Not just anyone can be picked off up the street and be placed at the parts counter. There is a mix of customer service, technical knowledge, sales ability, and attention to detail required to be an excellent parts person. So, when you are in need of the mystical parts person, how and where do you find them? With season upon us, there never seems like there are enough to go around.

We often talk about how, as we are looking for good employees, we need to hire low and grow. The same holds true for a parts counter sales person. As an example, if we wanted to hire low and grow a parts counter sales person, we might hire a mom whose kids had just started school and wanted to get back into the work force. Having her put away the stocking order and do inventory counts would not only help the process for your parts department but would also be training her to be a parts counter sales person one day.

One of the ways we see dealers looking for employees are job recruiter sites. As I mentioned last week, job recruiter sites are much like using Google for a specific function. They all use “Search Engine Optimization” (or SEO for short) to match a job seeker with a job. What that means is simply this: you use other words or phrases to make sure that your webpage, or job posting in this case, comes up as many times as possible.

This is exactly what we want to have happen with job recruiter sites. Our goal is to use words or phrases for the same position that cross over into other industries. For example, if we are looking for a Parts Counter Sales Person we could use words or phrases like: Automotive, auto, auto sales, auto parts, dealer, dealership, cities or nicknames of areas around your area, or even brands that you may carry.

As we utilize job recruiter sites, we want to find the best possible candidates and often it’s not who we think it might be. We encourage our dealers to make sure you let people know you are hiring. This isn’t just limited to your employees; let friends and family know as well. You never know when someone is looking for a change or may have a move coming up. The more you can share that you are hiring, the better your chance of finding the right person.

As you are thinking about specific places to find a new counter parts sales person, one place we suggest looking is other places you do business. This could be your kids’ pediatrician office, a restaurant that you are a regular at, or just about anywhere that you have had a great customer service experience. Keep in mind, you can train skill but you can’t train attitude. Often, your parts counter is the first experience your customers have with your dealership.

Recently, a big warehouse chain closed over 100 stores across the country, each store employed over 100 people. These are managers, people who do inventory, and people who are trained to do excellent customer service. Being in tune with these changes gives you the ability to hire the best of the best from these stores when transition happens.

People coming out of the military are great in the parts department as well. The military has people who are solely responsible to do inventory for different divisions. These would be great people to have in your parts department. Your local military veterans resource center should be able to connect you with the right people.

When you are in the midst of needing a parts person, it’s easy to think any warm body will do. But take the time to find the right person and they will help grow your department to new levels.