Hiring for F&I? You'd better interview
Chernek: Avoid gut decisions
Dealers often complain about high turnover in the F&I department and elsewhere. But some dealers can be their own worst enemies, dealership trainer Rebecca Chernek says.
Chernek grew up around dealerships. Her father owned John D'Amico Pontiac-Cadillac in Havre De Grace, Md. She started selling cars in the mid-1980s at a Lincoln-Mercury store in Baltimore, and within a few years she moved to F&I.
She also was a district manager for JM&A Group before starting Chernek Consulting in Cumming, Ga. Chernek spoke with Special Correspondent Jim Henry.
Q: Do F&I managers have to sell cars first?
A: You should know how to sell cars. You should know what the salesperson goes through -- the walkaround, the cleaning off the cars when it rains or snows, everything. In F&I, you have to have empathy in working with that salesperson.
If they don't have any experience on the floor, I would want to make sure we're not positioning someone who doesn't have the experience to do that F&I position.
Does that sometimes happen?
The hiring practices at some dealerships are just horrible. They hire from their gut. You can't hire from your gut. You have to go through an interview process, and not with only one person handling the interview. Candidates have to meet with other people from other parts of the dealership. It's got to be more than just this one guy or gal judging whether this person is going to make the deal in F&I.
You can't bring somebody in, stuff them in the box [the F&I office] and say, "Have at it, see ya later."
Can you imagine? Say the customer's credit isn't all that great. You've got to work the banks, but you don't know the banks. It just blows me away.
You can reach Jim Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.