A friend of mine always told me that hiring potential super stars is much like dating.You can interview (or date) someone for the next six months, but until the day you hire him or her and the person starts working in your office (the day your date eventually cohabitates with you), you really don't know what you have.
To a certain degree, I agree with my friend. Still, there are things you can do to make sure that, if you're going to get married to (or hire) him or her, you limit the uncertainties of what you're going to get. In our industry, with 80-90 percent first-year attrition failure ratios, top recruitment experts say that if your success ratio in hiring people who develop into the second year is 50 percent, you are considered a genius.
My mandatory goal as a day-to-day sales manager was to achieve an 80-percent success ratio with new hires. Here are six criteria to use in the hiring process, along with the significance you should apply to each one. To get 80-percent retention, you want your checklist below to add up to 80 percent, which gives you very little room for error.The percentages below show the level of importance to attach to each criteria.
The Resume' (5%): This is the lowest of all criteria. After all, whom would you hire based on a resume': a Eureka College graduate or a polished attorney? The polished attorney, right? Wrong. The Eureka College graduate, Ronald Reagan, won the 1980 U.S. presidential election over polished attorney Walter Mondale. Anyone, or almost anyone, can put together a great resume'.
Personnel Assessments (20%): This is not the end-all of recruitment, and you certainly wouldn't want to base your entire hiring decision on a personnel profile. Still, with a thorough personnel assessment, you can determine a prospective employee's thinking style, numeric ability and verbal skills, along with behavior traits and occupational interests, to make sure you have the right job match. It's worth the money you invest in these assessments, as long as you don't use them as a crutch for hiring.
Presentation (15%): How do you know whether candidates will perform well in pressure-packed situations? How are their presentation skills? Ask your candidates to make a 15-minute presentation to your current sales staff. If candidates can make it through that, they can make it through almost anything.
Interview With Your Senior People (15%): After all, your top reps won't "blue-sky" the candidate. In addition, your top people will quickly identify the ones who will fit into their team (and it is their team).
Check References (20%): You can check the names they give you, but this deck is stacked. Who would give you names of people who would throw them under the bus? Call people or competitors they did not give you. Find out what people other than their biggest fans think of them.
Take Candidate Into The Field (25%): Spend the day with the candidate.You will find out more about their level of energy and their listening skills than anything else you can do. Don't have them ride with your salespeople; this must be done with the sales manager!
Now, add up the scores! If candidates check out in a category, give them the full percentage. Eighty percent or better gives you the go-ahead. Now here's the critical question: How many of you will really evaluate these six areas? Those who do will see a marked change in the retention of first-year sales reps, who are your future and your job security.