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Recruiting Service Advisors - Make It Easy For Candidates

When your normal staff includes three advisors and one leaves, it is imperative to find a replacement as soon as possible. The normal time to hire a replacement varies from 30 to 90 days.

It’s difficult to determine your actual revenue loss when you are one service advisor short, but I can rationalize it this way. It’s expensive.

During your search for a replacement, this is what happens within the ranks. Your two advisors become stressed, even over a short time period when they cover the responsibilities of three. They write fewer repair orders, spend less quality time with your customers, fewer maintenance services are sold at the time of write-up, errors occur on quotations, customer misunderstandings get charged to your policy account, the phones don’t get answered, keys get lost, parking is a mess and the list goes on and on.

The technicians become frustrated when they have to wait forever getting work approval. When the parts are finally ordered, it’s passed the cut-off time and you absorb yet another daily rental vehicle.

The cashier is stressed when customers complain that no one returns their phone calls, items get missed on repair orders with no explanation, more “no fault found” comments from the technicians because the two advisors were too busy to call the customer for clarification, and more errors occur.

To reduce staff turnover, find the root cause, and then correct it. It may be lower than average pay, longer than average hours or insufficient support staff. Whatever the problem(s) is/are, be proactive, not reactive, and repair what is necessary.

Great sources for finding excellent people with good customer service skills are from within your dealership, restaurants, car rental companies and your vendors. Getting the right person for the job is the hard part. Training this person is the easy part. Your staff will help train the right person.

Solicit interest from people you do business with for future opportunities at your dealership. Check out the candidates available postings on your dealer association Web sites. Build a file on interested people with the skills you need.

When you factor your time in placing an ad, sifting through resumes, interviewing, short listing and making an offer in addition to your other daily activities, you may consider hiring a good automotive recruiting company to help. You can negotiate a fair price equivalent to or less than the cost of doing all this yourself.

What do you see when you read through the dealership want ads in the newspaper? They have one thing in common. They all say, “required immediately” or “currently seeking” and so on.

Most ads don’t identify the contact person, giving preference to “attention: Service Manager.” Listing a phone number is rare and an e-mail address is almost unheard of. FAX numbers seem to be the preferred method of collecting resumes. Some ads don’t even identify the name of the dealership. What about an address?

If you are really in a “required immediately” situation, then why make it so difficult for a prospective candidate to reach you?

When placing your ad, include the name of the dealership, the personality of the position, contact person, phone number, e-mail address and FAX number. Make it easy for people to reach you.

A good qualifier for a candidate is to provide a job description. Do your requirements match the skills and ambition of your candidate? I would go one step further and provide the candidate with a list of my expectations if the job is offered.

Good luck!



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