Finding the right candidate for your dealership

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How do you know when you’ve found “the one”?
Not only will a poor recruitment decision come with obvious costs such as advertising and recruitment fees, but it can also carry other hidden costs, such as the costs associated with training or hiring a poor-performing employee that won’t generate a good return on your investment.
Here we discuss the key factors that could help or hinder the hiring process, to make it easier to find the right candidate for your dealership.

The cultural fit

Skills, qualifications, and experience are what usually determines if a candidate is suitable for a role, but it’s just as important to assess if they’re a good ‘cultural fit’ for your dealership.
Cultural fit isn’t about hiring a workforce of people with the exact same opinions or interests, but it is about understanding what the dealership needs culturally at that time and filling that gap. That may even mean hiring someone that’s completely different to the existing team members to bring a different way of thinking.
findingrightcandidate | Teamrecruit
Never underestimate the importance of cultural fit; a bad cultural fit can be like a cancer for your business, slowly corrupting good employees and turning them into bad ones. Each new hire also sends a message to existing staff members about the direction you want to take the business in and may even make them question whether it’s something they still want to be a part of.
When considering candidates, it’s worth assessing whether they will complement the composition and dynamics of the existing team. After all, they will have to work together day in, day out, so it’s important that they operate on a similar wavelength to the rest of the team.

Understanding market rates

To attract the best job seekers, you need to have a realistic picture of the current market salary rate before advertising a role or you’ll find yourself fighting a losing battle. You’ll struggle to attract high-calibre candidates if you’re paying peanuts, so do your research.
Some simple ways to find out what the going rate is include:
  • checking position advertisements posted by other employers where a salary is specified,
  • visiting job board websites to see if they provide average salary range data,
  • contacting specialist recruiters to find out what they’ve seen in similar roles and locations (e.g. a diesel mechanic in a heavy equipment dealership may earn a different salary in regional and metro locations), or
  • conducting exit interviews when staff members resign to find out what they’ve been offered elsewhere, along with any other factors that made them want to leave.
If you simply can’t afford the going market rate, look for other ways to make the role more appealing, like offering a company vehicle or excellent salary sacrifice options.

Aptitude Vs Attitude: What’s more important?

It’s a long-held debate – is it better to hire someone with all the right skills and experience who can walk into the role, or someone with a great attitude that will need a bit of extra training?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, you’re generally best placed going for someone with a bit of both.
You’ll need a candidate to have some basic skills and ability but providing some good training and development opportunities to someone that’s eager to learn can be just as good as hiring someone that ticks every box from the get-go. When you decide to ‘give someone a go’ and train them up, they’re also more likely to be more invested and want to go the extra mile for your dealership.
A good tip when developing your list of non-negotiables is to keep the list as small as possible, or you may find yourself looking for a golden goose that doesn’t exist.

What a ‘loyal employee’ looks like

When considering a candidate’s work history, we often view someone that’s moved around a lot as ‘lacking commitment’, while someone that’s stayed with the same employer for an extended period as ‘too comfortable’.
Before forming conclusions about how loyal a candidate may be, it may help to understand what a loyal employee in today’s job market looks like.
A recent study conducted by the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment showed that the average tenure of employees across all age groups in 2019 was 3 years and 4 months, as well as providing the following breakdown across different age groups:
Age groupAverage job tenure
Under 25 years1 year, 8 months
25-34 years2 years, 8 months
35-44 years4 years
45+ years6 years, 8 months
Historically, a loyal employee was one that would stay with a single employer for their entire career. Today, we’re dealing with a very different job market, so don’t be too hasty to discount someone on this basis.
It may also help to rethink how you define ‘value’. For example, a motivated employee that stays for three years while giving their all is often more valuable than an employee that stays for 10 years while doing the bare minimum. It’s also important not to discriminate based on age – a 60-year-old worker that gives you 5 good years is still giving you longer tenure than the average worker would.

Passing the test

Some employers think psychometric testing is a quick way to sort the good candidates from the bad, but that’s not what they’re designed to do.
Except for carefully developed assessment centre testing, psychometric testing shouldn’t be used as a mass screening tool, but as a method to help you decide between a couple of top performing candidates.
If you want to use psychometric testing, it’s best to use them as a supporting tool in the final stages of the recruitment process. To be of most value, they need to be carefully tailored to the role and person. In most cases, they can even be a valuable tool to help you better understand personalities and learn how best to manage an employee.

Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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