Better Hiring, Better Business

Three ways to ensure an effective hiring process that helps you build a better staff.

Learn more by contacting John D. Pate, President and CEO of LS Screening, at or by visiting
Learn more by contacting John D. Pate, President and CEO of LS Screening, at [email protected] or by visiting

The hiring process can sometimes feel like a necessary evil. You need staff to back you up and support your dealership, but if you hire the wrong people for the job, you are almost worse off than if you were on your own.

Evaluating your hiring process as well as your expectations of employees can help you to staff your dealership with individuals that share your values and improve the likelihood of success for your business. Having the right staff on-hand and committed to your business over an extended period of time allows you to spend less time on people problems and more time focusing on your dealership and customers.

1. Be clear and collaborative

In order to be effective, the hiring process needs to connect the employer, existing staff, and potential future employees with clear expectations of everyone involved. According to John Pate, president and CEO of LS Screening, the number one mistake made in the hiring process is assuming anything. In order to find what you are looking for in an employee, you need to be clear and concise about what you want from the potential employee and what they expect from you.

The hiring process also needs to be collaborative. Pate warns against leaving the hiring process up to one individual, as it may hinder your chances at success. When you are all working together as a team, the team should help in the hiring and decision-making process.

"You have to have each stakeholder involved in the process," says Pate. "Everybody has to feel empowered and accountable."

The hiring process is a learning process. As you try to perfect it, learn from your mistakes and work collaboratively with the staff to evaluate what has worked throughout and what changes need to be made.

2. Measure your success rate

Many people make the mistake of not evaluating their hiring process and its effectiveness. Measuring its success is the only way you can improve the process and maintain a quality staff for longer periods of time.

"You have got to keep score," says Pate. "It is the only way to determine the effectiveness of your hiring process."

According to Pate, there are two important metrics in measuring the success of your hiring: when people leave and why people leave. Knowing when can help you to better understand why.

"In every business there is what I call a line of demarcation," explains Pate. "If you can keep people up to that point, the chances of them staying until your retention day are very good."

Your retention goal is the time an employee spends with the company where you feel you have gotten a return on your investment. Dealership employees have different skill sets and job requirements depending on their departments. This means a different retention goal for each position within those departments.

"If you have someone answering the phone that stays six months to a year, that’s pretty good," says Pate. "But a mechanic you may want to stay two or three years before you get a return on the investment you made in hiring them."

Decide on a retention goal for each position and measure the number of people that meet that goal. Then, discover the why and when for those who depart before that goal, and use that information in hiring the right person for that position next time around.

3. Know who you are and what you want

A big reason why a lot of dealers find themselves disappointed in a recent hire is because they didn’t start the hiring process off with a clear idea of what they wanted in an individual. You cannot hire the right person for the job if you do not know what characteristics you want in a person or what you will require of them.

Pate suggests looking for certain psychological factors that will help a person to excel in the position you are hiring them for. If they are in the front end of the business dealing with customers or in the back working on equipment, they should posses certain qualities that make them the right person for that job.

"You should know what you are looking for going into the interview," Pate explains. "Do you actually like this person? If they can get along with you, they can probably get along with everybody else. Ask yourself if they will fit in. Can they communicate well and does their experience match your needs?"

The interview is the time when you need to ask yourself these questions and evaluate the individual's personality. Assess their attitude toward people, their energy level and intelligence, if they have a coachable personality, and if they have a take-charge attitude. The interview is where the applicant will best present themselves, so if they are lacking in any way, trust that it will only get worse.

"An interview is like a first date," says Pate. "That is as good as it is going to get. If someone walks in not clean-shaven, their hair a mess and disheveled, that is the kind of employee you are going to get."

While it is important that you are impressed by the job candidate, you also want them to be happy with what you, the company and the position have to offer. Especially when it comes to hiring a qualified technician, you want them to desire the position as much as you want to hire them to fill it. Share the company's values and goals with them so they can decide if they are in line with their own.

"Make a good first impression," says Pate. "Your hiring process begins when the applicant walks in. That’s when your values and standards are on display."