What do Employees look for When Changing Jobs -– and How Can You Benefit?

by Don Jasensky

In the past quarter of a century that I have been recruiting for automotive dealerships, there are the five aspects of candidates’ employment that are brought up most often when looking for a job change:

• Day-to-day work content
• Career visibility/opportunity
• Location
• Compensation
• Security

So how can you use this criteria to your advantage? Find out what is most important to your top candidates and appeal to those needs when reasonable.

factortrust-200x300Case study: We were helping an auto dealer of a very large Ford store. He needed a rock-star service director.  We found three great candidates. Two were from out of town and needed to relocate, and were willing to do so. The dealer was willing to cover relocation expenses. The third candidate lived across town, about an hour commute each way. He did not like the long drive, but did not want to move closer to the dealership.

We suggested to the dealer that he offer the candidate with the one-hour commute the following:

• Salary that was agreeable to all

• Flexible hours – understanding that the service director needed to be there at 6:30 am to open up, but allow the flexibility of leaving early in afternoon sometimes to see his kids’ baseball games, dance recitals – all the things he had been missing his entire career. Keep in mind, “rock star” employees are very hard workers by nature and are not likely to take advantage of this benefit.

• A company car and gasoline. In the grand scheme of things, what is the cost to use a company car and gas compared to the revenue from a huge Ford service center that is run by a “rock star”?

Results: Win-win for the auto dealer and the service director. The ability to occasionally see his daughter’s dance and piano recitals and his sons’ sporting events made him feel so respected and in turn made him the most dedicated employee you could imagine!

Lesson learned: Ask candidates what is most important to them when considering a job change and if at all possible, appeal to those factors when making an offer.

Don-Jasenskyautomotive-personel-200x300Donald Jasensky is the founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC. It is in its 26th year providing executives, managers , and sales professionals to the automotive finance, aftermarket and automotive dealership industries. 800-206-6964×21, don@automotivepersonnel.co, www.searchpro1.com

To Be Fair, Hit’Em Hard!

Whether you have the absolute right candidate, wrong candidate or just can’t draw a hiring conclusion, try hitting’em hard! Nothing strips away interviewing chaff better than tough poignant questions.

Never try to embarrass any candidate and always be respectful, after all, you may be making him or her  a job offer and will want them to enthusiastically accept. However, I do ask tough questions when I think it is necessary to resolve a concern about the candidate.

Faced with several challenging questions, the meek will reveal their shortcomings, the Stars will shine, and you will have a truer picture of your candidate.

It is your responsibility to determine if a candidate is a proper fit for your position. Let’s find out during an interview, that a candidate isn’t a fit, before he quits his job, comes to work for you and gets dismissed or slow tracked 6 months later. Additionally, a Star deserves a fastball as fodder to hit an “interviewing home run”. Let’s look at several tough but poignant questions that I have asked candidates.

Please bear in mind; these are appropriate for positions where the candidate will be under pressure and performance scrutiny in their day-to-day job content.

I often start out a series of tough questions with “I have no hidden agenda, let me tell you what I am thinking”

Bill, you are leaving ABC Financial because they are experiencing problems. All companies go through challenging times, how do we know you wouldn’t leave us when we need you the most? 

I have seen this question leave seasoned executives apoplectic, however, I want the answer.

While interviewing Service Directors for a large dealership group, I pose this question: “We need a Service Director who can raise our CSI to the top in our zone. From what I have seen, your CSI scores look pretty average. Why would it be any different if you managed our service department?”

Before a candidate leaves my office, I often put my hand on a large stack or resume, (on my desk there are always several stacks), and ask:”Tom, one last question, there are several things that I like about you, I believe you could do a fine job in our position, but there are other qualified candidates whom I feel the same way about. Tell me why I would be making a mistake by hiring one of the other candidates instead of you?”

Ancillary benefit to this question is it often reduces candidate’s salary requests because they see competition for your position.

You owe it to the candidate to give him a chance to prove himself.


Don-JasenskyDonald Jasensky is founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC. don@searchpro1.com; www.searchpro1.com


Sales People : Born or Made?

I’ ll answer that shortly.

In the last 20 years, our firm has interviewed and tracked the success, or lack of success, of thousands of sales people in numerous industries. Let me share some findings.

Good sales people, the kind that consistently perform above average come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Do not get caught up in the 6’4’,wavy haired, baritone voiced blued eyed stereotype!  Most of the really good career sales people tend to be more the quiet types than the loquacious types when not working.

Don’t look only for images of yourself – there are other successful archetypes! Employ them !

Do not equate “great interview” with great job performance. The former is not a good predictor of the later.

Do look for consistent and proven performance.  If they are good, there should be a track record of increasing sales volume, gross margin, expanding client portfolio, etc.  Make them show you their achievements. The best indicator of future performance is usually past performance.

Born or made? , most Sales Managers I know tell me that  great sales people are born, well, here is what my 20 plus years of tracking sales people has taught me: I don’t care if they are born or made !, when they come to me I want to see these traits:

  • Drive
  • Persistence
  • Focus
  • Enough ego strength to overcome objection (do not confuse strong ego with big ego)
  • Good communication skills
  • Understand human nature (Social Intelligence)
  • Persuasion skills
  • Hard worker
  • High energy level
  • Good attitude
  • Likeable
  • Open to re-educating
  • not too self-conscious

My personal  acid test : A nearly infallible indicator of a driven person is revealed in these 2 questions:

1) I like to ask candidates what the last book they read to help their career?  Then query them on the book – What attracted you to that book? What was it about? What did you learn?  What others?

2) Magazines, periodicals, audio programs, self-education that candidate subscribes to at his or her own expense?

It is hard to truly be dedicated to greatness and you do not bother to read about your career and study from the masters.

All High Achievers work on developing themselves !

During casual conversation  I probe for drive and energy level. I often ask candidates about their hobbies and avocations. If they are a driven person  this is often revealed in how aggressively they pursue their avocation.  If I were queried about an avocation I might discuss mountain climbing – a long time passion of mine. I would discuss summiting the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Mt. Blanc in France, solo climbing Mt. Washington in New Hampshire in mid winter at 20 below zero. Traveling to West Virginia to train with rock climbers, to the Adirondacks to train in ice and Colorado for altitude training.  I have numerous books, training videos that helped me become a better climber.  My approach to my vocation mirrors  approach to my avocation.

One person I was interviewing told me  about his hobbies : gardening. I do not know much about gardening but I asked him to tell me about it. Tell me what your yard looks like?  How did you learn so much about gardening? He reads, studies, belongs to a garden club, attends seminars.  His career is as successful as his garden. It is his nature to work hard, better himself, re-educate himself.

Don-JasenskyDonald Jasensky is founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC. don@searchpro1.com; www.searchpro1.com

Interviewing Effectively

Those of us who successfully interview and assess candidates  everyday are results driven, effective and manage to keep it as simple as possible. After all, we are not Maslow, Freud nor Jung. I suspect they may have been subject to hiring misfires themselves!

How I start each search:

I start each search by asking this question; “A year from now, what will the employee need to accomplish to be considered a great hire?”

Only when I truly know the answer to this question, can I  competetly begin a search !

Then I look for a person who I am confident will accomplish this.   Experience has taught me to explore 4 areas when assessing potential candidates.

1) Experience :

– Have or are they doing this successfully?

– What is, (was), their role?

– Do they have the required technical, educational background?

– Have they demonstrated the necessary talent to be successful for the position –leadership, managerial, sales, organization, etc?

Keep in mind, for some positions hiring for winning attitude can make up for years of experience.

2) Performance :

The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Again, keep it simple, what is the pattern of their career? Moving up? Moving down? Hit plateau 10 years ago?

We look for a demonstrable record of accomplishments

– What did they do? Can candidate explain problem, opportunity?

– Their solution

– How did they implement solution? Their specific role?

– Hurdles, challenges?
- Results?
- What did they learn?

– Can they repeat this success in our position?

This series of questions will help you gauge true job performance. I tend not to trust resumes. It always amuses me when I see 3 or 4 resumes from the same company and each claims responsibility for the same project’s success!

3) Chemistry :

– Will candidate fit in with the corporate culture?

– Get along with the manager they will be reporting to?

– Get along with associates, subordinates, the team?

– If the position interacts with clients, what will your clients think about the candidate?

– What about pace of position? Fast, slow, how will candidate fit? Will tempo of the position frustrate candidate? Cause high anxiety? Or just about right? 

Trust your gut, it is probably right

4) Personality / Mindset:

We’re not talking more chemistry here, we are instead looking for a match of   candidate’s Personality / Mindset to the needs of the position.

Please see   “Personality / Mindset”  articles for more detailed   treatise.   Basically there are 3 types of personality/mindset needs, I look for a corresponding personality/mindset match   from the candidates.   You will not find this information in their resumes, in fairness candidates will not find it in your job description either!

The 3 types of personality/mindsets are:
“Status Quo” – this person will be very steady, not likely to shake things up, will probably get along well with most everyone.   Great fit for taking over a well-run department and keeping everything running smoothly. Will not “rock the boat”.

“Star”-   Needs to “move the needle”, “raise the bar”. These are high achievers who need to make things happen. Great fit is a position where the “Star” can accomplish large things like: increase sales,   production, bring in clients, reduce losses,etc.

“Hero” – Wants to take over a disaster and turn it around.   Think Carlos Ghosn or Lee Iacocca. “Heroes” are intrinsically challenged to make wholesale changes : fire people, hire others, sell off assets, buy other assets, (“Heroes” love this part).

TIP: Keep your job description simple enough to be understandable; does the position  require a person to – keep things running smoothly?   Move the needle? Or turn around a mess.

As a Professional Recruiter, I have interviewed thousands of disgruntled candidates.   The majority are   good employees, working in good companies who are in a position that does not fit their personality / mindset.

Don-JasenskyDonald Jasensky is founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC. don@searchpro1.com; www.searchpro1.com