It took Gregg Ciocca, dealer principal of Ciocca Dealerships, the better part of a decade to build a strong millennial contingent on his sales staff.
Ciocca and other dealers who have gone through a similar painful learning curve agree on the keys to staffing with millennials: meticulous vetting and intensive interviewing.
"It's not an easy process getting hired here," Ciocca said. "Out of every 100 interviews, we only hire about four or five employees."
At Ciocca's nine dealerships in east-central Pennsylvania, prospective employees go through a rigorous series of interviews before they're even considered for the job.
The technique didn't work perfectly right off the bat. "It took the better part of six years to get this going," Ciocca said. "It has really escalated over the past three or four years."
Millennials are increasingly important to a dealership's success as members of that generation, those ages 18-35, step up their new-vehicle purchases, said John Challenger, CEO of employment research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"Dealership owners and managers need to make a conscious recognition of this trend and devote more resources to this," Challenger said. "Millennials are the people who will be the foundation of your business for years to come, both on your staff and as your customers. Don't wait to get these young people on your staffs. If you do, you're going to miss the boat."