A year ago, Shannon Haywood had never sold a car in her life. Then while mulling a career change, she spotted an online ad for a sales job at Titus-Will Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Olympia, Wash.
After researching the dealership's reputation and making a mystery visit to check its operations, Haywood, 26, applied for the job. Less than a year after starting, she is among the store's top salespeople.
"More women should really do this job," Haywood said. "I'm not very scary. I don't look very slick. The job is about going out there and making a friend and solving whatever the [customer's] car problem is, and a lot of times that comes really naturally for women."
That's why Court Will, operations manager for Titus-Will Automotive Group, wanted to get more women working in the showrooms and service departments of the five stores he helps run. It was one of the reasons for revamping recruiting efforts almost two years ago. Haywood is one of 28 women the five stores have hired in sales and service jobs since the change, nearly tripling the number of women in those departments.
Hiring more women "was always something we were thinking about and wishing we were able to do," said Will, a third-generation auto retailer. "But also we want to try to attract a higher quality and quantity of candidates" overall, women and men.
So in early 2014 the company launched a website, tituswill jobs.com, to handle recruiting for the five western Washington dealerships in the group managed by Will and his family. Three more stores in the group are run by another branch of the family.
Applicants are directed to the website, which has a video summarizing Titus-Will's history and philosophy. The website, using hiring management software from Hyrell, handles initial applicant screening, does virtual interviews, sets up drug testing and background checks and sends out job openings to online sites such as Indeed and other job sites.
Job descriptions also changed. Instead of sales consultants, the stores advertise for product specialists and offer the choice of a traditional commission pay plan or a salary plus bonuses. The quality of applicants is better, Will said, and they are coming from other industries such as health care and fitness.