Ponder for a moment the last employee you hired. After you hired them, did they work out as you had intended? Or did they turn into somebody completely unlike what you thought when you initially interviewed them for the position? The most important aspect of any business is recruiting, choosing and retaining top caliber sales people. Research shows that those organizations who spend more time recruiting high-caliber sales people earn a 22% higher return for shareholders than their industry peers.
However, most employers do a miserable job of recruiting and selecting sales people. Many organizations rely on dated and ineffective recruiting, interviewing and hiring techniques. Many times this critical responsibility gets the least emphasis.
Hiring and interviewing is both art and a science. Negating to improve this vital process will almost always guarantee that you will spend time and money hiring and training the wrong people.
Here are several explanations why traditional recruiting techniques are inadequate:
- The majority of applicants “exaggerate” to get a job
- Two out of three hires show to be a bad company fit within the first year on the job
- Most hiring decisions are made by the interviewer’s intuition during the first two minutes of the interview
- Most interviewers are not appropriately trained nor do they like to interview candidates
- Excellent employees are misplaced within the company and grow exasperated in jobs where they are unable to utilize their strengths
Hire the best and avoid the rest.
Cisco CEO John Chambers said,
“A world-class engineer with five peers can out produce 200 regular engineers.”
Instead of waiting for the right people to apply for jobs, top companies are spending more time looking for high-caliber people. An effective recruiting, selection and interviewing process should follow these five steps:
Step 1 — Prepare. Before the interview make sure you understand the key features of the job. Develop a simple outline that covers all of the job duties. If possible, work with the team member currently in the role or people familiar with the role to understand what the job is about. Screen the applications and resumes to gain information and insight for the interview. Prepare and standardize the questions you’ll ask each applicant.
Step 2 — Purpose. Talented sales people have multiple options and job opportunities to choose from. The interviewer will help to form the applicant’s first impression of the company. Not only are you trying to decide the best applicant, but you also have to persuade the applicant that your company is the best place for them to work.
Step 3 — Performance. Identify the knowledge, characteristics, and sales skills the applicant needs for professional success. If the job requires a special education or licensing, be sure to include it on your requirement list. Identify the top seven competencies or attributes the job requires and structure the interview accordingly. Some of these characteristics might include:
- What authority will the person have to hire, fire and discipline others, and establish performance goals?
- What financial authority, responsibility, and control the person will have.
- What decision-making authority the person will have.
- How has this person been held accountable for the performance objectives of their sales team or organization?
- The penalties they will be responsible for when mistakes are made.
Step 4 — People Skills. The hardest skill to determine and the most important part of the process is recognizing the people skills a person brings to the job. Each applicant wears a “mask.” A good interviewing and selection process discovers who’s behind that mask and decides if a match exists between the person and the job. By understanding the applicant’s personality type, motivation, and values, you’re guaranteed to improve your hiring and selecting process.
Clearly many jobs, particularly sales jobs, require plenty of people contact. By placing someone in this position who doesn’t like to interact with others would be a mistake and will eventually affect his or her job performance.
Pre-employment profiles are an important part of the hiring process for a growing number of companies. By using personality profiles and behavioral assessments organizations can quickly determine how the individual will interact with their fellow coworkers, their ability to sell and what kind of relationships they’ll build with clients. They provide an accurate analysis of an applicant’s attitude and behaviors that would otherwise be left to the subjective judgment of the interviewer. The D.I.S.C. Assessment and the Sales Attribute Index are popular and useful tools many sales organizations use. Ask us for a copy of review
Step 5 — Process. The best interview follows a structured and organized process. This doesn’t mean the entire process is unyielding without spontaneity. What it does mean is that each applicant is asked the exact same questions and is scored on a consistent rating system. A structured approach helps to avoid bias and gives every applicant a fair chance. The best way to achieve this is by using behavioral based and situational questions.
Behavior Based Questions
Behavioral based questions help to determine and evaluate the applicant’s past behavior, initiative, and judgment.
Some examples include:
- Describe a crisis that one of your clients encountered and how you managed it.
- Give me an example when you . . .
- Tell me about the largest sales project you attained and how you managed it?
- Tell me about the last time you broke the rules and what happened?
- What makes you a successful sales person and why?
Situational Based Questions
Situational based questions evaluate the applicant’s ability, judgment, and knowledge. The interviewer first gives the applicant a hypothetical situation similar to:
“You’re a sales manager, and a member of your sales team isn’t meeting their goals.”
- How many options do you have?
- What should you do?
- What additional information should you find?
Let us know if you need assistance in finding the “Right Fit Candidate”