Managing Turnover

This summer while working as a Volkswagen sales and leasing consultant, I witnessed a situation that probably could have been prevented with more effective management and hiring processes. One of the harder things to do in a short interview, is predicting whether or not someone is able to follow orders and take criticism in a professional manner. Unfortunately for one of my fellow new employees, it seemed that he had his own way of doing things. Due to his inability to control situations at work, he got fed up and left.
In retrospect it was obvious that this employee would have ended up quitting. In conversations with the man he mentioned that he had been a financial consultant for IBM. I wondered what he was doing selling cars. (Only because it was such a different job than what he was used to) I found out that after about a month he had gotten sick of being retired. He decided that he needed something to keep him busy. It was a dead giveaway that this man would not last very long. Being driven is hard when you think of your position as just a "job". Sales, espescially automotive sales, requires motivated behavior.
The car sales industry is notorious for its close to 61% turnover rate. Most of this can be attributed to the stressful 50 hour week. Many people simply cannot go on very long in the industry. These people often treat it as a temporary job. How do we weed these people out? Would it have been right to not hire someone who was obviously qualified for the job on the basis that they would quit within a few months? From the signs that I saw it was obvious he should not have been hired. That being said, I also had an older colleague who had managed 100 employees at one point in his previous career. He has been at the dealership for years and is a strong salesperson. From the managers perspective, the employee who resigned may have seemed like a prime candidate. The employee did perform to his expectation, however in the end it benefited the dealership very little. Was it correct to take the chance and hire this man? How do we know how someone will react when the tables are turned, and they are the ones receiving orders?

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Comments

What an excellent post, Alan!
I really enjoyed the real-life perspective you have taken, as well as the provocative questions you have posed.
When I read your post, I want to present your managers at the car dealership with a revised interviewing protocol. However, I appreciate how any interviewing protocol has its own set of gaps and room for human subjectivity. Does the dealership do a test-period for its employees? Give them a month to see how they like the work, and if they want to stay, then they can receive improved benefits and pay, etc.?

I look forward to reading your future posts, Alan. You are off to a great start,
Meredith

ps: You receive a grade of .5pts of 1 possible point for the first round of blogging. While your post is on-time and contains great ideas, you have lost credit for grammatical errors. Please see my blog (and the Blogging Guidelines on Bb) for additional details and suggestions for appropriate blogs: http://blog.case.edu/myers/mt-tb.cgi/9857

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