Human Resources – Harness the power of the internet to find the right new hires for your store

When was the last time you took a good look at what goes on in your dealership’s human resources department? Your HR department wears a whole wardrobe of hats. They have to act as compliance police, do payroll, training, employee relations, change management, compensation analysts, and, of course, recruit and hire employees. Their work in your store makes them a consequential and key force.

That’s especially true when you consider that, according to research, anywhere above 50 employees requires one formal HR manager. So at 100 employees, you would need two. And with 1,000 employees, you’d need 15 plus. Even smaller mom ’n’ pop stores generally have about 50 employees in total. Dealer groups with multiple stores would easily have 1,000 employees, if not more.

Recruiting top talent

When it comes to hiring those employees, there are an infinite number of ways to go about this. Some imaginative dealers have been known to post a mobile sign on their site asking, “Do you want to join a great automotive group? Send us your resume!”

Probably the best way to start looking is to simply let your employees know there’s an opening—either on a physical job board, a monthly newsletter, at a meeting or gathering. It’s always great to have a referral, to have a new hire who’s vouched for by a colleague. Even in this digital day and age, there’s a lot to be said for “word of mouth.”

Communication carousel

Naturally, your website should have a section for careers. At one dealership, the HR manager utilizes an external HR program that allows the store to oversee and update all HR items for the organization.

One of the interfaces within the program is a Job Board, where the manager can post available positions within the organization through the program. The problem lies with these being updated for the general public, which they resolved by I-Framing the job board within the career section of the website. This allows for immediate updates for any changes that they wanted to make on the website.

Instead of going through IT, the changes would be reflected right away. That’s the way it should be— the HR manager doesn’t need to communicate with the website provider or anyone to do updates; they can do it themselves.

Larger dealerships and dealer groups should look into making their technology as up-to-date and efficient as possible. Working with modules and templates makes life easier for your HR department, so that instead of needing three managers for 120 people, you can work the system with two people and a high performing software solution. There are many different systems available that can keep all those HR hats in place very effectively.

On the digital side, there’s everything from industry associations like TADA’s carsandjobs.com to local job boards like Torontojobs.ca. There are mainstream job posting sites like Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired and Workopolis.

Social media

Of course, you can’t talk about searching online without mentioning social media. That’s one of the most powerful and versatile ways of reaching potential recruits. Your first stop should definitely be Facebook, which you can approach in a paid or organic way. You can put an actual job posting on Facebook, targeting a specific demographic.

LinkedIn is on par with Facebook since that is its main objective—sourcing and scouting jobs and careers. With Twitter and Google, you can have a Google AdWords campaign, so that when your ad pops up, it’s linked to your job board with a multitude of opportunities. Candidates can submit an application. The HR manager gets their resume and the cover letter and does an initial screening.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google provide an opportunity on the organic as well as the paid side. As an HR manager representing the company, you don’t want to hide behind anything, so you’ll want to put the job posting out there.

Remember, your online personality is important, so when anything comes across your board, you’re going to put that out for everyone to absorb. If you see an HR-related post that’s topical or makes a good point, hit “like” to share it with your followers.

In fact, it’s a good idea to be active on social media to build up the dealership’s profile. If there are conversations happening on a career or industry-specific board, jump in and be part of it. Show your personality with some articles, photos, events. Give your dealership a face!

Be proactive

Some dealerships do an excellent job of branding themselves on social media. You’ll see employees in dealer branded shirts doing something good for the community. Those shots are part of the HR marketing material. Their job postings on LinkedIn or other social media encourage followers to “join us” and show what a great team they could be possibly joining.

And then, of course, there are all the different educational institutions like Georgian College’s Automotive Business School of Canada, which offers various networking events. It’s always wise to be proactive in the world of hiring, since openings can come up at any minute and you don’t want to be caught short-handed.

So once you have all these great employees in the dealership, what’s next? How do you train them? Keep them satisfied? Make them good ambassadors for your brand? Stay tuned! We’ll touch on some key points that you won’t want to miss in next month’s column.

Article originally published in Canadian AutoJournal, June 2018.

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