Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

10 Candidate Traits that Lead to Great Employees

When interviewing candidates for your dealership, it can be tempting to only focus on their past experience or current product knowledge. While these topics have their advantages, they can also be taught on the job. However, a candidate’s basic character traits are not nearly as easy to cultivate.

As the interviewer, it’s up to you to use the brief time you spend with a candidate to assess whether he or she will be a great addition to your dealership. You can improve your dealership by adding great employees who exhibit the following 10 traits:

1. They Fit Within Your Dealership’s Culture

According to a recent Mercer’s study, 35 percent of employees cite internal politics as the reason for their unhappiness. And unhappy employees do not stay for very long; they usually leave in search for a more accepting workplace. That’s why finding a candidate that fits your company culture is incredibly important to the culture of your dealership. An employee who gets along with his or her team is more likely to grow and invest themselves in the brand.

2. They Come Prepared

If you are interviewing someone for a sales position, a great indicator of their sales ability would be seeing how well they sell themselves. If they come prepared to the interview and are confident in their answers, they will likely come prepared to sell cars.

3. They Are Self-Motivated

You can train someone to know the job, but you can’t train someone to be motivated. That is an inherent characteristic, and if a candidate lacks the ability to motivate themselves, it is only a matter of time before they will not be able to meet their workload.

4. They Are Upbeat

Upbeat employees can bring an air of positivity to your dealership and can even serve to inspire other members of your staff. You want employees who are happy to collaborate with others and are eager to create an environment that better suits your dealership’s workflow.

5. They Communicate Well

Speaking and writing ability, as well as body language, are all features of an effective communicator. If you find a candidate who has a hard time communicating, this can eventually lead to issues arising internally as well as with your customer base if they are hired.

6. They Are Proactive

An employee that shows he or she has no problem taking the initiative is a great asset to your dealership. It shows they are willing to make the effort to better themselves and make your life easier in the process.

7. They Are Detail-Oriented

A candidate with a great attention to detail is an ideal addition to any company but can add tremendous value to your dealership. Detail-oriented employees take pride in their work and make sure to limit the mistakes they make. Employees who possess this trait can eventually be great additions to your management staff as well.

8. They Are Passionate Individuals

If an employee is passionate about their role, it can go a long way in keeping that person happy, engaged and motivated. Passionate individuals tend to become great leaders, teachers and role models for future employees in your dealership.

9. They Exhibit Creativity

Being able to think outside the box is also a skill that can be incredibly useful to your dealership. An employee who is able to find creative solutions to issues or ineffective processes that are in place can help reduce inefficiencies and change your dealership for the better.

10. They Possess Leadership Abilities

Whenever you hire anyone, you are investing in the future of your business. These employees will rise through the ranks to eventually become leaders in your dealership. If they exhibit leadership qualities from the very beginning, it is in your hands to work with them to nurture their success and positive growth.

How to Spot These Traits

Finding a candidate that possesses these qualities can be a difficult undertaking, as every candidate wants to make the best impression possible. You can make the search easier by instituting a more process-driven approach to hiring.

At Hireology, we promote a standardized method to hiring that is based on aggregating data and using that information to choose the best employee available. Our research has found that dealers with a process driven approach are much more likely to find and hire quality candidates. Creating a hiring process in order to improve your chances of selecting the best candidates for the long haul is easy if you incorporate the following steps:

1. Attach a Pre-Screen Survey to the Application

As a best practice before bringing someone in for an interview, we recommend administering a survey that asks about a candidate’s past experience, and the questions usually relate to the job at hand. Hireology offers a SmartRankTM survey that is automatically customized for the position you are hiring for and is sent to candidates directly after they apply for the position online. Applicants are scored based on their responses automatically, helping you prioritize who to potentially interview first.

2. Conduct a Standardized, Structured Interview

If your interview process is unguided and consists of different interviewers asking candidates a variety of wildly different questions, the data you will amass will likely be random and hard to navigate. Consider using job-specific, customized, structured interview questions for all your candidates. This will allow you to see how each candidate takes on a specific question, and you can more accurately predict job success by creating a consistent rubric for assessing each candidate.

3. Administer a Personality Assessment

When hiring a new employee, administering a personality assessment can be valuable in helping identify successful traits. In my opinion, one of the best personality assessments available is the DiSC Assessments. The DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness) Assessment Program is a profiling tool that helps improve work productivity, teamwork and communication by giving you a way to see what work styles a potential employee may possess.

As an owner or a hiring manager, personality assessments allow you to evaluate a new hire on a much deeper level and give you insights that you would normally find out about an employee after you have worked with them. You are able to gain a better understanding of the new employees’ motivations and work styles, as well as how they will mesh with the rest of your staff.

Hiring the right staff for your dealership is essential for your continued growth and success. But in order to know what to look for, a structured hiring process must be in place. What’s stopping your business from finding and retaining the best employees?

Adam Robinson is the co-founder and CEO of Hireology – the leading integrated hiring and retention platform in retail automotive – working with ov...