Can High St retail deliver the staff you need?

  05 August 2013

How often do you challenge the usual ‘industry standard’ way of doing things? I’ve just met a retailer who did precisely this and for him it worked very successfully.

This retailer, running a medium-sized dealer group, was finding it difficult to recruit good managers because they always came with some ‘baggage’ (usually of the wrong sort) from another dealership.

So he set about looking for staff specifically without any motor trade experience whatsoever. The recruitment process found 15 ‘possibles’ and he quickly narrowed the list down to four through interviews and tests. These were then interviewed further and even taken out for dinner (with partners) before a decision was made. As it turns out, all were as good as each other and all were taken on and put through an intensive training scheme.

They are now successfully running sites for the company, which is now looking to repeat the process for aftersales managers.

However, it’s not just that these people came with no automotive ‘baggage’ that was the key to success, but the fact that they all came from retail operations. This meant that the new recruits were used to working weekends and they were used to dealing with both employees and customers equally.

Given the slowdown on the High Street at the moment, this has to be a rich source of recruits, so when you’re next looking for the ‘right’ person, maybe it’s worth looking farther afield than usual, too.

Tristan Young

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