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While there is no perfect system that can guarantee you will hire the right person every time, there are fundamental guidelines you must follow if you expect to recruit your way to the top! (804 words)
Essentially, a sales manager’s primary job is to recruit, train and motivate their sales force. Of these three vitally important responsibilities, recruiting is the least understood and by far the most challenging. When you recruit the right person you will find that they are self-motivated and eager to train. On the other hand, if you hire someone that is not suited for the position, you will experience low morale, high turnover and find yourself constantly in the training mode. While there is no perfect system that can guarantee you will hire the right person every time, there are fundamental guidelines you must follow if you expect to recruit your way to the top!
Are you a buyer or a seller? It is critical for you to be selective during the interviewing process and not just hire a warm body to fill the position. What you are looking for is a hard working, self-motivated, team player. The vast majority of sales managers make the mistake of overselling the position, rather than interviewing for it. Their tendency is to lower their standards by painting the position in the most favorable light. By approaching the interviewing process with a buyer’s mentality, you are more likely to maintain your perspective and hire a long-term top producer. Consider throwing a few roadblocks and challenges in front of prospective hires, such as multiple interviews, to check their resolve and validate their interest. Buyers tell it like it is by emphasizing hard work and long hours. They advise potential hires that in the first year they can expect to work half days - but they get to choose which 12 hours they like best!
You will never see a bad resume. Buyers always check references and make sure they test for temperament suitability. Sales managers that lack the benefit of temperament understanding are inclined to shoot from the hip and place too much emphasize on their gut feeling during the interview. You would be fooling yourself not to anticipate that your prospective hire has been coached and is well prepared for a standard office interview. I suggest that one of your interviews be conducted in a social environment. When I was a sales manager, I would invite both my potential hire and their spouse out to dinner or to a sporting event. When you go to a ball game and crack peanuts for nine innings or play 18 holes of golf with someone, you gain a deeper insight into their character. When you are interviewing a person for a commission-based position, you need to check for spousal support and address their concerns as well.
Managers frequently ask which qualities are the most important to look for in a prospective hire and whether or not testing can identify these qualities? In my opinion, there are three mandatory qualities any new hire should possess and a good temperament evaluation will screen for them. The most important of these three qualities is loyalty. If a person is not loyal to their company, research indicates that they will not stick around very long. They are also more likely to violate company policies and procedures. The quality I look for after loyalty is dependability. It makes absolutely no sense to invest huge amounts of time and money training a person that you can’t depend on. The third and final quality that I screen for is natural ability. Research indicates that career incompatibility is the major cause of personnel discontentment and costly turnover. The hidden cost of excessive personnel replacement is often measured through a decrease in customer loyalty and retention. Simply put, I want to hire a person that has a temperament profile compatible with the job. For example, some people are born analytical with a temperament style that excels in administration and details. Others are more comfortable in a supportive role and are better suited to a customer service position rather than leadership or commission sales. The importance of matching the job description to the correct temperament style cannot be over stated. I strongly recommend that a temperament suitability evaluation be administered a few days prior to the interview. By implementing these hiring suggestions you will recruit your way to the top!
The following are some of my favorite questions to ask during the interview:
1. Do you have written goals you want to accomplish and if so, tell me about them?
2. How did you earn your first paycheck and how old were you?
3. What are your hobbies?
4. Have you ever played on a sports team?
5. Have you ever failed at something and if so, what did you learn from the experience?
6. What would you say are three of your best qualities?
7. What would you say is your worst quality?
8. What is your greatest regret and triumph in life?
John Boe, based in Monterey, CA, is recognized as one of the nation’s top sales trainers and motivational speakers. He helps companies recruit, train and motivate quality people. John is a leading authority on body language and temperament styles. To view his online Video Demo or to have John Boe speak at your next event, visit http://www.johnboe.com or call (831) 375-3668.