How to Hire Ideal Team Players

I’ll start with an obvious statement that I think every dealership reading this will agree with:

Hiring is hard.

MRAA blog author Mike Davin, Vice President of Business Planning, shown outside MRAA HQ in Minnesota
Author Mike Davin, MRAA Vice President of Business Planning

OK, are we on the same page? If you don’t agree with that statement: 1) Skip this blog. 2) Please contact me, I’d like to hire you as an expert speaker for Dealer Week 2023!

For everyone else, this article is not about how to make hiring easy. Instead, it’s about how to ensure that when you bring someone onto the team, you give yourself (and the new employee) the best chance to be successful. By bringing in the right people, your dealership will experience the pain of hiring less frequently. And in the long run, it is the path to growing and improving your organization’s overall performance.

Like a lot of things in your business, how well and consistently you make good hires comes down to process. This blog will guide you through a well-defined hiring process (used by MRAA) for each new team member you bring on board.

The process should start well before anyone comes in for an interview and involves three steps.

Step 1 is making sure you have the right job description. Keep job descriptions on file for all roles within the organization. (If you’d like a head start, MRAA members can access sample job descriptions in the Workforce section of the Resource Center.)

Rather than copy/pasting when a position comes open, however, review each description to ensure it reflects the current needs of the organization. Instead of focusing on the skills required, emphasize key result areas. These KRAs define the goals you will use to track success in the role, giving candidates a clear picture of expectations and helping ensure that the role is aligned with your overall strategic goals.

Step 2 in the process is to share the job description with the existing team. This gives them a chance to consider whether they know anyone personally or professionally who might be a good candidate for the role. Encourage them to share the posting with their diverse networks to expose the opening to as wide an audience as possible, inside and outside the industry.

Step 3 is when you formally post the job on a variety of job boards. MRAA has seen success with LinkedIn and Indeed, but you should cast a wide net until you have had a chance to evaluate which platforms connect best with applicants in your area.

For each job opening, MRAA assigns a hiring manager and a team of two to three others who will review the candidates. The next steps in the process involve the hiring manager evaluating the resumes that come in and then conducting an initial phone screening of all promising candidates.

Two co-workers of different ages engaging in conversation about sales processes and strategy in an office setting.
It’s important not to skip the final step of the hiring process: Onboarding.

After that, it’s time for the interview, which is key to the success of this process. Here’s an excerpt from MRAA’s interview process guide:

The process for in-person interviews with the MRAA team uses questions from a list of standardized interview questions as the method for determining if the person is a good fit for the role, the culture and the organization. These are not “standard” interview questions, but questions that explore character and real-world behaviors (not canned, rehearsed responses) as well as the “fit” of the individual into the MRAA culture. The questions have been compiled from several sources — books, consultants, experience and otherwise. This document serves as the template for choosing the questions that are most appropriate.

The hiring team divides up a list of specific questions, which are taken from “The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni and “Topgrading. How to Hire, Coach and Keep A Players” by Dr. Bradford Smart. As an organization, MRAA has four core values — Authenticity, Accountability, Leadership and Drive — and the questions are selected to provide insight into how the candidates align with those values.  

After a candidate speaks to the hiring committee, the committee meets to discuss how well they fit into the job duties and the organization’s values. The goal is to identify candidates that are a good fit for the organization, but also to make certain MRAA is a good fit for the candidate. The hiring manager uses input from the group to make a final decision, and then determines and presents a job offer.

If the candidate accepts, it’s tempting to celebrate, but it’s important not to skip the final step of the hiring process: Onboarding. A good onboarding experience is critical for long-term employee retention. It reinforces many of the earlier steps in the process, ensuring that the new team member understands the KRAs they are responsible for as well as the company’s values.

Here’s the whole process:

  1. Create/update job description for open position
  2. Share job opening / job description with team
  3. Post job opening
  4. Review candidates
  5. Call preferred candidates / phone interview
  6. In-person interviews
  7. Discuss among team members
  8. Discuss and determine hourly vs. salaried, other benefits
  9. Make offer
  10. Onboard

Having a documented process makes hiring easier because it’s clear what steps to take, but it also ensures that jobs aren’t created or filled based on gut feel alone. Skipping steps can lead to a faster hiring process, but adhering to this process (or your customized version for your business) will lead to less turnover and better results.

If you want to work on this process or any others within your dealership, MRAA is happy to help. There are many resources on, or you can sign up for Certification and a consultant will work with you to clean up and document all your processes. 

P.S. If you don’t think this process works, I encourage you to check out All your MRAA staff were hired using this method — and look what a great group it produced! Don’t forget that all those people are working to help boat dealers like you every day, so reach out anytime if you need help. Good luck and happy hiring!