Management and leadership

These are the most common mistakes that automotive recruiters make

Andy Lees | 03 Jul 2019

These are the most common mistakes that automotive recruiters make

Andy Lees | 03 Jul 2019

In this article:

Filling the vacancy rather than the business need. Only hiring candidates with ‘known’ experience. Pigeonholing and ignoring transferable skills. Please try not to make these common recruitment mistakes…


I’d like to start by posing a question: does anyone actually know the difference between the following roles: regional sales manager, area sales manager, district sales manager? Answers on a postcard please! The jobs in question are near enough exactly the same, just positioned under a different banner.

The point I’m making is that during the recruitment process too often the focus is on the job title and not necessarily the role itself – or the pool of talent available to fill the void. In most cases recruiters are tasked with filling a ‘like for like’ job role. Sometimes this is entirely necessary, but at other times we miss the opportunity to review the vacancy, to assess the company’s needs, and to determine whether the role has evolved into something new or different.

I appreciate that time sensitivities mean that there is not an unlimited amount of resource available to sit back and fully review recruitment needs. But that is where recruiters come in. We have the time and skills to work closely with clients to better define the role and person needed – and we can help companies to think outside the box, too.

Getting unconventional

Thinking outside of the box is something we are often tasked with. “Where is the new talent?” is a phrase we hear time and time again. But when it comes down to it, so often the same pool of people is assessed for suitability. This is partly ‘realpolitik’ – job roles need to be filled quickly. However, there is undoubtedly a widespread reluctance among automotive employers to look beyond ‘the known’. The fear of employing a talented person from outside the market stems far from the level of risk it carries as so much emphasis is currently placed on industry growth at a personnel level. Undoubtedly a fresh pair of eyes can make a huge difference and can provide a real point of difference in a hugely comparative marketplace.

Don’t pigeonhole

Pigeonholing is another aspect that we are all guilty of – particularly when considering the values and characteristics of particular job roles. For instance, sales agents are often deemed to be tenacious and money-motivated so candidates that fit this brief are, understandably, more likely to be considered for a sales role. But in an evolving marketplace, especially one that’s so greatly at the mercy of the online world, is this really still the case? What about transferable skills such as the ability to network and build trusted relationships and effective campaigns etc?   

With all this in mind, now is the time to start thinking differently about your recruitment process. Instead of thinking of recruitment as a numbers game, try thinking more about the person and the value they can add to your business. Step outside of your comfort zone, think differently and be prepared to consider new faces. As our market evolves at rapid pace, it is vital that your business evolves, too.

This is an edited article from the February 2019 edition of the IMI’s magazine. Andy Lees is Managing Director of PG Automotive. There are tons of careers resources to help you advance your career in the automotive sector on the IMI’s website.

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