Mercedes-Benz USA has launched its Elite Service Advisor Education Programme, a new hire initiative intended to recruit top-notch service advisors for dealerships nationwide.

The comprehensive programme is claimed to be the first in the automotive industry to implement a 'state-of-the-art' talent selection process modelled after those used by the hospitality and entertainment industries.

The programme starts with recruitment at colleges and career fairs, through career websites and via personal contacts. Once candidates are identified, they begin an online application process. Applicants go through a rigorous screening process which includes background checks, drug screening, initial computer and customer service skill assessments and an e-Learning course.  During each step, the applicant learns about the Mercedes-Benz organization and the job roles available at dealerships.

Candidates who pass the initial online screening are invited to participate in a talent interview with recruitment specialist Talent Plus. The interview, which focuses on the applicant's attitude and aptitude, determines whether a candidate's personality and skills are a proper fit for the service advisor role.

Those candidates who do well in the interview go on to complete three weeks of self-paced online instruction in which they learn about the automaker's organisation, vehicles, and job role. Upon successful completion of the e-Learning course, candidates are matched with hiring dealers and later engage in four weeks of instructor-led classroom, experiential and e-Learning. Mentoring and development of graduates continues after hire in their post-graduate employment through a dealership mentoring programme.