Always be recruiting

1-15 Forrest Flinn blogI get calls all the time from dealers who are panicked and stressed and asking if I can help them find a salesman, a service technician, a bookkeeper or a host of other dealership positions. It seems that we as an industry are always in a “pinch” to find employees. I always feel their frustration and anxiety because I have been in the same position before — it is never a good feeling.

The key is to always be recruiting for dealership staff. As one parts manager who used to work for me said: “You always have to have irons in the fire, Forrest—just in case!” He was constantly on the lookout for potential parts and accessory salespeople and when his department needed additional staff he always had a dozens of potential recruits at his fingertips.

If you are not continuously recruiting for dealership staff, you could be leaving your dealership open to vacancies that could, if left unfilled, have an enormous impact on your dealerships bottom line. By constant recruiting you will always have resumes in your “talent pipeline” that have shown an interest in working for your dealership at some point.

When you are constantly recruiting for dealership employees you will see direct benefits of doing so:

  1. When you are always recruiting throughout the year your dealership will see much shorter vacancy times for positions that become open: The longer a position stays unfilled the bigger financial impact that it has on your dealerships costs. For example, if you have a parts and accessory sales person that generates $45,000 in total sales in a given month you can easily determine what the daily cost of having that position unfilled is costing your dealership. Overall by continuously recruiting for dealership staff you can cut down the costs associated with an unfilled position.
  1. When you are always recruiting you are being more cost efficient. Recruiting when a position becomes open costs you big time when you factor in the time it takes to run internet ads, social media ads, interviewing, and making a hiring decision. Depending on the dealership position that is open it could cost your dealership thousands of dollars to complete the hiring cycle. By having a pool of qualified applicants in the pipeline at any given time you are being more efficient. I have seen too many dealers make very bad hiring decisions because of the time constraints that they were in. If you think recruiting is time consuming and expensive think about how expensive it is to have a bad hire!
  1. When you are always recruiting you are reducing employee stress at your dealership: When there is an unfilled vacancy in your dealership it causes stress on the existing staff. The functions and duties of the unfilled position have to be done by someone and that someone is usually your other employees. This increases the stress of your employees and causes their motivation to decline. By continuously recruiting for dealership positions you are reducing your overall dealership stress levels and increasing employee motivation and job engagement.

Continuous recruiting can be done relatively cheaply through the use of your current social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.. By interacting with people who already love your dealership and the products you sell you are opening up a new pipeline of potential dealership staff at a relatively low cost.

By continuously recruiting for future dealership job openings you are taking a proactive approach to employee recruitment and selection. It helps you take control of your hiring process and you will not be filled with as much stress and anxiety when an employee leaves your dealership. By taking control you will not have to start from ground zero every time you need to find a new employee. By constantly recruiting for the future, as my old parts manager told me, you always have irons in the fire!

Just food for thought!


Forrest Flinn, MBA, PHR, SMS has been in the motorcycle industry for more than 20 years and has been a true student and leader serving in various capacities. He previously worked as an implementation consultant for Lightspeed and as a general manager with P&L responsibility for a large metro multi-line dealership. Currently Forrest is the managing partner and chief visionary for a consulting firm that specializes in outsourced accounting, human resources, social media strategy, dealership operations consulting and Lightspeed/EVO training.



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