Dealers Discuss Employee Hiring Strategies
by: Brynne Krizay
The competition for good employees is intense in most markets of the
country, and RV dealers interviewed to discuss the issue say they use
their own employees and, in some cases, outside employment agencies and
assessment to tools to help them make the best decision.
Who is Involved in the Interview/Hiring Process?
Many dealerships use a team approach to hiring. This can include the
owner/general manager, as well as the department manager in the
Some dealers use an outside agency to weed out the unqualified
applicants. They say it saves time and reduces turnover when focusing on
candidates who are pre-screened.
David Carpenter, president of Larry’s RV Service Center, Inc.
in Jackson, MI, uses the South Central Michigan Works agency to find
employees. “They find what we are looking for and deliver
fantastic employees with our qualifications, or the potential, rather
than placing general ad in the classifieds,” he said.
Paul Divine, general manager of Mid America RV in Carthage, MO, uses
Manpower, Inc. to help recruit employees. He also holds interviews at
Manpower’s office with the pre-qualified applicants after the
initial review. Other outside sources used include Spader Business
Management, Pro- Staff, and Command Labor.
Many dealers also use outside sources such as Spader Business
Management, Caliper, and the Cole Group, for employee assessments. John
McCluskey, president of Florida Outdoors RV Center in Stuart, FL, says,
“We use Spader as an outside assessment source and find them very
beneficial in the interview/hiring process because they perform
screenings for us.”
Dealerships also use employment agencies to conduct drug tests and
background checks. Meanwhile, dealers who do not retain employment
agencies in the hiring process use their applications and interviews as
the basis for selection.
Those who use staffing services, say they find some of their best
employees, while some dealers told RVDA it is a challenge to pay for
agency services if they don’t produce employees that are dedicated
to the RV industry.
However, most accept applications even when fully staffed. John
Siddons, general manager of Nashville Easy Livin’ Country, Inc. in
Antioch, TN, said, “If an applicant is more than qualified, I will
find a place for him at my dealership.”
Sometimes, RV dealers find qualified people who were not looking for
new jobs. Mark Rispens, general manager of D&D RV Center in Helena,
MT, ran radio ads to recruit, and eventually found two new employees,
even though neither of them were looking for a job at the time. Both
still work at D&D RV Center, and are great employees, according to
Seasonal hiring is popular since many RV dealerships have busy and
slow times of the year. Most applications for seasonal work come in at
the end of winter, which is great for dealerships that have a hard time
retaining entry-level or hourly wage employees. Rispens said, “We
are constantly recruiting, especially for the positions that seem
toexperience more turnover.
Performance reviews are important to employee retention. Dealers use
several methods to evaluate employee performance. Because of differences
between departments, dealers use different measuring standards. Some
areas of measurement include quality of work, efficiency, number of
comebacks, good attitude, doing it right the first time, and customer
satisfaction, according to Carpenter and Divine. Some dealers do monthly
and quarterly reviews, while others dealers conduct in-depth annual
reviews for all employees. Dealers also perform special evaluations, if
necessary, and use them to congratulate a hard worker, inform an
employee about how they need to improve, or discuss terms of
Benefits are just as important to employees as their paycheck, in the
view of many RV dealership employees. According to the dealers
contacted, some employee benefits they offer include health insurance,
vacation and sick leave, paid holidays, bonuses and commission, 401(k)
retirement plans, merit raises, and use of a company RV. RV Dealers
participating in RVDA/Spader 20 Groups discuss benefit packages as
*Caliper – www.caliperonline.com
Group – www.omniagroup.com
Management – www.spader.com
*RVDA endorsed employee
**RVDA/Spader endorsed 20 Groups.
The Cole Group
Inc. – www.manpower.com