Yesterday I was working with a client who needed to hire a few new sales people. He had asked me to help him since he was not pleased with the results of he previous searches. I asked, “Bob, what is your current process?” and here is what he said:
First, we place an ad in the Sunday paper telling about the benefits of the job and asking candidates to send in a resume.
Second, we sort through the resumes to find the best ones. We immediately toss out the ones with poor spelling or grammar.
Third, we call the best candidates and interview them on the phone and invite the best ones for a face-to-face interview.
Sound familiar. That’s the problem…
It’s all backwards!!!!!!
I asked, “Bob, are you hiring this person to write marketing materials for you?” Of course, his answer was no. “So why are you judging them on their resume first?” How many great sales people are rotten spellers? I am! How many great sales people are experts at presenting themselves professionally on paper? Very few!
Most sales people are hired to make phone calls and face-to-face sales calls. Their strength is in their ability to ask questions, determine needs, articulate value and build rapport. Little of that comes through in a resume.
So what should we do?
First, write an ad that defines the spirit and tenor of the job and not the pay package. The people you want are the ones that fit your company culture, not just the ones who want to cash your checks and use your medical plan.
Second, place the ad where good candidates are most likely to see it. If you don’t want the random crowd that often comes from the Sunday papers, get creative. Instead, try the business journals or trade publications that go to professionals or look for other niche publications. You might catch the eye of a successful person who was not even looking yet. We brainstorm this process with our clients to maximize results.
Third, ask them to call you. That’s right; ask them to make a sales call. You want to see how good they are at getting through to you. I have a policy of rejecting all of them just to see who has the character and skill to overcome the first rejection. You’ll be amazed how few do and how quickly it filters the pack.
Finally, invite them to your company for an interview. But rather than writing an agenda for their visit, ask them to write it. You want to see what they want to learn and what they value. You always have the option to add in steps that are important to you.
If you are reading this and are looking for a job, rewrite the process yourself. Refuse to send a resume until you have the opportunity to talk with the manager and understand the nature of the job. Let’s face it, your chances of winning the resume war is so slim that it’s not worth playing.
Google says that a great employee is worth 300 times the value of an average employee. I think they are on to something that justifies the time we should take to find the right person. The right approach may take more time, but it will certainly get you a better sales person.
If we can help you with your process, let us know. Our assessments will make the job even easier. We love to see the results of a great sales person in a great company!
Steve Waterhouse is Principal and Founder of Predictive Results (www.predictiveresults.com), a sales consulting and training company that helps companies dramatically increase their sales. He can be reached at 904-269-2299 or www.predictiveresults.com.