Auto Service World
Feature   June 1, 2000   by Tim Norlin, MAAP and Chuck Udell, AAP

UNIVERSITY OF THE AFTERMARKET: Help Wanted: Getting A Great Return On Your Hiring Investment;

Chances are you'll be hiring this summer. Here are some tips on doing it right.

As we travel about conducting seminars and meeting with members, one problem that we continue to hear about is how hard it is to get and keep good people. With unemployment at historical lows, most people who want to work are working. And your employees and potential employees know that they are in high demand. So, when you hire good people, it is critical that you retain them.

Yes, employee turnover is expensive. In addition to a disruption to your business when good people leave, there are direct costs that you must bear. You have to pay for advertising, skill testing and background checks. These activities could cost your business hundreds of dollars or more. In addition, there is the cost of your and your staff’s time to screen applications, interview, complete paperwork, and conduct new employee orientation and training. These indirect costs could approach $2,000.

Today’s workforce is not an easy one to hire into positions such as drivers and counterpeople. Many applicants, while energetic and wanting to do a good job, may lack the basic math, reading and writing skills required.

To increase your chances of hiring right the first time, decrease your hiring and recruiting costs, and increase the return on your hiring investment, we suggest that you follow the steps in the following hiring process:

Defining the job

Recruiting and obtaining applications

Application review

Reference checking


Evaluating and skill-testing the candidate

Selecting the candidate

Hiring and completing the paperwork

Orienting the new employee

Looking at the first step, defining the job requires that you think about the ideal person that you want for the job. What kind of skills and abilities would that person have, and what would you want that person to do? This information should be used to develop a job description.

Some of the information a typical job description should include is:

Job-identifying information – job title, store (or department), who the position reports to, exempt or non-exempt, who prepared and approved the job description, and the approval date.

Summary of the job – an overview of the job’s responsibilities. For example, for a counterperson’s job description, the summary could be as follows:

The (name of store) counterperson will provide a variety of sales, marketing, and customer relations services to both the store and its customers.

Essential duties & responsibilities – the list of what the job holder is expected to do and from whom specific assignments will come. For example, in the counterperson’s job description:

Specific assignments for this position will come primarily from the (name of store) store manager.

A. Work with wholesale and retail customers to provide needed parts in an accurate and timely manner.

B. Help put away incoming merchandise when needed.

C. Help restock showroom display areas as well as re-merchandise displays.

D. Work with drivers to coordinate deliveries.

E. Make deliveries to wholesale customers when needed.

F. Help with duties focused on store cleanliness and safety.

G. Perform other duties as assigned.

For most store positions, we suggest including the last two points. Cleanliness and safety is everyone’s responsibility. And, the last point will cover any special projects that most jobs entail.

Job skills and education – include the education requirements, knowledge base, skills needed, certificates and licenses required. Specify what would be essential and what is nice to have. For the counterperson’s job description:

Candidates must have completed high school or the equivalent. This position requires at least a general knowledge of automotive operating systems. The candidate should have knowledge of how to work with a store computer system and electronic cataloging–but it is not a requirement for employment. The candidate must have a working knowledge of automotive aftermarket catalogs and price sheets. Outstanding customer relations and phone skills are required. The incumbent must be able to work well with other team members. The candidate must have a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record.

Hiring the right employees is no accident. Those businesses that take the time to ensure that they know what they are looking for and hire accordingly end up reaping the rewards for years to come. Hiring in haste may help fill a hole in your business quickly, but may create other problems down the road, problems that are increasingly difficult to solve as time goes on.

Everyone understands that people are the most important asset of business; it is wise to treat the process of acquiring those assets with the importance it deserves.


Are you interested in learning more about what you can do to improve the return on your hiring investment? The University of the Aftermarket’s The Pre-Interview Process self-study video course can help. In addition to the above tips of what to include in a job description, this seminar will address other issues related to The Pre-Interview Process such as:

Recruitment sources;

How to sell your company – how do you stack up against your competitor when it comes to hiring good people;

Ways to determine if your salary ranges are competitive;

The job application and what to include;

Telephone reference checks – what to know about them and how to do them;

Last checks to do before the interview.

What are the next steps you need to take to explore the topics contained in this self-study program? You can register on the University of the Aftermarket’s web page ( or you may FAX your order to the University (816-523-8252) or call the University registrar at 1-800-621-UNIV. This course is only $49.95! (The University accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and American Express).

Tips on how to improve the rest of your hiring process are discussed in the University’s The Interview and The New Employee Orientation self-study courses. These courses will be reviewed in future articles.