing staff, but the answer may not be what you expect.
Hire the person and the talent, not the skillset
Take a minute to think about a job opening you have. Chances are, you have a specific list of activities and experiences needed to fill that role. Now, consider the last person who worked in the job—did you let them go because they didn’t match up with this list or did they simply not “work out”? Did a different person show up for work than the one you interviewed?
I’d hazard to guess it’s because they “didn’t work out.” But what does it mean, exactly, to “not work out.” It means that the person didn’t behave in the way you wanted. Maybe he or she wasn’t outgoing enough to really make sales. Maybe she simply wasn’t very organized and couldn’t keep track of incoming BDC leads. Those problems are related to personality, not skill.
Understand the personality needed for success
Let’s agree that personality and talent should influence your hiring decision. The next question is: What’s the right personality? How do I know their talents? This is where things can get tricky. Let me give an example.
If you ask around the dealership what are the best traits for a sales rep, you’re going to get many different answers:
Dealer: Energetic self-starter with good people skills who sets goals and achieves them. A good closer, good grosser, and they have to be a team player!
Manager #1: Someone who is organized, punctual, follows procedure, and covers all the details.
Manager #2: Someone who is persuasive, outgoing, and can build a book of business.
Manager #3: Someone who is friendly with customers, always takes care of their needs, never has customer complaints, and can create strong customer satisfaction.
Who should you hire? One manager would hire a “neat nick,” the next manger would hire a “slammer” and the last one would hire a “consumer advocate”—and no one would hire the dealer’s sales person!
To figure out the best personality fit for a position, don’t ask the managers what they want—in fact, don’t even ask yourself that! Instead, look at who’s been successful.
Consider your top performers: What are the character traits that help them succeed? Then study your worst performers in the role: What about their personalities led to their failure? After some thought, clear patterns should emerge about each job, and you can use those insights to find the right personality for your open positions.
Balance out performance and personality
Not that you should only hire on personality! You need to balance a candidate’s skills and personality, and select people who are a great fit in both criteria. During the interview, gauge the candidate’s ability and natural talents. But remember: while you can always train someone, you can never change their personality. Even if you like a candidate, he’s not going to perform well if your dealership requires him to act against his nature.
Ready to learn more about hiring and retaining the best talent? Join the NCM Institute for its courses Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans. You’ll develop a comprehensive hiring and compensation strategy to bring the best talent on board and keep them.