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  • Writer's pictureDealerPILOT HR

Target marketing, are we using it for car sales only, or are we using it to hire better?

This sounds like a strange question but for dealerships, it is a legitimate business question. Dealerships are incredible at promoting their cars to customers, why aren't more of them using their marketing skills to secure talent?

Over the last year, the term "Employer Branding" has been prevalent, especially with the flurry of discussion around labour shortages. We are still missing a key opportunity to find and recruit top talent, especially by using the roles we consider to be entry-level.

As dealers, we are lucky that our brands prepare and compile the market research for us. Watch any television advertisement to see clearly how OEM commercials are geared towards specific demographics.

And even prior to that, they integrate the marketing research into the production process so they are building your vehicles to succeed with the demographics that are in the market for a new car. They are creating their product designed for a specific target audience.

What is great for the dealership is now you can focus on the relationship-building with your customers rather than trying to figure out for yourself what color of car a millennial wants or how many cup holders a GENxer prefers.

This concept can be applied to our recruiting and talent acquisition. Who is conducting this research and target marketing within recruiting? How are you determining what the preferences are that different demographics have regarding their employers and career opportunities?

Think about many more enthusiastic, auto-focused GENZ candidates would you have if we put as much passion and effort into marketing a job to them as we do in marketing their first car?

We can help! Here is a Top 10 list of things to review in your dealership, regardless of the demographic you are targeting:

1) This sounds obvious, but the first step is to know who you are targeting. If you truly want to win "the war on talent" then it isn't enough to say that you need to hire a technician. You need to have a vision of who would be a successful, contributing member of your success team. Yep, there is that phrase again dream team, success want more than technical ability

2) Ensure you have a current job description that is true to the role, updated, and includes all the elements of the job from the technology used to the team they are part of.

3) Use that description as the basis for a job posting that clearly shows what the role really does. This will serve as the introduction to your job posting - not the posting itself.

4) Build your posting to include what sets you apart, why you are a great place for your target audience to work, what you expect from the person, and what type of person would thrive in your dealership. No one wants to hire Joe Mediocre and you may be surprised to know that most people don't want a mediocre career path either.

5) Offer a career path. This doesn't have to mean that every detailer you hire is a candidate for GM, but it does mean that there should be something for them to look forward to down the road. This is different for everyone and isn't always about pay or title. It may be the chance to learn, an opportunity to be part of special projects, more training, better hours, or just the opportunity to be heard and valued in a sincere way.

6) Take a look at your brand's marketing campaign, who does it appeal to the most? Can you use that as a value add to grow appeal for your dealership as an employer too?

7) Look inside before you "shop" outside. Do you have a role that always seems to have a vacancy? How are you promoting that role to your existing people? How are you helping them build the skills to fill it?

8) Are your staff your biggest boosters? Just like how you would like your people to drive your brand, you should also be having your people drive your culture. Do your employees brag about you to their friends? Do you have a referral program? When was the last time you saw one of your vacant positions being promoted by a staff member on social media? If these things aren't happening, and your people aren't as excited about sharing your company as they are about sharing their new car, why not?

9) Stop thinking you are doing them a favor by screening them in for an interview and start seeing it as finding the best fit for both of you. Once you have a "together perspective" you will find people that have a "together we win" perspective and hire the right fit for you.

10) Remember that sometimes an empty seat is better than the wrong person in the seat. Just like selling a car- not all people belong in the driver's seat of a big rig or a luxury sports car.

Be patient, hire smart, and treat your company like each job is a big-ticket, showroom worthy investment and the successful candidate will treat it that way too. Just like on the other hand if you treat it like it is part of a push, pull and drag sale, you will end up with a push, pull, drag employee.

You want this decision to be for the long haul, and it is worth investing in.

If you need practical assistance in recruiting and start "winning the war" for talent, please reach out to to find out how we can help.

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