When it comes to asking for a job, there are multiple ways to go about
it. NAA member Joseph Mast, CAI, suggests letting the person in charge
of hiring know about your interest and availability. And, be upfront
about your lack of experience if you are just getting into the industry.
“I always get much more turned off by somebody that tries to oversell
themselves to me on what they know and their experiences versus somebody
that comes to me and says, ‘I want to be the clay. Help mold me into
what could make me a good Auctioneer down the road,’” Mast said.
Timing and self-awareness are key, too.
“It’s important to know when to present yourself as an Auctioneer. If
you do it and you’re not ready, you can really hurt yourself,” said NAA
member Michael Chambers, CAS. “Stay humble, and always keep that in the
forefront of your mind.”
That doesn’t mean an aspiring auto Auctioneer can’t take steps and be
prepared for when the right time comes. Be available for opportunities
to come in their own time and be open to the fact that something may not
be available right now.
However, always keep a running conversation with your network, which can
be built on non-working days. In fact, Mast recommends going in on
non-auction days when people have time to meet, make an introduction,
and discuss things in detail.
To that point, one of the biggest mistakes that new Auctioneers can make
is attempting to talk to a manager on auction day and doing so with so
much pride that he or she comes across as arrogant.
In addition to approaching auto auctions themselves, effectively
networking through competitions and associations is a great way for new
Auctioneers to gain contacts or even a mentor. Go into those situations
with the mentality of learning, networking, and trying to lift other
“It may seem like you are investing in other people, but, in turn, you
are investing in yourself,” said Chambers, who won the 2014 Chuck
Cumberlin Sportsmanship Award at the NAA IAC competition in Louisville,
Doing all of these things, however, still doesn’t guarantee a gig,
especially when you’re brand new to the industry. It’s a cut-and-dried
fact that experience and loyalty built from that experience counts in a
lot of places, which means it isn’t anything against the new Auctioneer
when a veteran won’t give them a chance. It’s more often that they don’t
want to damage their hard-earned buyer and seller relationships.
Another common pitfall for auto Auctioneers is burnout. Long hours on
the block, and even longer hours on the road, sometimes without much
payoff, can wear down even the best attitudes and work ethics.
“The first thing you have to do is take care of yourself – mind, body,
and spirit,” Chambers said. “It’s easy to get burnt out on the road and
lose your focus.”
Above all, the best advice these Auctioneers provided to keep egos in
check, and to always remember Auctioneers are the lowest on the totem
pole in an auction room. That means listening to sellers and being
careful not to prejudge a car on what you think it is worth. Also, be
fair and consistent, but always work every car as if it is your last.
This will cultivate a long successful career in the auto auction industry.
This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2016 NAA
International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips
regarding this topic? NAA members can access the full audio of this
presentation and many others in the NAA Knowledge Center
. Also, you can access the NAA Auction Professionals Facebook group at: facebook.com/naaauctioneers