Recruiting Post-Pandemic


Covid-19 turned recruiting around 180 degrees. We went from a recruiting market where employees were in the driver’s seat with unemployment at near record lows of under 4 percent, to a new paradigm where employers now have millions of unemployed from which to choose, as lockdowns ease, businesses reopen, and employers look out over a new landscape. Between March 10-25, we saw 15,300 franchised dealership job postings disappear. NADA predicts that by May U.S. dealerships will shed more than 360,000 employees. To give a reference, dealers in the U.S. dealerships employed 1.1 million people, with an estimated 225,000 involved directly in vehicle sales.

The Covid-19 economic shock occurred from coast to coast in just weeks. The economic devastation that occurred may take years to be repaired, according to “some experts,” a phrase which has lost some of its allure lately. Still, last month’s job report, which showed an increase of 2.3 million jobs, showed there is hope that an immediate economic downturn may have bottomed out and perhaps we’re on pace for a more rapid recovery. There’s hope, and that’s a good thing.

Automotive retailers across the country were concerned, downright fraught with fear, over what would happen as people were ordered shuttered in their homes. Many sought SBA and Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep employees on their payrolls. It appears these programs have helped, but we all know that when jobs are lost, even temporarily, people scatter. They move out of state, go to be with family, and since there’s no history to rely on with a viral epidemic, those that say they know what is happening, or what will happen, are giving us their best guess. However, here’s a few things we do know.

Finding New Employees Will Be a Challenge

As businesses come back online, automotive retailers will have to compete with other industries to find capable, qualified, dealership managers, sales representatives, and BDC representatives. If they put out ads on Indeed, Facebook, Glassdoor and others, they will have more resumes than they have seen in decades. Sorting through them, vetting candidates, and organizing interviews, will pose real and time-consuming challenges.

The Covid-19 Pandemic itself poses challenges. As irritating as hearing the phrase “social-distancing” has become as it is repeated constantly, it’s essential for businesses to require it to instill a sense of security for employees, customers, and potential employees. Video conferences, and now job interviews, have become as commonplace as Amazon deliveries and drive-thru grocery pickup.

Just as retailers have adopted Modern Digital Retailing to virtually interact with consumers throughout the buying process, including answering leads, fielding questions, answering objections, delivering vehicles for test drives, and ultimately delivering the vehicle, dealership recruiting will have to adopt a digital hiring process. It will require teleconferencing, remote testing, automated responses for real-time communication. In short, it will require an investment of time, personnel, new training, and perhaps, new hardware and software.

Using Technology to Your Advantage

If your dealership is going to survive, revive, and thrive into the future, you will have to have a plan to address modern recruiting strategies. Managers and their team members are what ultimately drive success in any business, but it’s the technology they are able to employ and their training that drives success.

You’ll need to use recruiting software to market open positions, video conferencing tools for interviews, online skills and psychological testing. Not only are these tools safer now during a virus pandemic, there are also time-saving, cost-saving, and efficiency-improving tools that have been ratcheted-up and will remain in place even when health risks from this pandemic subsides. 

The first things that must occur once deciding on a new hire is onboarding and training. Just like screening, the technology for onboarding has improved as well. This, however, does require time, effort, and strategic thinking for imparting core values, ethics, policies, and procedures. One of the main things that technology cannot replace is the camaraderie that comes with socializing with co-workers. This has always been a challenge, and will remain so with the additional challenge of social distancing.

Seeking Expert Advice Should Be Your First Move

Recruiting firms like Proactive Dealer Solutions Automotive Recruiting Services have spent years developing best practices, listening to employees, job seekers, and other experts to get a better handle on this dramatic shift in automotive dealership recruiting. The challenges faced by automotive retailers in recruiting and maintaining quality employees are and will remain formidable, but are not insurmountable.

Proactive Dealer Solutions Recruiting will continue its research, but is fortunate in that many of the technologies they have used for recruiting, vetting, and onboarding new hires have been in place for years. In fact, PDS Automotive Recruiting Services is charged with creating a personnel pipeline and keeping it filled. It has developed a proprietary platform that engages prospects through passive recruiting via social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook and others, reverse searches, paid advertisements on sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor, and other methodologies. The group’s team of experts recruit for everyone at the dealership — sales managers, sales representatives, BDC representatives, service advisors, service technicians, receptionists, c-level, and collections agents for buy-here-pay-here dealers. 

Going Forward

We’ve all grown familiar with the phrases “during these uncertain times,” and “during these challenging times,” but now the phrase must become, “let’s move forward toward more certainty.” Achieving this may require recruiting experts. Please feel free to contact us today, and be sure to visit.

To hear more about this topic check out our episode of PDS On The Rocks: Overcoming the Hiring Crisis with Incentives Today's Workforce Cares About

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