Hireology was fortunate to speak and present at the DrivingSales Presidents Club 2016 event as a finalist for the Most Valuable Insight Awards. As a way to present our “most valuable insight,” Hireology presented the findings from an in-house study on how effective employment branding drives quality hires and improved store performance at dealerships.

Our study found something to be true across all retail automotive dealerships: employment branding matters. We want to tailor our career sites or “employment brand” to best show the culture, history, community involvement and benefits of working with our organization. Top employees will seek out companies with strong employment brands. The best way to create a strong employment brand is through a career specific website designed specifically for applicants.

Here’s a concise look at the results of the study:

Be sure to visit our site for a full look at the study.

Our insight: Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make. When dealerships build a strong employment brand and utilize process to manage the recruiting and hiring effort, the results are staggering.

What we found.  Our survey exposed numerous challenges facing the automotive industry when it comes to finding and hiring employees. There is a clear difference between utilizing job boards and a company career site when it comes to recruiting talent.

Applicant conversion by source.  We analyzed the rate at which inbound page traffic to this dealership group’s career page converted into candidate applications, and found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site substantially over-performed the conversion rates generated from paid job board traffic:

  • 2% conversion rate from job boards
  • 5% conversion rate from organic traffic

Organic traffic is defined by visitors who are coming to your site after finding you in a search engine like Google. They could be searching for your brand or openings at your company because of your established career site and content tailored to employees.

Candidates by source.  We define “candidate” as someone who has applied for an open position via the career site, and who has been deemed qualified first review such that a next step (like an interview) is warranted. Nearly 94% of candidates who applied for an open job were attributable to a paid job board, versus organic traffic attributable to a career site.

Hires by source.  While job boards control a majority of candidate traffic, our data showed 77% of all hires made resulted from organic traffic generated by the dealer’s career site, versus job boards.  Even though organic traffic attributable to a dealer career site generated just 6% of all candidate traffic, this cohort produced a whopping 77% of all hires made.

In other words, 6% of traffic generated 77% of hires.

Turnover Percentage by Source. Most importantly, the results show that turnover rates diverge substantially based on cohort. The new variable ops hires that originated from an candidate attributable to a branded career site turned over at a rate that’s two-thirds less than than the industry average.

  • 25% from Control Group A
  • 72% industry average

Key Takeaways.  So, what’s the value in having a branded career site for your dealership?

Here are four things to consider:

  1. Organic applicant traffic and process is over 5x more cost-effective
    1. Organic cost per-hire: $245
    2. Third party sources cost per-hire: $1,700
  2. Organic applicant traffic and process yields the majority of hires
    1. 20% of the traffic yields 80% of the hires
  3. Hires sourced this way are 2.5x more likely to be an A or B player
  4. Hires sources this way have higher retention rates
    1. 27% versus 67% industry average


What Dealers Must Do: Retail automotive dealers that want to build better teams and reduce turnover should invest in employment branding, and should integrate a data-driven hiring process.

The financial benefits of such an approach far surpass nearly all potential operational improvements through which dealers can generate a return on investment.

Assuming that a dealer has 55 employees (the average) and that their turnover is 67% per year, turnover is costing them nearly $600,000 per year, every year:

55 Employees

37 turns (67% x 55)

@ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea.

 = $592,000

Now let’s assume that this dealership gets its act together, implements a branded career site and a structured hiring process, and produces a turnover rate similar to the cases studies discussed previously (25%). That same dealership turnover calculation now looks like the following:

55 Employees

 14 turns (25% x 55)

@ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea.

 = $224,000

That’s a profit add-back of $368,000 per store per year.

The bottom line is that dealers must take charge of the hiring challenge by taking control of the hiring process. Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make.

If you’re not already taking this approach, it might be time to reconsider the way your dealership hires employees, because your employment brand most definitely matters.



By: Kevin Baumgart, VP Business Development, Hireology