The study led TrustFord to change its recruitment process. All sales applicants now apply online. Those who pass an initial sift of ‘killer questions’ are invited to take Talent Q’s online tests. The results are compared against the ‘optimal profile’ for the role. Those candidates who match are invited to an assessment day, where hiring managers make the final selections.
It has allowed TrustFord to widen its net beyond the automotive industry. Ashcroft said: “We have a template of what ‘good’ looks like and we use this benchmark as a sifting tool. This takes a huge number of unsuitable applicants out of the process. Our hiring managers can then choose their candidates from a central pool, rather than having to manage the whole process themselves. This has made our recruitment process much more consistent, and it’s no longer subjective, so that’s a huge improvement.”
TrustFord is now attending recruitment fairs for the first time and has been targeting potential employees with less traditional backgrounds, such as the Armed Forces.
Rachael Monfredi, HR director at Swansway Garages, said she and group director Peter Smyth have presented at the nearby Manchester Metropolitan University to raise undergraduates’ awareness of motor retail careers. As a result, Swansway has two graduates starting in the business this summer in its accounts and marketing departments.
“It’s a small step in a national context but quite a big step for us. They will be out in the dealerships too to understand the business at a grass roots level. I’m sure we will be taking on more graduates as the years go on,” she said.
Shaun Price, director at Jobco-op Automotive, supports the idea of dealers looking outside the industry to secure new talent. He believes this is particularly prevalent with sales roles, where dealers are looking to attract staff who have been in retail roles, but have no experience in the car industry.
“Sales skills are generally transferable and someone who has been good at moving Nokias and iPhones can often bring the same skill and determination to selling new or used cars and vans,” said Price.
“The same principle can also stretch to other customer-facing roles. Someone who has a good track record in the hospitality industry and is a proven problem-solver could easily work on your service desk or in your parts department with only a little extra training.”
Apprentices may offer a quicker route to profit
The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is encouraging dealers to recruit apprentices and it believes young people recruited into the business can generate between 150% and 300% return on investment.