In a world dominated by smartphones and tablets, by mobile sites and apps, by Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin and loads of other social media sites, it can be easy to forget the most crucial part of most businesses: the people who actually do the job.
This dynamic holds true in the auto finance sector, just as in any other industry, said Bill Caan, president and owner of Blackhawk Auto Finance in Chicago. No matter how great a company’s collection system, no matter how slick its technology, no matter how well-designed the back-office program, success comes down to one question: “Where do I find the people to do the work?” he said.
To find suitable employees, recruiters advise specificity when it comes to advertising jobs. Don Jasensky, president and founder of Automotive Personal LLC, said that “generic” ads might attract applicants that lending companies just aren’t interested in. “They’re quality people,” he said. “But they’re not a fit.”
Terri Horn, a recruiter with People Strategies LLC, agreed. “I think that oftentimes in postings or job ads, we become too generic,” she said. “It’s important to be specific about what we must have.”
When Horn posts jobs on Linkedin, she lists experience that candidates must have in an attempt to make it clear that applicants without that experience won’t be considered.
The size of a company is another differentiator for those looking to staff up. Content of an ad will vary based on how well-known a company is, Jasensky said. A large captive will have an easier time attracting candidates than a smaller lender. “If your company is not known, you’re going to have to spend more time in your ad telling the world who you are and why it’s great to work there,” he said, comparing the situation to Microsoft versus a small independent tech firm.
Sometimes, the best way to bring the right people to your company is by not advertising at all, Horn said. She noted that while ads remain popular, they may get worse results than actively searching for the people who would fit the role and talking to them directly.
Drew Pickens, director of human resources for Southern Auto Finance Co., had success finding a risk manager with this strategy. “We recruited one ourselves by networking on Linkedin ― not just placing an ad, but reaching out,” he said.
Of course, the quest to find the right people goes beyond the job ad: interviews are extremely important, too, Caan said, adding that normal questions about work ethic or office problem solving aren’t as effective as questions more likely to be found in a Trivial Pursuit box. What’s six times seven? What’s 25% of 300? When was the Civil War? Who was the second president of the United States? If someone answers Thomas Jefferson instead of John Adams to the last question, Caan said, the response is close enough. If they say Abraham Lincoln, though, he will have questions about that person’s basic intelligence and awareness.
And with a small office he describes as “kind of like a family,” those aren’t the type of people Caan wants to add.