Auto group has a wide variety of hiring needs
by Gloria Welton
Centennial Auto Group is the largest auto group on Prince Edward Island. “We are always looking for people who are motivated and want to learn,” says Human Resources Manager Jeff McKenna, who has been with the company for nine years.
“We have 220 staff in total – we are a growing family of Advisors, Accountants, Technicians, Sales Professionals, Appraisers, and Marketing Experts.
“There are a lot of opportunities within Centennial for people to get started and advance. We like to work with staff to guide them toward a long-lasting career, not just a job.”
Centennial Auto Group sells and services new and pre-owned vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles, and RVs. Centennial also offers vehicle collision repair along with vehicle rentals. The Group owns and operates the following companies:
There are five dealerships:
- Centennial Honda in Summerside
- Centennial Mazda in Charlottetown
- Centennial Nissan of Summerside
- Centennial Nissan of Charlottetown
- Centennial Kia in Summerside
There are two powersports stores:
- Centennial Auto Sport & Tire/Centennial Certified in Charlottetown
- Centennial Auto-Sport & Tire in Summerside
There are currently six Centennial Carstar Collision centres:
- Summerside, PEI
- Charlottetown, PEI
- Moncton, New Brunswick
- Dieppe, New Brunswick
- Riverview, New Brunswick
- Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
- a second Dartmouth location is opening in August 2022
Training, mentorship, and advancements
Jeff turned his teaching degree into a career in the automotive industry. Nine years ago, he started at Centennial Honda in Summerside as Parts Advisor, and then moved to Sales Administration, Sales Manager, and now Human Resources Manager for Centennial Auto Group. Jeff’s trajectory in the company is a common one.
“It’s been terrific to do all these roles. It has helped me to understand the car business as a whole and see how the different departments and dealerships can work together.
“We want to see staff succeed in their role by treating them fairly and creating an atmosphere that is enjoyable to work in and where friendships are formed.”
Many Centennial team members begin in entry-level positions, which often helps determine if the employee is committed to the company’s core values, a key quality the company looks for in people who are seeking to move up in the organization. A caring attitude, ethical conduct, a commitment to never-ending improvement, and the ability to work as part of the team are core tenets of Centennial’s success.
“We like to see ambition and a willingness to learn and take instructions. The more they know, the more value they are to the company, and the more opportunity there is for advancement.”
Difficult positions to fill
“We regularly post technician trades such as Auto Body, Automotive, and Motorcycle Technicians because there are not as many people readily available to work in these trades,” says Jeff. “We offer to train people from the ground up and staff can enter the apprenticeship program to earn their Red Seal in the trade of their choice.”
“We are always looking for positive and hard-working individuals who have an interest or experience in the industry,” says Jeff. “All of our open positions are posted on the Careers page of our website. Our ads are also on Canada Job Bank, Facebook, Glassdoor, WorkPEI, and Indeed. Applicants are redirected to our website where they can apply directly.
“When interviewing potential candidates, we ask about past experience, their passion for the industry, attention to detail, and how they get along with others. We also ask about availability, reliability, and dependability.”
After the interviews, some applicants are offered a different job than what they applied for because they seem to be a good fit. “We try to see the potential in people and give them the best option.”
Compensation & benefits
“We offer competitive wages, health and dental coverage, life and disability insurance, employee discounts, gym membership, company-matching RRSP, and the best co-workers in the business,” says Jeff. “Every year, we have a number of staff appreciation events. Our company-wide Christmas banquet is always a highlight of the year.”