Help Wanted – The challenge of workforce development



Putting up a “Help Wanted” sign may be the easiest part of workforce development. As WEDA learned from its 2020 workforce development survey, dealers have immediate needs in key management positions, namely service managers, store/general managers, parts managers, aftermarket managers, and sales managers.

Based on what dealers told us in the survey, their needs often outweigh the skills of people who apply for these jobs… and there doesn’t seem to be a rush of current dealership employees ready to step up and take on more responsibility.

As WEDA CEO John Schmeiser said when the survey was released, “The association reviewed the results to determine whether today’s expanding dealership groups have the talent within to meet the need for future managers. While the survey results didn’t indicate the pool is dry, it showed there is a lack of depth in some critical areas of today’s dealerships.”

More than one dealer agreed with Schmeiser. “What we need will be the most challenging positions to fill,” wrote the dealer.

As we found out, shoring up management needs of equipment dealers is not an anomaly limited to this industry.

Western Equipment Dealer went to Insperity to evaluate the association’s workforce development survey. Jill Silman Chapman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP senior performance consultant, Support Services-Recruiting Services at Insperity, said the association’s survey “does echo what Insperity sees from many of our small to medium-sized business owners – hiring is one of the most important and most challenging tasks when running a business.”

Insperity is a Texas-based qualified professional business that works with businesses.  

Before the sign goes up

Before hanging up the “Help Wanted” sign, it’s important to make sure job listings reflect the type of people being sought. If you’re only looking for a truck driver, the skill set needed for the job won’t likely be as detailed as that of a manager. Still, according to Glassdoor, business owners need to “Tell candidates why you’re a place they should want to work, and highlight your unique mission statement, logo and more.”

Glassdoor, which is based in California, “works with employers across all industries and sizes to help them recruit and hire quality candidates at scale who stay longer.”

In an article for Glassdoor, Donna Fuscaldo wrote, “Before a company can even start to craft a good job posting, it has to first figure out what goal it is trying to achieve by filling the position.”

Western Equipment Dealer reviewed numerous job postings on dealer websites and we found only one where the word career appeared in a job description. On the flip side, one of the most often mentioned words was management, but the workforce development survey revealed that quite a few dealership employees don’t want the responsibility to manage people, which is obviously a function of management.  

Therefore, if a business is looking to bring someone onboard to enrich their careers and become a leader in an organization, the job posting should indicate as much.If your dealership needs help writing a job listing, especially to attract qualified career-minded candidates for management positions, consider visiting Glassdoor at

Sorting out resumes

Dr. John Sullivan, a professor, corporate speaker and well-known HR advisor, has written that “resumes are the currency of recruiters.” He cautioned, though, when a business continues to get poor quality hires it’s probably “time to realize that the blind and uneducated use of resumes may be a main contributing factor.”

In an article written for ERE, an online resource for recruiters,” Dr. Sullivan wrote there are 30 problems associated with using resumes for hiring. Listed here are his top five:

  1. Resumes are at best, self-reported descriptions of historical events – The very definition of a resume highlights its fundamental weakness. Rather than providing information that you really need to hire someone (examples of a candidate’s actual work or a description of what they could do in your job), resumes are merely self-reported narrative descriptions of the candidates’ past work
  2. Resumes frequently contain untruths and half-truths – The next-most-serious problem with resumes is that if you rely on them, you are likely making decisions based on falsehoods. Everyone that has researched them agrees, in fact, that as many as 80% of resumes contain misleading statements. And on average, 53% contain actual lies (the biggest offenders are college students, where 92% of them admit to lying on their resume).
  3. Negative information is omitted – In addition to inaccuracies, resumes have many omissions. The most significant omission is that resumes almost universally contain no negative or non-positive information. Even though everyone has made errors and bad decisions in almost every job, they will certainly not be prominently found in any resume.
  4. Resumes do not cover the future or your firm – Resumes are 100% historical, so, at their very best, they only cover what applicants have done in the past at other firms. However, those making the hiring decision need to project into the future. They need to know how applicants will act in this job and at this company when faced with this firm’s current and future problems.
  5. Requiring an updated resume will restrict applications – Most companies absolutely require an updated resume in order to apply for a position or become an employee referral. But most employed individuals (the so-called passives) do not have an updated resume readily available. So, requiring one in order to be considered for a position will eliminate many top potential candidates who simply can’t find the time in their busy schedule to update their resume.

Beyond the sign, job listing and resume

As noted previously, slapping a “Help Wanted” sign in a window (or online) may be the simplest part of the hiring process. But the really difficult part in the hiring process, as expressed by quite a few dealers in the association’s survey, is getting the right person for the right job.

Again, we turned to Insperity and performance specialist Bonnie Monych. She writes that a key element in the hiring process, something beyond the sign, job listing and resume, is interviewing applicants.

For more on this article and others written by Dr. Sullivan, visit For information about ERE, visit

Sidebar: 10 interview questions to get the right person in the right job

Writer: Bonnie Monych

Have you ever hired someone who, despite a great resume and interview, lacked passion or just couldn’t do the work? You probably had a square peg in a round hole.

It’s all about having the right person in the right job. With a few tweaks of your interview style, you may not have such a hard time finding your next great employee.

Step 1: What are you looking for?

Determine the top three or four competencies that are needed in the person you hire. When you know what you’re looking for – rather than relying on “gut feeling” – you’ll have an easier time determining who is the best fit for the job.

To figure out the ideal competencies, look at your high performers. What do they have in common? What is it about their work that shows you they’re a good fit?

Step 2: Questions that mean something

With top competencies in mind, develop interview questions that speak to them.

Behavioral questions, where you ask, “Tell me about a time when…,” are very effective. The job candidate won’t be able to prepare beforehand, so you’ll likely get a genuine answer that’s not coached.

During the answer, you can tell a lot about the person: What does their body language say? Are they searching for an answer? Do they look you in the eye? Are they earnest and leaning in or are they fidgety and nervous?

Step 3: Be consistent

Once you have your questions, use them as a framework for each candidate who interviews for the position. That way, you’re comparing apples-to-apples when reviewing the candidates and their interviews.

Step 4: But go with the flow

Don’t be afraid to go off-script if the job candidates offer further information or ask questions of their own. The best interviews feel like a conversation.

But don’t get so far off course that you don’t get the answers you need to make a good decision.

Some basics you don’t want to overlook

When you’re considering job candidates, you’ll want to ask yourself these three things:

  • Can they do the job? This is pretty easy to ascertain. Do they have the skill sets and competencies to do the job? Asking questions about how they handled situations in the past may help uncover their capabilities.
  • Will they do the job? Have you hired someone you thought was qualified, they came on board and you found yourself asking, “What happened? They’re just not doing a very good job.” They may have the skills, but they don’t like what they’re doing. This is about motivation. What are they passionate about? Did you hire an analyst who really wants to be in customer service? You have the wrong person in the wrong job.
  • Will they fit? This is one of the hardest to determine. This is where you don’t want to rely on your gut. If you like them, you’ll tend to overlook things that otherwise would indicate a bad fit. Fit is about individual characteristics and values and how they fit into the organization. Ask questions about that.

Interview dos and don’ts

  • Don’t spend the first 30 minutes describing your company. Let the candidate do that. Maybe make it your first question: So, tell me what you know about Company X?
  • Don’t let them off the hook if they don’t have an answer. Encourage them to tell you what comes to mind.
  • Don’t waste time asking them to go over the information on their resume. You can, however, use it as a platform to learn about skill sets and competencies.
  • Do try to build a rapport and make them feel comfortable.
  • Do leave time for them to ask questions – whether it’s during the conversation or at the end of the interview.

What do you do with all this information?

You and your fellow interviewers should keep notes or use a score sheet for each candidate. You will measure the candidates against the competencies that you previously established for the position.

As soon as possible after the interviews, discuss your assessments to determine who the most outstanding candidate is.

You should have a list of the top questions and qualifications that are must-haves for the job. If a candidate fails those, then it’s not the right person.

Let’s say you’ve narrowed it to two candidates who look like a good fit and did well in the interviews, but when it came to a question about leadership, you weren’t pleased with one candidate’s answer. So, maybe that’s not the person for this job. It doesn’t mean the candidate can’t be an asset in another position – but not this one.

Or, perhaps you have a team of employees who believe it’s all for one and one for all. And your candidate shows he’s competitive and self-centered. A superstar isn’t going to fit well into this company culture.

To find the right person, it all starts with understanding what you’re looking for. You must go beyond a gut feeling about a resume that matches a job description.

Learn more about how discovering and developing the right people for the right roles can add to your business’s bottom line.

10 questions to get you started

If you need a place to start, use these examples of behavioral questions and the competencies they address:

  1. Adaptability – Tell me about a situation where you were under a great deal of pressure because of numerous demands competing for your time and attention. How did you resolve the situation?
  2. Customer service – Tell me about the most difficult customer encounter you’ve experienced. How did you handle it?
  3. Dependability – Tell me about a time when you had difficulty keeping a commitment? How did you handle it?
  4. Ethics – Describe a situation where you worked with someone you did not like or respect. How did you cope with the relationship?
  5. Initiative – Tell me about an opportunity that presented itself to you but you were reluctant to take the risk. What did you do?
  6. Interpersonal skills – Tell me about a time you had a serious conflict with a co-worker. How did you handle the situation?
  7. Judgment – Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision. What process did you go through to arrive at the decision?
  8. Leadership – Tell me about a time when you had to inspire or energize an unmotivated individual or group? How did you do it and what was the result?
  9. Planning/organizing – Give me a summary of the techniques you use to plan and organize your work. Describe how you applied one of these techniques in a specific situation.
  10. Teamwork – Tell me about a time you had to set your own interests or priorities aside in the interest of the team.

Insperity offers a free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business, at For more information, call Insperity at 866-593-9728 or start a chat session with Insperity on its website.

Editor’s note: Bonnie Monych’s article is reprinted with permission of Insperity. Western Equipment Dealer also appreciates the help of Alicia Fenoglio, manager, Product Marketing – Recruiting Services at Insperity for her contributions to this article.  

Bonnie Monych is an Insperity performance specialist. She has more than 25 years of experience in human capital forensics, strategic planning, leadership development, organization design and development, corporate training, coaching and mentoring.


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