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Sales Eye - How great companies recruit (Feb 14th, 2005)



How great companies recruit

14 February 2005


Our favorite business author, Jim Collins, says the best companies in the world have become great thanks to a handful of practices and principles which have guided them through the ages.



One of those principles is "creating the right team."


Collins writes, "we often hear 'people are our greatest asset' but that's wrong. Good people are your most important asset." Only when you have the right team can a company truly excel.


How many times have you hired a new sales rep, only to let him go six months down the road? This is your fault, not his. It means something went wrong in the recruitment process.


Choreograph your interviews

Great companies do not leave recruitment up to chance. They create systems that increase the odds of success. They do basic skills and personality testing.


They check references. And they choreograph the interview process.


Yes, choreograph. When a candidate makes the rounds in your company, is each manager basically asking whatever questions he or she wants? Have your managers ever received any interviewing skills training? Have they been presented with a list of suggested questions to test for? Have different managers been assigned to test for different strengths, weaknesses, skills and attributes?


In the great companies, the answer is a definitive yes. Maybe the HR manager tests for personality and culture fit with the organization. Another manager probes the candidate's work experience, while a third uncovers the candidate's creativity and problem-solving abilities. You can be sure they don't allow interviews to be wasted on "so, tell me about your last job."


Create your winning profiles

Each company needs to decide what it is looking for in a candidate. Get your managers in a room, and discuss what it takes to be successful in your business. Look at a profile of top performers and be analytical about it.


Draft a list of characteristics and traits that make them stand apart from the crowd.


When we did this, we were surprised to find that there wasn't one formula for success.


Some stars were natural-born salesmen, while others were more slow and steady. Some were successful because they were disciplined workhorses, and others because they had exceptional people skills. So we identified a handful of 'winning profiles'.


Organize the interviewers

The next step is to organize your interview. We require at least three interviews.


In this article, we aren't discussing advertising and candidate screening, which is critical. It's important that you don't waste your managers' time by having them interview candidates who are completely inappropriate for the job. Use your winning profiles to help you in the all-important screening process.


As discussed, have different managers test for different things. One HR professional suggests testing for: job knowledge, drive, sales ability, organization, judgment, pressure management, teamwork and business savvy. You need to decide what you want to test for in your field.


If you are on a mission to improve your business, and want to join the ranks of the 'great visionary companies' then the best place to begin is with the very next person you hire. She is your future.



From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"