Don’t be so Old School!
By Sandy Zannino
One of the biggest challenges in our industry is attracting and retaining top talent. We have struggled with chronically high turnover for as long as I’ve been around—and that’s been a while…this December will mark the beginning of my 22nd year in our wild and wonderful business! Our astronomic turnover doesn’t seem to change no matter how much we yammer on about culture. I have some opinions about that but that is another article isn’t it?
What I felt compelled to write about after helping someone fill out an online application is this: Dear Lord……please stop making it SO hard for people to send their initial application!!!!! The entire process should take literally a few minutes not almost an hour for God’s sake!
I get it…..I really do. I used to be a stickler for having the entire application filled out right off the bat. And I do still advocate for a full application collected in the hiring process. I want that application that requests information that I want to know versus the resume which is information the candidate wants me to know. I still believe that this is very important and can lead to discovering critical information about your candidate. I’ve simply changed my mind about WHEN I want that information. And if you just can’t see your way to changing it, PLEASE don’t put fields like date of birth on your application. Are you asking for a ADEA (Age Discrimination) suit? Again, another article.
But seriously, times have changed people. We are not living in the same world we did even 5 years ago. My perspective has changed in the last few years and I believe that we need to keep it simple and make the process faster. Get the long tiresome application later in the hiring process. Please.
Why you ask?
Well, I’ll tell you. It’s pretty simple really.
Because you are going to lose candidates.
We are operating in a very interesting employment environment. In the beginning of October the Department of Labor posted that for the 18th month in a row there were more job openings that people to fill them. Think about that for a minute. For a year and a half employers have been in competition for candidates that have a LOT of options.
Additionally, we have historically low unemployment rates AND the workforce is filling with new generations. Did you know that in just 4 very short years that 75% of our entire workforce will be made up of Generation Z & Millennials? To top this off our Boomer generation is finally retiring—not only leaving a physical talent gap but also a skills gap. In our industry, many of these Boomers hold our top management position. Do you have a succession plan for this?
So, we have candidates with options, very different wants and needs, who are doing EVERYTHING with their phone—and won’t be spending an HOUR to fill out an application for a position they MIGHT want to take. Chances are they are already working and if they are dissatisfied and looking for a new employer they are going to apply with the company that gets them. And if you don’t make the process quick and easy—that’s not you.
So, rethink your application process—who knows what amazing new talent you are missing and gifting to the competition with an archaic process. The talent pool is smaller than the ocean of open positions plus they are vastly different in their expectations.
So, don’t be so old school in your recruiting strategies. Update your thinking, update your process, update your application, update your ATS (my favorite is www.automotohr.com). Make it simple, easy, and mobile friendly. Talk to candidates—sell them on your dealership and your employee value proposition (yes, another article)—THEN once YOU know you want them, and THEY are convinced they want YOU—get them to fill out the application.
You’re welcome and have a happy day!
You come into work, ready to slay the day! Your mood is bright, your smile sunny and you have a positive outlook on the day. Maybe you are a list maker, and you are happily crossing To Do items off of said list. Then it happens. Cue that movie music – dun du dunnnn – can you hear it? An employee comes to you and says something like, “I don’t want anyone to get in trouble…..BUT…._______ is happening and it is really bothering me”.
If you are a manager, chances are, this has happened to you. If it hasn’t yet, be assured that one day, it probably will. How do you respond? What do you say? How do you react? The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself not to make any judgements about what the employee has related to you. Do not let the desire to go back to your productive day and just make this go away cause you to brush off the employee. Do not make a decision about whether the behaviors causing the employee to come to you are actually illegal harassment and/or discrimination. And know that your next words to this employee are super important. There are a lot of things to NOT say and I’ll give you a short list at the end of this article. For now, I’m going to give all you lucky readers a short script for when someone comes to you with any kind of complaint.
Start with something like this, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The company takes these things very seriously and it is important to us that our dealership operate in a professional manner as it says in our handbook”. Then, assure the employee that you will keep this conversation as confidential as possible and only those key people who need to know will be involved, and that you are obligated to follow the company policies and procedures (which hopefully directs you to HR). Let them know that they have done the right thing by coming to you. Then follow your company’s complaint procedure. (Note: it is always my advice that every complaint trigger an investigation—at the least an informal one to determine if an in depth investigation is warranted. When in doubt, call your labor attorney. You know what? Just call your labor attorney.)
Do not Retaliate. I repeat….Do Not Retaliate in any way, shape, or form.