The Importance of Making Good Hiring DecisionsSeptember, 14 2012
In our business, hiring the right people for our sales teams is critical to success. Jerry Scher wrote Don’t Hire People Just Like You and it reminds us to invest the proper time and energy into making the right hiring decisions.
He raises a good point about the cost of making a mediocre versus an outstanding hire: Look at the “performance differential.”
To do this, analyze the difference between your average sales person and your top-performing sales person. You can do this based on total revenue generation or on gross margins. If you’re getting a variance of 50 to 100 percent, this might get your attention. If one person can increase revenue performance by 50 to 100 percent, think how much a team of 3 to 6 or even more can do for your overall company performance.
Hiring your people is a subjective process and some of us are better at it than others. It’s not necessarily a skill we focused on when we decided to become leaders of a print business. The tendency, according to Scher, is to hire people whom you like, or who are similar to you. You obviously want a cultural fit and to be around people you get along with so this makes sense to a certain degree, but his premise is to be sure and hire people who are not like you and there are a few reasons for this.
- You want people on your team who have skills you don’t have.
- In your sales force, you want people who are dialed in for success.
How to assess eligibility
To make good hiring decisions, look beyond past performance and take a good look at behaviors and activities that will translate into future success.
Create a scoring system so you can compare candidates against each other and weigh the criteria appropriately. For example, qualifications might comprise 50 percent of the score. But be careful on this one. Qualifications don’t necessarily lend to success to the job at hand.
As our selling needs evolve with the industry, we need sales people who can build relationships, and sell a wider variety of services and products: Not just print, but multi-level products. They must also be knowledgeable about new technology and act as a consultant for clients.
An interview doesn’t always uncover these traits effectively. Candidates might have poor skills in the interview, or you might not be asking the right questions.
Create a system that digs deeper than the interview. Look at it as behavioral research. Prepare in advance by defining the job. Clearly establish the skills and behaviors you’d like to see to achieve success, and think about how to ask the questions to uncover these skills.
Too often, we don’t put in the time and effort to hire someone because it is an interruption to our daily routine. View it as an opportunity and understand the effect it has on your bottom line. It will more than likely change your approach.
Do you spend a lot of time on the hiring process? Do you have an established system in place?