Know Your Networks
How to harness the power of social media when looking for new recruits.
Right now, even as you’re reading this, you probably have a social media tab or app open on your computer or phone. That’s why, even though face-to-face contact is a cornerstone of the dealership, social media is a key component of a dealership’s human resources strategy.
Paul McCallum, Principal Consultant at AUTOMOTIVETHINK, says “LinkedIn is the perennial leader for recruiters. However, Facebook and Twitter have much larger audiences.”
In fact, a recent post on Talent- Works shows that 83 percent of candidates are active on Facebook, 40 percent on Twitter and 36 percent on LinkedIn. “This would suggest that a strategy to attract through all channels would be appropriate,” notes McCallum.
However, it’s important to utilize each channel appropriately. “On Facebook, it’s about storytelling,” says McCallum. “The story of that dealership is what’s going to hook somebody’s interest. That’s where you reach out to them with ‘join us, have a conversation, talk to us.’ But it may not be the right place to say you’re looking for a sales consultant.”
This is where a dealership may want to talk about what it’s like to be part of their team, and invite a conversation. “Any Millennial research is going to tell you that identifying with a brand that reflects their values is critically important to them,” explains McCallum. “Social media becomes an avenue for you to demonstrate to the world what your brand is, what your values are, what you stand for. Then, you add a link to your website with the careers section.”
As for LinkedIn, that’s where you’ll find individuals who have been in the workplace for some time and have built networks, using LinkedIn as a vehicle to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the marketplace.
“Filter stories into LinkedIn about, for example, a 45-year-old woman who’s had a great career but now just wants to have fun, relate to people, make connections and solve problems,” says McCallum. “She may not have thought about selling cars, but if she sees that it’s about building relationships and solving problems, here’s where you can tell a story about how she’s made that successful mid-life change and is enjoying the transition. You can use her story to redefine what the job is, or the perception of the job.”
Passive job seekers
One of the benefits of social media is that you attract “passive” job seekers, according to Kathleen O’Regan, VP Human Resources at O’Regan’s Auto Group. “Those can be a really great option for you because often, there are good people out there, but they already have a job.
“They’re not out of a job, but you want to be able to access them. They may not be actively looking, but maybe they’re not satisfied where they are. If you can be in those places where they are, it’s very similar to the sales process for automotive.”
She calls it “Entrepreneurial HR,” and says this is how this department can work to support sales managers, service managers and other employees. “You want to be where those people are,” notes O’Regan.
Another way of using social media is having employees talking about why they like to work where they are. “Social media is about connecting,” adds O’Regan. “If you can do that, your employees can really power a lot of your recruitment drive. We have a strong referral program where we reward employees for referring successful candidates. Those employees are some of your best talent scouts because they know what’s required for the job.”
Connecting Through Culture
How to establish your brand through social media.
Hiring on skills alone isn’t enough to make a successful dealership sales team. These days, it’s paramount to take your store’s culture into account.
“You want to make sure all the people in your store are moving in the right direction,” says Kathleen O’Regan, VP Human Resources at O’Regan’s Auto Group. “You could have a very skilled person, but if they can’t get along well within your team, if they can’t be part of the solution, then it’s going to be disruptive.
“You have to look at what’s important in the culture of your business. What works with your staff and customers? You deliver that through the people you hire.”
Culture can drive performance and is important for retention. “The environment in your dealership should be about respecting people and what they bring,” adds O’Regan. “It has a direct impact on your team and the overall morale of your team. It helps shape your company from the ground up.”
Cultural cues can be effectively communicated on social media. “People increasingly want to be a part of something,” says Paul McCallum, Principal Consultant at AUTOMOTIVETHINK. “When you can make it easy for them to ascertain what you stand for, and what your brand means, you make it easier for them to aspire to be a part of your organization long before you have the first conversation with them.”
Potential job seekers are using these channels to not only find jobs, but find a brand that’s consistent with their values and where they can have a role.“People are looking for brands to connect with in their job searches the same way they’re doing with their life choices and the way they acquire things,” McCallum concludes.