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I always enjoy reading articles that expose things I don't know about topics I enjoy, like 7 Unsung Built-in Gems in Mac OS X. I had the opportunity to provide that kind of training to a dozen or so sales leaders on some of the less obvious findings and relationships in Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments and how to use them. We also discussed which of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure were pertinent to their different sales roles and why. One of the regional sales managers asked, "What are the 5 Biggest Mistakes that Sales Managers Make When Recruiting Salespeople?"
While that question is quite easy to answer, most companies, including their recruiters, HR professionals, sales leaders and executives are guilty of some or all of the following 5 mistakes:
- Their job posting fails. Most sales job postings all read the same. Great job, great company, great opportunity, great benefits, blah, blah, blah. And even if you are using the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment on the planet, it won't help at all if your job posting lures the wrong candidates into the pool. Describe the candidate along with the experiences you hope they had and the capabilities they must have to succeed in your role.
- They wait too long to assess their candidates. If you wait to assess until after you have interviewed, you won't embrace the findings and recommendation on the assessment unless they support how you feel about the candidate. If you already fell in love with the candidate and the assessment says "Not Recommended" and you ignore the recommendation it will lead to a hiring mistake. Assess every candidate immediately after you receive their online application or resume and then you won't accidentally ignore a candidate whose resume suggests a bad fit but whose assessment scores suggest a very capable salesperson for the role.
- They don't properly on board. They say, "We're using the best assessment and the salesperson was recommended so she should know what to do." Wrong. Every new salesperson deserves proper on boarding so that you can prepare them for success instead of setting them up for failure.
- They don't thoroughly interview the candidate. It doesn't have to be a long interview but it needs to be thorough. You need to dig deep behind every resume claim to separate fact from fiction. Here are the top 5 examples of claims that sound great but actually turn out to be bogus when you learn about the all important context (in parentheses) for the claim:
- Top salesperson (out of 2)
- President's Club (for all salespeople who hit 75% of quota)
- Grew annual sales in territory by 200% (from $40,000 to $120,000)
- Doubled size of the territory in the first year (closed one big deal that was in the pipeline when he arrived)
- Uses words like developed, initiated, led, created, or built in reference to sales programs (did not actually sell anything).
- They don't set expectations, coach to those expectations and hold the salesperson accountable for achieving those expectations in the first 90 days.
These five mistakes are easy to correct and then companies will experience far greater success and consistency with their new sales hires. In most cases, the only thing preventing companies from making these changes is the self-limiting belief that "we've always done it this way."