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10 people found this helpful  

Started off as a great company....then got derailed by poor management and lack of true leadership.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

I worked at CarMax full-time (more than 10 years)

Pros

-Good pay - For not being a college graduate, I made a decent salary. Not significant, but better than most with my education
-Decent benefits - Vacation rules were very relaxed, except when you wanted to take a vacation at the same time as one of the "chosen" ones (read below)
-Extensive travel to some interesting places

Cons

-Fraternity atmosphere - If you are buddies with the boss, you will go a long way. This is not the case in all stores, but it is in about half the ones I saw. If you aren't willing to waste time and run your mouth, you are looked down upon. Certain people are elevated as better or "chosen" without cause. Work performance is secondary to who "talks the talk" and who is "cool".
- Inequality of management when it comes to accountability - Some people can go years without doing their job (i.e. a manager not meeting with reports), while others get coached for not being part of the crowd or for being too "technical" in their job.
- Vacation issues - Vacations scheduled first and in advance should get first priority. Especially when those requesting vacation time have not requested off for holidays (i.e. Memorial Day, July 4th, etc.). This isn't the case though. A vacation planned 6 months in advance will be questioned if a "chosen" person decides at the last minute they want a vacation at that same time. You have to fight for something you have already planned and paid for.
- Lack of upper management being willing to step in and truly see issues - One year, we had to fill out an evaluation of our immediate boss. I gave him an average rating. He was doing less than an average job, but I feared retaliation in the event he was given specifics on who rated him. Our boss received several low ratings, yet nothing was done. The only thing that happened was our boss walked around pissed off for the next couple months and talked behind peoples backs about who he thought "threw him under the bus".
- Ho Hum attitude about good people leaving the company - Most management personnel refuse to acknowledge associates leaving the company. They act as if they are crazy for wanting to leave. Upper management does not question why people leave.
- Higher level managers with tenure not knowing the "nuts and bolts" of the business - This is is not rampant, but enough of a problem to mention. Nobody should ever have to continually train their boss on things that are part of the daily business. They definitely should not have to do it over and over again.
- "Top 100 Places to Work" voting - CarMax picks and chooses who gets these surveys. This enables them to manipulate the outcome. In over 10 years, I never got one (about 5 of which I was a mostly happy employee). I knew hundreds of associates who have never seen one. They wanted those surveys in the hands of the "GO KMX" crowd.....people who blindly followed all direction without using their brain to question things. It's not always good to question, but common sense should prevail in some cases.
- Constant changing of policies and training practices - in over 10 years, I saw countless training manuals and ideas that would last about 6 months-2 years, before being scrapped for the "latest and greatest" idea. Unfortunately, the ideas were rarely realistic. Good management and leadership means improvement while acknowledging ones failures. This does not happen at CarMax. You are to blindly follow ALL direction, even if it's unsafe or unrealistic.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

CarMax wants to be a model company. It wants to revolutionize an industry. It wants to re-write how training is done.

If this is what you truly want, stop for a few minutes and ask employees (all of them, not just chosen ones) how they feel. Promise them a TRUE open door policy. This does not exist currently. Evaluate people on their strenghts, instead of beating them down for not being "cool" enough.

Finally, you should value long term employees for what they bring to the table and the experience they provide. Instead, you threaten demotions and salary caps and push good people out the door who made CarMax what it is.

Funny thing is, I'm not an angry ex-employee. I was never rated below average, nor was I ever in jeopardy of losing my job. I left on good terms for greener pastures. I just saw way to much in my time there to not let people realize what they are getting into.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

714 Other Employee Reviews for CarMax (View Most Recent)

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  1. 13 people found this helpful  

    There's a reason the company is constantly hiring salespeople

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Columbus, OH
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Columbus, OH

    I worked at CarMax full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good initial paid training, benefits aren't bad. They seem to hire good people, they just can't keep them.

    Cons

    Terrible work / life balance, low pay for this industry, extreme micro-management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The idea that you can't manage something unless you measure it first can only be taken so far. Your salespeople are only paid when someone signs on the bottom line and leaves with a car, they don't get paid to attend meetings, spend hours each day updating their contact database, or emailing people because simply calling them on the phone number they've provided "doesn't count" according to Carmax corporate definitions. Either start paying your salespeople a salary plus commission, so they can justify gathering the reams of information they know is much more valuable to corporate than it is to them, or ease up on the micromanagement.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Disappointed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at CarMax full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Strong connection will get you to the next level. Was promoted in less than one years time.
    Family type atmosphere
    With a true Associate Engagement based LGM, you are empowered to drive change, be innovative and most importantly trusted to make the right decision until proven otherwise

    Cons

    Micro Managed to the point of scheduling events in a calendar and reading what we wrote in the body to make sure we know what we are doing. As a sales manager it is almost impossible to respect sales consultants time with customers and hold meetings, let a long the constant changes in your calendar from the LGM.
    In less than 2 years have cycled through 3 LGM's. No consistency amongst them in direction, expectations and training
    Have not seen a pay plan for my position after asking multiple times
    No road map or visual guide on what it takes to get to the next level. Its based on who you know and with the rapid change in LGM's.
    No credit based on experience that you bring to the table from previous years, masters degree, etc. Cookie cutter training and development that can be very demeaning. Done in effort to check the box.
    Too many customer returns for mechanical issues that affects sales consultant pay in lack of ability to work on a fresh sale. Also makes it difficult for the sales manager to hit the daily budget. Raised the concerns multiple times and the quality level has not improved.
    Pending LGM, Treating Associates With Respect, is either rock solid or based on that LGM's level of maturity. I have never worked for a company that mocks or laughs about other peoples mistakes out in the open. Your peers know better, but have been beaten down to accept it. Or unfortunately have no options for alternative work.
    To call in a sales manager on their scheduled day off for unsubstantial reasons (i.e. training that is not due for another 2 weeks) is unethical. Or even to call them in for floor coverage when there are already 5 sales managers on the floor, sends a strong message that you don't care about your staff. You are only nurturing your ego.
    I was an exceptional performing employee with exceptional results. I implemented out of the box programs that are in place now at other stores. With the lack in clarity on how to obtain my future goals, seeing the lack of support for my peers as well as the sales consultants on the floor, the inconsistent expectations, and low subpar bonus structure I had to leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a step back from the KMXU training and spend some hands on time at your stores to focus on the principles of people leadership, effective change management and associate engagement. You treat employees well, they will walk through fire for you. Focus on teaching your LGM's how to coach and develop. Hold your LGM's accountable to TAWR. Conduct an unannounced go and see so that you can see beyond the smoke screens and mirrors. Also, it takes too long to hold associates accountable for unethical behaviors. Foster an environment so that those that know what's happening in the store will speak up to protect the company, store and associates.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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