Recruit and hire the right employees.

We have all heard the statement “Hire slow, fire fast.” It’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? However, there are proven techniques for creating the best team possible. 

The first step in the process is to define the position, including characteristics or core values (detail oriented, assertive, relationship minded, etc.); responsibilities (build relationships with customers, manage inventory, etc.); and what is expected to be successful (sales per year, number of new customers each month, etc.). 

These 3 items should be defined and documented for every position in your organization. The document can be used during recruitment to clarify the position, to provide ongoing feedback on each person’s development and progress and in annual reviews. 

Let’s talk about recruitment. There are 2 things you should hire on and in this order: 1. The needed characteristics defined for the position and 2. the minimum skills you desire the person to have. We can teach the skills needed to be successful in most cases, but it is much harder and takes much longer to teach the needed personal characteristics to be successful.

De-Select Candidates

Hiring should be viewed as a de-selection process. Either you will de-select them or they will de-select themselves. In order for de-selection to occur, recruitment needs to be a test to see if they will follow your processes. If the individual won’t follow your processes before they are hired, they probably won’t follow your processes after they are hired. When you market for a position, include these tests: apply by a specific date and apply in a specific manner (such as by emailing their resume).

The next tests come during a phone screening interview. Make a brief 15-20 minute phone call to each applicant whose resume meets the qualifications and confirm that they meet at least 3 of your minimum skills. Ask questions to see if they meet at least 4 of your desired characteristics and have them give you a specific example of an experience related to the characteristic. For example: “Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple tasks or projects at the same time. Share with me how you handled the tasks or projects and what the outcome was.” 

Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior so ask questions that root out if you want that behavior in your business. You will know in a few minutes if you want to spend more time with each individual or not.

Ask the Right Questions

Now that you have made your screening calls, select a small segment, 5 candidates if possible, to meet for a formal interview. During the interviews, you are selling them on your dealership as much as they are selling you. I encourage you to always have 2 interviewers involved to get multiple perspectives. Here is a sample outline for how to conduct the interview:

• Explain the history, future ambitions and culture of your dealership.

• Give an overview of the position and share the document that outlines characteristics, responsibilities and expectations.

• Ask the candidates if they have any questions or concerns about the dealership or the position. If they don’t have questions, you should be concerned.

Now, it is your turn to ask detailed questions of the candidates. Focus your questions on the characteristics that are needed for them to be successful. Ask 4-5 questions that give you a clear picture of their actions and behaviors from past experiences. Base each question on a different characteristic you are seeking.

Your questions should be identified in advance and written down. After each question, each interviewer will rate the response (0-5, with 5 being the best) based on how well their answer matches the behavior you desire for the position.

After the interview, consider other steps like having candidates talk with other team members, giving them a tour of your dealership, taking a behavior assessment (DISC or Myers-Briggs), and calling past managers as references.

Then, compare ratings with the other interviewer to select your new team member — or to decide to keep searching. It’s better to take the time to find the right person instead of hiring someone just because they were all you could find.