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Managing a large fleet of vehicles requires some unique skills. Whether you are promoting from within or hiring a recruitment agency to source someone suitable, here are the essential skills you need to look for when interviewing candidates.

People Management

Fleet managers must deal with people from all tiers within a business. They will also have to talk to suppliers, mechanics, sales personnel, and more. To be a good fleet manager, you need excellent people skills.

Look for someone who isn’t fazed when the CEO shows up or has no issue chatting with a young apprentice mechanic in the workshop. Whether they are organising business fleet insurance or servicing checks, your fleet manager must be polite, personable, and efficient.

Time Management

Managing a fleet of vehicles is a challenging job at times. There are a lot of tasks to deal with, from negotiating servicing contracts and upgrading vehicles to organising new cars for new employees and looking for cheap fleet insurance.

Because of this, fleet managers need good time management skills. If they fail to manage their time properly, tasks will slip through the cracks and important jobs won’t get done on time.

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are something all managers need. If the candidate is expected to manage junior employees and contractors, they need to be comfortable taking on a leadership role. Fleet managers often have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They have to manage large budgets, ensure multiple vehicles are maintained and taken care of. If a fleet manager can’t handle a leadership role where they are expected to make decisions and take control, it will end in disaster.

When hiring a fleet manager, look for evidence of previous managerial and leadership experience. This person need not have worked in fleet management before, but they should be comfortable stepping into a role where leadership is required from the outset.

Business Acumen

Managing a fleet of vehicles is a bit like running a small business. Therefore, a fleet manager must possess a reasonable level of business acumen. Ideally, a fleet manager should have previous experience managing a fleet, dealing with suppliers and getting fleet insurance quotes.

If the candidate doesn’t have experience in a similar role, look for evidence of business acumen, such as managerial experience or experience running a small business.

Tact and Diplomacy

Tact and diplomacy are always useful. When interviewing candidates, ask them how they would handle hypothetical situations, such as when a senior manager is caught speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Their response should give you a good idea of how well this person would handle difficult situations.

A Head for Figures

Managing a large business fleet means working with budgetary constraints. The candidate must be comfortable with figures and, ideally, have experience of financial applications. Fleet managers are expected to run cost analyses, run the numbers when managing corporate procurement, and look at ways to save the business money.

In larger businesses, fleet managers will need a grounding in accounting, in order to put together profit and loss accounts for finance directors.

Customer Focus

Customers are the people who drive the vehicles, therefore, a fleet manager needs to understand the importance of focusing on the customer. It is essential that fleet managers establish a good working relationship with customers within the business. As with any service-oriented business, the end user’s needs should be met where possible.

Look for a candidate with experience in a customer-focused industry.

Ability to Cope with Stressful Situations

Like any management position, the role of a fleet manager comes with a certain amount of stress. Many businesses are very budget conscious, so there is a lot of pressure on fleet managers to run their operations with a keen eye on cost overheads. They are required to maintain a fully-functioning fleet of well-maintained vehicles within an ever-decreasing budget.

Naturally, this isn’t easy, and it can be stressful trying to juggle a lot of balls. A good fleet manager isn’t fazed by long working days and a host of problems. They can smile cheerfully, whatever happens.

Problem Solving Skills

When things go wrong, as they are apt to do, a good fleet manager is able to devise unique solutions to problems, as and when they arise. Your candidate should be resourceful and capable of thinking outside the box when required.

Clued Up on Industry Regulations

It is helpful if a candidate is fully versed on industry regulations, news, and the latest developments. This is where previous experience pays dividends.

Tech Skills

Technology skills are always worth looking out for. Many fleet managers are now expected to use a host of different technologies, from computer interfaces to accounting software. Look for candidates with experience of the software packages you use in your business.

Lastly, look for someone with a good sense of humour. The ability to laugh at life when everything goes wrong is a blessing.

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