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Impact Networking’s Creative Strategies for Recruiting Young People Into the Industry

Look no further than Impact Networking in Waukegan, IL, for a shining example of a dealership that’s doing something different to attract quality people and fulfill its growth strategy for the next three years. With an aggressive plan to reach $100 million by the end of 2017, the dealership has identified the number of new employees it needs to hire to make this a reality, including 40 more sales consultants by the end of 2014, to expand its employee numbers from 180 to 220.

Impact is one of those dealerships that I mentioned last week that has its own in-house recruiters. Starting with one recruiter, the company has since expanded to two and increased the number of Impact’s sales consultants by 140 percent.

What’s most interesting about Impact are the new strategies, aimed at younger job seekers, that it implemented this year to help in its recruitment efforts. Those include:

Meet the Firm – At the very beginning of this year, Impact hosted its first Kickstart Your Career event at a Chicago restaurant and lounge. The event took place while most students were on winter break. “We invited qualified candidates interested in each of our branch locations to attend,” explains Michael Borchew, Impact’s CMO. “We also invited the C-Level executives from Impact and our top sales consultants to give candidates a chance to mingle with other applicants and our employees and really get a sense of who we are as a company and get a sense of our culture. The applicants got the chance to ask any questions they had about Impact or even sales consulting in general. The evening includes three hours of free food and drinks to mingle over. The President gives a speech, there are raffles, and it’s all around a great opportunity to get to know the candidates on a personal level, and for them to really get a sense if this is a place where they can fit in.”

Partnership with Classroom – Impact recruiters recently partnered with UW Parkside to offer job shadowing to their students. The sales certificate program director is requiring his class to shadow an Impact sales consultant as part of their grade in order for them to gain real-world sales experience. The students will then have to perform a write-up of their ride day. “This is a great opportunity for Impact to build a relationship with the professor for future collaborations and to use as a resource,” reports Borchew. “It’s also a good way to build a connection with the university and its students that have already shown an interest in the sales profession.”

New Recruitment Branding Materials – This year Impact developed new branding and performed an overhaul of current materials and displays used for recruitment. The team was set up with a new 10-foot branded video screen for their career fair display, two podiums, and new banners. Impact also created new recruitment marketing pieces, including a recruitment booklet, tri-fold and social media cards. The dealership also purchased a new eight-person van, branded with the new recruitment theme, to haul around their equipment and haul recruits to events.

Text Recruiting – Impact has set up text message recruiting messages to engage with students who previously submitted their resume to Impact directly or to a job Website. This has been a good way to open the lines of communication and has proven an effective method in raising response rates.

Surveying Students – Impact has developed several marketing surveys, which are continually refined, to get feedback on every aspect of the recruitment process. “This survey has shaped our recruiting process, everything from where they look for jobs, to what kind of giveaways they would like, and us most,” notes Borchew. “In addition, surveys were developed for students to complete after our recruitment events, including meet the firm.”

Campus Outreach – Impact’s two internal recruiters have added seven more career fairs to their schedule this year, in addition to other campus outreach events. The recruiters have made an concerted effort to be more visible on college campuses. Impact recruiters have increased the amount of informal recruitment events on campus and outreach to campus leaders. Along with professors, the recruiters have been networking with fraternity and sorority presidents, encouraging them to act as brand ambassadors with fellow students. The recruiters have made an asserted effort to be more visible on college campuses. They have connected with professors to speak in front of classrooms, they have set up informational tables in campus unions and student centers, and have held mock interview days. Whether it is handing out information in campus college shops and bulletin boards, reaching out to college organizations, such as marketing clubs, to attending tailgating events with the Impact branded van — the team has focused on building up brand recognition. The team has scheduled three official tailgating events this year.

Social Media Outreach – This year Impact upgraded to a professional account on LinkedIn so it can do outbound recruiting outreach via social media channels. “We also have tailored our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn to the recruitment audience,” explains Borchew. “We share as much as possible about all the fun things we do as a company, the benefits, the rewards, and provide a good representation of what employees like about working at Impact. Using social media channels, we are able to reach out to schools directly, letting them know about our upcoming events or about our attendance at their career fairs, etc.”

Preliminary Mentorship Program – The recruiters have established a new program for May/December 2015 graduates. When they meet candidates who show great potential and interest for the Impact culture, Impact’s recruiters set them up on track for a career when they graduate. Since they travel to campuses several times a year, they invite younger candidates to participate in on-campus events, set them up with Impact mentors if they have any questions about Impact and sales, and keep the door open to initiate communication throughout the year.

Finding good people will continue to challenge office imaging dealers, but creative initiatives such as Impact’s have the potential to make it a little less challenging.