Making Recruiting a Priority

Thoughts from Expo 2022

by Dan Apple

I attended a seminar at IDA’s Expo 2022 in Las Vegas that focused on employee recruitment.  The speaker asked the audience, “how many of you could double your business (sales) if you had enough qualified employees?”  At least half of the hands went up.  Then he asked how many attending could “if not double your business, substantially increase it?”.   Every hand went up.  His next question was, “what are you doing about it?”.  

The speaker, Brandon Vaughn – CEO of Automate-Grow-Sell LLC, then asked how many in the room had a marketing budget specifically for employee recruitment.  Maybe one or two hands out of the hundred or so attending went up.  Brandon pointed out that we allocate funds for marketing our products and services, we allocate funds for capital purchases (like trucks) with ease but when it comes to maintaining a budget for recruiting talent, most service business just don’t do it.  He then asked, “if doubling your sales could be achieved by adding sufficient staff, why not spend the money?”

As we’ve advised our clients for years, door dealers should take a position of “always hiring”.  Even if you do not have an opening, you should always be looking for talent.  Especially since turnover is so prevalent in our industry.  For years we followed the pattern that so many dealers in our industry use… hiring out of desperation.  What happens?  We end up with the short term solution of filling a hole rather than finding the right talent to fill the position for the long term.  In the early 2000’s, we knew this old method wasn’t working.  So I started guerilla marketing for talent.  Basically, I took an offensive position by always being on the lookout for potential new employees as I interacted with service oriented people working for other businesses where I was the customer.  HVAC techs working on my furnace, auto mechanics servicing my car, bank tellers, servers in restaurants, yard maintenance, retail sales clerks…..any place I was buying goods and services. I was on the lookout for people with good service skills.  The interaction was simple.  I just handed them my business card and said if they ever were looking for another career, my door business was a great place to work.  And it worked!  Some of the brightest and best in our company were recruited rather than answering a want ad in the newspaper.

In addition to guerilla marketing, we also reallocated our advertising budget to include advertising for people as well as our products and services.  We devoted about 1/3 of our overall advertising budget to attracting new talent.  In those days we still did newspaper, but we also used billboards, TV, radio, yard signs, magnetic truck signs and other “in your face” forms of getting the word out.  Once websites came on the scene, we devoted a prominent page to “selling jobs” as well as products. 

Of course, I knew that not every new hire was going to stick.  However, we also boosted our vetting process with better background checks, personality profiles and in some cases mechanical aptitude tests.  While this did increase our recruiting costs, it often kept us from hiring the wrong person.  No system is perfect but at least we were putting a better, educated emphasis on attracting talent.

Once hired, we knew that to keep them it was imperative to show the employee a favorable future with our company.  To do this, we needed to have a top notch training program.  This allowed us to fold their talents into the position and teach them how we wanted things done.  Our goal was for each person to see a clear path to advancement.  We wanted to recruit people who were interested in a career with our company, not just a job.

Mr. Vaughn spoke about the system he uses called “The Hiring Flywheel”.  Basically, once you get the recruiting wheel (process) started it tends to gain and maintain momentum on its own with minimal additional effort.  Getting organized is the key to getting your recruitment program started and running like other processes in your business (sales, billing, dispatch etc).  He suggested the following.

·       Create a budget that spans the entire year, document how much will be spent, when and where

·       Document your core values you are looking for in talent you want to attract

·       Create a “killer” job ad that can be used in any medium to target the right candidates

Of course, all of what I have mentioned above requires a time and monetary commitment by the owner.  You also have to be better organized and have a recruiting plan. The Apple Group can help you to go from hiring out of desperation and dire need to keeping your employment pipeline full when it comes to recruiting talent.  If making recruiting a priority will help get the people you need for the long term and help boost your sales and profits, why not make the investment?  Click here if you’d like to discuss it with us.