Good help is harder to find, even in tough times

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
Even in these months of record-high unemployment, good help is hard to come by -- especially for auto dealers.

So says Kevin Bradberry, a Tampa automotive recruiter and trainer who places about 5,000 job candidates in new-car dealerships each year.

About eight years ago he was hiring one out of two dealership job applicants. Two years ago that went to one in three. Now, it's about one in five.

Why is the quality of applicants slipping? Bradberry offers three reasons:

General stigma attached to car dealerships While it's not as bad as it used to be, it still exists. There's a talent drain from auto retail and the best applicants are looking elsewhere for work, he says.

General complacency on the part of applicants You'd think people would be happy to find jobs and retrain for a new field. But Bradberry says many have caught the entitlement bug and think the world owes them a living.

The advent of online job applications Dealers are tapping services such as more these days, which allows them to cast a wider net, but also attracts a lot of unqualified people. It's just too easy to apply, Bradberry says.

There are no easy answers to this problem. But it would certainly pay to keep your good employees happy so that you can avoid having to replace them.