I spoke to another candidate this week who was going along to an assessment centre. It is not unusual.  

For this one they had been asked to prepare a presentation on the 5, 10 and 15 year strategic plan for the motor industry. And we had a long chat about it, his thoughts and ideas were sound. He had done a lot of research and I think had put together a very cogent presentation, especially for a sales manager.

Except I did ask myself the question. Why are they talking about the long-term, when they really need someone whose focus is on this month’s figures? In football terms, it is great to see someone who can see the redeveloped stadium in five years time and a European Football League, but how are we going to win the game on Saturday?

In other words, if you are going to hold an assessment centre make sure you measure what is relevant to your candidate. You might judge on a great presentation and fantastic strategic awareness, but will they still be there at 6.30 on a Saturday night making sure you met your monthly figures? Will they be logging in at 6.30 in the morning to secure the best used cars on the manufacturer’s system? Will they be worried that Mrs Jones’ car is going to be six hours late?

Because those are the things that great dealer managers worry about and sort, they can’t really control the future of the industry and it doesn’t really matter if they understand it.

But good luck anyway, I hope the presentations go well.

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