Auto retailers spend a fortune building their consumer brand. In the hyper-competitive world we live in, your local brand is one of the most valuable assets you control. A strong brand establishes the credibility, good will, and trust that buyers want when purchasing a car.
But what about your employment brand?
Your brand as an employer really matters. It’s the way that your local market’s talent pool perceives your organization as a potential employer. And make no mistake, you’re competing with other businesses for the best talent to staff your stores. Just like a strong consumer brand, a strong employment brand can differentiate you from the dealer down the street, and land you the best candidates. A weak or nonexistent employment brand all but ensures that you’ll be interviewing your competitors’ cast-offs.
The best demonstration of your employment brand is your career website. It’s a well-established fact that consumers are shopping online for hours before raising their hand and asking you for information about a particular vehicle. But did you realize that these same consumers are doing the exact same thing when considering whether or not to apply to your open job?
You’ve invested time and money getting your dealer site to a point where it’s producing leads, and your career site needs the same attention to detail to attract great job candidates. In addition to impacting applicant quality, your career site has real financial consequences. Chances are that you’re spending a lot of money on job boards and employment ads, but you can’t recoup that investment if you’re not directing those leads to a strong career site that speaks to your candidate pool.
To see an example of what I’m talking about, Schomp Automotive out of Denver, Colorado absolutely nails it. Check out one of the best career sites in the industry at http://careers.schomp.com. (Full disclosure: they’re a Hireology customer)
Here’s a fun exercise: open up a new tab in your internet browser and bring up your dealership’s website. Now, find the section of your site where a job candidate would research your business and apply for a job and ask yourself how your employment brand stacks up against these three critical success factors:
Can I easily submit an application?
Think about your digital marketing programs that are focused on your market’s consumer base. How much information do you ask of them in order for them to submit a lead? Pretty much a name and email address, I’m guessing? And you know the reason why: the more fields on a leads form, the fewer leads you get.
It’s no different with online job applications. The experience is everything. If you’re asking applicants to give you their name and email address along with a resume, then you’re in good shape. If you’re asking your applicants to completely re-create their resume on an online web form with dozens of fields, then you’re making it much, much harder to apply for the job than it needs to be.
Our research shows a nearly linear correlation between fields on an online job application and the conversation rate of traffic to form submissions. We strongly recommend keeping online job applications to 8 fields or less. Like car buyer leads, the point is to generate interest and make contact; if you’re running an effective interview process you’ll have plenty of opportunity to fully vet candidates.
Does it work on a mobile phone?
You know that you’re really missing the boat if your consumer site doesn’t render well on a mobile device, but did you realize that in 2015, 50% of all candidate traffic in the US and Canada originated on a mobile device?
That means that if a candidate can’t open your careers page on a mobile phone, you’re throwing away half of your applicant traffic, drastically restricting your access to the strongest candidates in your local job market, not to mention wasting half of your investment in recruiting.
Go ahead, try researching jobs at your store from your phone. How’s the experience? Ask yourself: if I were looking for a job, does my dealership make this experience a good one? If the answer is anything other than “yes,” you’ve got work to do.
Does it tell a compelling story?
The labor market is as tight as it’s been in a decade, and you no longer have the luxury of being undisciplined when it comes to attracting the best talent. Job seekers, especially the 50% of the workforce that’s made up of GenY, want to work for an employer that provides a great working environment and a defined career path.
A career site is more than a listing of open jobs – it needs to build excitement and reflect your company’s history, culture, community involvement, and employee quality of life. Ask yourself: does your career site explain the professional growth potential for a new employee? Does it tell the story of who you are and what you stand for? Does it give me a compelling reason to want to work for you?
With these best practices in mind, take another look at the Schomp site from earlier. Take note of how they’ve built a site that supports any device, streamlines the application process, and has mastered the art of telling their own story. The site clearly shows potential applicants all the reasons why Schomp is an employer of choice. If I’m shopping for a job, Schomp presents a compelling case for why they deserve my time and attention.
It’s time for dealers to treat their employment brand with the same level of rigor and quality control that they do their consumer brand. In these increasingly competitive and uncertain times, the difference between your success or failure may very well rest on your ability to hire and retain great people. Great people want to work for great companies; make sure that your employment brand meets today’s standards.