Many dealerships' fixed operations departments are overwhelmed with work, as we point out in this issue's cover story.
But more work often requires more workers. And that has been a problem for a lot of industries — including automotive. A study released in June showed that 72 percent of franchised dealers surveyed said finding and hiring the right employees was a challenge.
Kat Wolverton, human resources director at DeNooyer Automotive Group in Kalamazoo, Mich., about two hours west of Detroit, knows how hard it is to recruit good talent. She uses various job recruiting websites to find new hires for the group's Ford, Chevrolet, Jaguar and Toyota dealerships.
But in addition to her "post and pray" ritual, she has enlisted the help of leadership from each store to be recruiters and armed them with a simple business card to assist their efforts.
One side of the card has the name and logo of the dealership and the words "You're amazing. We should talk." The other side commends the person for "excellent" customer service and mentions the dealership.
The card goes on to say the recipient is the type of person DeNooyer wants to talk to and encourages a visit to the dealership's jobs Web page if they're interested. It ends with: "This could be the start of something great!"
Wolverton encourages her colleagues to hand the cards out if they receive outstanding customer service at a local restaurant, store or any other business.
While this card could be used to hire sales personnel or someone for the finance and insurance office, it could also be effective in the service department. Last year, David Long, executive general manager of Hansel Auto Group in Santa Rosa, Calif., told Fixed Ops Journal that he and other dealership managers often look to the hospitality industry, "or any industry that requires good customer service," for service advisers.
Wolverton can't take credit for the idea and can't remember where she first saw it. She worked with DeNooyer's marketing team in 2016 to refine the wording. The cards "are a way to personally reach out to people, to encourage those in the community who have provided exceptional service" to consider a career at DeNooyer, she says. "It makes people feel special, unique, kind of sought after."
Wolverton has not tracked how successful the cards have been at bringing in job candidates, but she does know of a handful of folks who have interviewed — and been hired — after receiving a card.
In a tight labor market, the more traditional job sites aren't as effective, she says. DeNooyer's recruiting card differentiates the group from other companies. Says Wolverton: Prospective job candidates "want and expect more."