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Monday, August 29, 2011

Automotive Talent Wars Are Heating Up Again

The Car Sales Simulator®: Recruiting and screening job applicants
A new customer was waiting on the lot. Steve Wilson headed out to greet the man, a
fortysomething who was checking out trucks. Steve learned that the customer was waiting
for his wife to arrive. "She wants to look at SUVs. She thinks they're more practical," said
the customer, who seemed unhappy with his wife's perspective.
After a lengthy conversation with the couple, followed
by a test drive and negotiation session, the wife
gleefully drove her brand new SUV off the lot. Steve
set his laptop aside, slid out of bed and headed for the
kitchen to grab a bite to eat before heading back to
tackle a second customer.

Steve just applied for a sales job with a local car
dealership. The realistic, customized "sales simulator"
used by the company to assess applicants afforded
him the opportunity to step into the shoes of an actual
car sales rep and sell two cars. Not bad for a slacker in
his night clothes. In the process, the local Ford dealer considering him for a job got a much
more reliable idea about the candidate's skills and weaknesses than they could using
traditional methods. The simulator provided them with a detailed, scientific analysis that
tells them a great deal about what this candidate can actually do, as opposed to what he
says he can do.

Simulations like the one described here are powerful new weapons in a looming talent war.
Aptitude-simulations take applicants out to the floor, the lot or field and let them perform the
specific sales and service tasks they will be hired for.

Recruiting and selecting the right people is one of the most important tasks facing any
sales or service organization. All too often, the principal cause of poor performance is that
the wrong people have been hired for the job. But as obvious as this seems, most
companies still have ill-defined processes and woefully low standards for who they hire.
They rely on chat-style interviews with a handful of candidates, a technique that's both time
consuming and a poor predictor of eventual candidate performance. As a result, most sales
and service staffs operate like revolving doors. In the automotive dealership sector alone,
the average turnover rate for reps exceeds 45 percent per year. In the insurance industry is
the figure is between 80 and 85 percent during the first five years, and in other corners of
the retail world turnover can hit several hundred percent annually. Companies often
assume this condition as a natural and necessary cost of doing business without ever
exploring whether or not things can be changed.

Competing for talented front-line people requires that companies cast a wider net and set
higher standards for hiring. Fortunately, new behavioral simulations have emerged in
recent years that can both recruit more persuasively and select more accurately. Using
video and computer-driven interactivity, these applications show the employer how a
candidate can think on his or her feet and offer a preview of areas in which the future
employee might need additional training or mentoring.

Hire the Winners, a business venture dedicated to improving the quality of recruitment,
training, and performance of automotive sales professionals partnered with the Gronstedt
Group to develop this revolutionary interactive online
Car Sales Simulator™ that Steve
Wilson took. The dealer was impressed with Steve's results on the simulation and called
him in for an interview, during which the employer asked probing questions about strengths
and weaknesses of Steve's selling style based on a comprehensive report of Steve's
simulation performance. The information from the interview and simulation gave the dealer
the information they needed to confidently
offer Steve the job. Immediately after a
candidate has completed the simulation, the
dealer receives an overall score and a
comprehensive and easy-to-understand report
with that will red flag possible problem areas,
show how the candidate compares to
benchmark sales leaders, and suggest
interview questions. It will score candidates
on the seven criteria identified by top industry
analysts as prime indicators of auto sales
success, including motivation, closing skills,
empathy and independence. With this report,
they have critical information for making
important hiring decisions, conducting more
focused job interviews, or develop their staff.

The Car Sales Simulator™ isn't afraid to get in your face. The professionally scripted,
directed, acted and produced video scenarios feature realistic sales situations, demanding
customers and a grumpy sales manager. No traditional interview or aptitude test can give
applicants such a vivid inside look into a profession. Many ill-suited applicants will decide to
withdraw voluntarily from consideration once they see how wrong they are for the job. Nontraditional
recruits like Wilson (who had never worked in the auto industry before) will be
attracted to the job. Perhaps these factors help explain why the development and
deployment of simulation-based recruiting and assessment tools, which are also effective
applications for promotion decisions and development planning, is expanding rapidly.
Pre-employment simulations enable the sort of efficient, just-in-time hiring approach
popular among high-performing corporations. One of the key conclusions of the McKinsey
Corporation's report on "The War for Talent" is that "talent-winners also recruit
continuously, rather than simply to fill openings. Best practice companies are always
looking for great talent and bring it in whenever they find it." Simulations are always on and
have the additional advantage of being convenient for the job applicants, as well. The
applications help brand the company as a fast-forward, desirable employer, and word gets
around quickly in today's wired world.

The talent war is heating up, and your competitors are seeking to out-compete you by
attracting better talent, a key reason why companies are turning to the Gronstedt Group for
recruitment simulations that promise to be the most potent weapon the market has seen in
a long time.

Check out today to learn how your dealership can gain a competitive advantage through better screening and hiring practices.

Ralph Paglia

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