HR update: The benefits of using a professional powersports recruiter

1-15 Forrest Flinn blogSpring has sprung across the country! Are you ready to hit the ground this season running on all cylinders? Is your sales department being led with a sales manager who knows how to drive sales through the use of industry best practices? Is your parts department capable of maximizing every opportunity for revenue and exercising prudent parts management? Is there a huge hole in your service department that will cause you big headaches if you don’t deal with it now? Or is your accounting so bad that you are embarrassed to let anyone see your financials?

Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, or if any thing that I just said causes you anxiety then you need quality people and you need them fast! But what do you do?  Do you run an ad on or and then sift through all of the hundreds of responses from completely unqualified candidates? Do you call everyone you know to see if anyone is looking for a job? Or worse, do you hire someone out of complete mercy and hope they work out? 

Who has time to do all of this -- let alone pre-screen qualified candidates, conduct background checks, schedule interviews and then select, hire and on-board? The recruiting process can be incredibly time consuming and expensive, but there are options available to you.

The cost of hiring an employee can be staggering and that cost grows exponentially if the person you hire just does not work out. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire can cost you on average 30 percent of the employees yearly total compensation including benefits. Then then there is also an additional cost of a bad hiring decision that you cannot easy calculate. This cost relates to the effect of adding a bad apple to your existing powersports team. Research has shown that when you add a bad employee to your team that the performance of the entire team or dealership decreases proportionally.  These facts alone demonstrate that hiring is one of the most important and expensive decisions that you can make in your daily business life.

But what if I told you that there is a way you can reduce your risk and associated costs with the hiring decision, would you consider it? Using professional recruiters that specialize in the powersports market can be an answer.

I know that some dealers are turned off by paying recruiting fees to get qualified talent in their dealerships and I understand this to a degree. 

One dealer I know was all for using a recruiter but the upfront placement fee scared him off.  I was very frustrated with this dealer because he was looking for a “plug and play” sales manager who was well versed in industry best practices that could take over the sales function, hit the ground running and start producing on day one.  I stressed to this dealer that the placement fees were almost nothing if he compared them to what their dealership was losing on a yearly basis by not having a qualified sales manager.  A good sales manager such as this would be able to recoup those fees in just a few busy Saturdays while in season! To me it was a no brainer but this dealer could not see “the forest through the trees” which left me stymied! To this day, this dealer is leaving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table because his sales manager is not producing -- what is worse is that this all could have been prevented! 

Today there is a lot of industry talent out there that may be looking for the opportunity that exists in your dealership. The problem lies in the fact that you do not know who they are and how to reach them. Using an industry specific professional recruiter solves this problem. 

Times have changed, our industry has changed and you really need to start thinking strategically when it comes to staffing key roles in your powersports dealership.

Do you want professionals that know how to do the job today or do you want to settle for someone that will take years to live up to your expectations?  I know dealers that exhaust every avenue when it comes to recruiting good employees, and with no pun intended, they end up exhausted and hire the wrong person out of desperation.

Don’t be scared or put off by placement fees and possible relocation expenses. You have to retrain your mindset and think of these dollars as investments in your dealership’s future. Remember the costs of a bad hire that I described earlier and how costly they can be? The initial investments in recruiting and staffing are only a fraction of the total expense of a bad hiring decision.

Remember to think strategically and align your employment decisions with your vision of what you want for your dealership. And keep in mind that the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 

Again, in some cases, it makes sense to engage with a powersports industry recruiter that truly understands how dealerships operate and who know exactly what you are looking for.  They have the resources that can reduce your time to hire, reduce your risk of a bad hiring decision, and can perform all of the legwork that sucks the life out of most dealership owners.  They have the expertise and reach that you do not have to find the right candidate and can save you time, energy, effort and huge amounts of money in the long-run.

Engaging with a professional powersports recruiter can be your ticket to your next dealership rock star that can take your dealership to levels that you never thought possible!

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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