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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Richard Rikess

Richard Rikess Performance Consultant

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How to Apply TLC (Tough Leadership Criteria) To Your Hiring Process

By now, most automotive professionals are aware of the need to crack down on hiring practices in their dealerships-the mirror-fogging test just won’t cut it anymore. The question of course is how to do this. Below, the experts at ADP Digital Marketing shares four best practices for vetting potential employees.

Four Tough Hiring Practices to Employ in Your Dealership Today

1.     Sales Call Shakedown. Does your candidate have the phone skills for the job? There’s only one way to find out. Set up a phone interview and role-play a sample sales call. Posing as a customer, ask your potential hire simple questions such as:

  • “Do you have the car I’m looking for?”
  • “How is it equipped?”
  • “What is my trade worth?
  • “How much does the car I want cost?”

2.      Email Pop Quiz. Have your candidate email you a one-paragraph summary of why they are the right person for the position. Not only will this allow you to gauge their salesmanship abilities, it will also enable you to evaluate increasingly important skills such as grammar, readability, and Internet etiquette.” In today’s dealership, online literacy is a must,” Performance Improvement Consultant Rich Rikess says. “A potential hire needs to be able to communicate well across all channels.”

3.      Follow-up Fire Drill. After an interview, purposely delay getting back to the candidate. This may seem heartless, but it will separate the hustlers from the non-starters.  Following-up is a key part of car salesmanship, so this type of test is necessary to gauge a potential hire’s true prowess. Candidates that strike that perfect balance of politeness and persistence should move on the next step. “This test will also help you determine who is truly focused on working at your dealership versus who is applying all over town,” Rikess notes.

4.      The “Right Fit” Test. “A test!” you say. “This isn’t the SATs!” True, but there are many “soft skills” personality tests out there that help you further pre-qualify candidates in a way that a face-to-face interview may not. In fact, many dealer groups already use them, and single-point stores would do well to emulate this practice. “Many dealerships use Predictive Index (PI) or DiSC from Inscape Publishing.” Rikess Says. “In the end, dealers should conduct research and integrate the personality test that works best for them.”

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. However, in the dramatically evolved digital age, these hiring processes are do-or-die. “Hiring any warm body off the street may have worked just fine years ago,” said Performance Improvement Consulting Manager Steve Hanson, “but the availability of online information has created a much more educated and informed consumers than ever before.” Therefore, Hanson said, “It takes aptitude and real skills to not only close a deal, but to also completely satisfy today’s demanding consumers and project the appropriate image of the dealership.”

Steve Hanson, Performance Improvement Consulting Manager

Steve Hanson, Performance Improvement Consulting Manager,  joined the Cobalt team in 2001 and brings over 20 years of retail dealership operations and consulting experience to Cobalt’s
clients. As a digital pioneer, Steve established his first Internet Department in 1995 as General Manager and minority partner of a
Mazda dealership. You may reach Steve at


Richard Rikess, Certified Performance Improvement Consultant for ADP Digital Marketing


Richard Rikess, Performance Improvement
Consultant (PIC) for ADP Digital Marketing has been in the automotive industry since birth. His career has
spanned all facets of the auto industry. He has worked in management, sales, marketing and eCommerce.

The Cobalt Group

Jared Hamilton
Grant Cardone said something at last year's Executive Summit that I think would be a good addition to the list (depending on job role). He esentially argued that resumes are dead and that in the application process have the person create a video, upload it to youtube or wherever and send you a link. Like wise this will weed out any non tech savvy people, give you a feel for their personality and is an interesting way to engage potential applicants. While it may not be right for every position, for some spots this tactic will be effective.
Tracy Myers
Jared, I was there when Grant presented that idea and I thought it was brilliant. I implemented the strategy on my last hunt for an assistant and it worked like a champ. It also cut way back on the number of resumes that I had to weed through which gave me more time to do other things. I highly recommend trying the "video resume" when anyone searching for their next employee.
Lindsey Auguste
I think the video resumes are great, and they're becoming popular in a few other industries as well. But as the people in our industry continue to evolve with the digital age, are there potential top-quality professionals out there who we might be alienating and eliminating from the search because they don't know how to make a video or don't have the equipment to do so? I imagine there are quite a few people who still don't have cameras attached or built in to their computers. Do you think we might be missing out on a few stars? How do we account for that in the hiring process as we make the transition to video resumes?
Jared Hamilton
@lindsey naturally, i think the video strategy depends on who you are looking to hire. It wont work for all positions, but for those where you need those skills its brilliant. @Tracy - love to hear that strategy is working!! Awesome.
Tracy Myers
Lindsey, Great point and one not to be ignored. I'll agree with Jared on this point and say that the video resume may not be the solution for all positions. However, I have seen a tremendous jump in the quality of the applicants by using them. In fact, I've had candidates that admitted they had no clue how to "do a video resume" but wanted the position badly enough to learn how or find someone that could help them put one together. That showed me the tremendous drive and determination that I wanted in an employee.

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