Hiring Best Practices

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

Hiring is one of the most difficult challenges that a business owner faces, especially in the dealership world. Despite the frustrations that hiring presents, you can get great employees on your team by setting up a structure for your hiring process. And as you know, better employees will help your company grow which in turn will attract even more all-star employees.

Here are my four Hiring Best Practices that you can use to assemble the best team possible.

  1. Initial Paperwork: Job Description, Application and Background Authorization Forms

To get the right person for the job, you must be able to define the work that you want them to do. Having written job descriptions for each position is critical. The job description can be used to promote the position opening as well. An application for employment that includes authorization forms for background checks, including driving record checks is the second part of the initial paperwork that you should have before you hire someone. Checking the applicant’s references and driving record should be one of the first things you do to assess their potential for employment with your company. 

  1. Interviews – I recommend that the interview process is done in three steps…

Start with a phone interview with a few predetermined questions. You can find out a lot of great information about the applicant before you spend any more time on them by simple talking to them over the phone first. Two things that you will notice immediately with a phone interview are the punctuality of the applicant and how prepared they are. Do they answer right away or does it go to voicemail? You will be able to tell if they are driving (risky behavior?) or sitting in a quiet area. Ask questions to gauge their devotion to the dealership industry and how important it is to them as well as what their past experiences are.

If they pass the initial phone interview, schedule an in-person interview with the hiring manager and department manager. Having two people in on each interview helps protect your company for any he said/she said arguments that may arise if an individual isn’t hired by your company, but also helps to assess the candidate better.

The last interview should be an informal group interview where the applicant gets to meet more of the team members that they would be working with directly to learn how their personalities will fit with your current team. The hiring manager and department manager should not be present during this time so the applicant feels secure to be him or herself. The best way to facilitate this is to have the applicant have a quick lunch with the other team members in the department that they will be hired into. It is very obvious who will fit in with your culture and who will not during an informal interview like this.

  1. Physical Testing

After the applicant passes each of the interviews, it is time to see if they have the physical skills and capabilities necessary to perform the job. This can include having them do a skills test for mechanics or a knowledge test about the type of units you sell. A driving test with one of your larger trucks and trailers is also a great idea to complete at this stage of the hiring process. Lastly, have the applicant go into your local Occupational Health Clinic for a pre-employment physical or ergonomic assessment. This is imperative step to make sure you are not hiring a Work Comp claim!

One very important thing to note on pre-employment testing is that no matter what skills you test for, make sure they are directly related to the job they will be performing.

  1. Post Hire On-Boarding

After the applicant has made it through all of the interviews and pre-employment testing, you must make sure the beginning of their employment goes smoothly. This is the time to establish a fantastic start to their career with your organization. Having a proper new employee training and on-boarding procedure is very important in giving that new team member the best attention right away.


If any of this seems overwhelming remember the goal is to hire the best person possible. I’m sure you have hired someone you shouldn’t have just because you needed another body on your team. Looking back at that, it is usually easy to see how you spent a lot more time and money on that person than you would have if you spent your time finding the right fit for your team. I guarantee you won’t regret starting to implement these best practices into your hiring process the next time you need to add someone.

If you are struggling with finding new employees for your company, reach out to an DealeRisk team member today to discuss our Hiring & Recruiting Thrive Package.