Like many business owners and sales managers right now, there’s a strong initiative to recruit new talent that can drive sales during these more challenging times. Companies are scrambling to find more rainmakers rather than order-takers to build out their sales team – and the line of disparity continues to widen between the two, as many salespeople are struggling to keep up and make the necessary and rapid changes needed in their sales process and strategy, as well as in how they think in order to adapt to and thrive in this new marketplace.
Yet, as I’ve observed with several of my clients, diligent recruiting efforts and putting the hours in each day to find the right candidates is simply not enough, as I see many companies continue to make the wrong hiring decision. Sure, they’re asking many of the right questions, doing their best to disqualify each candidate in their effort to avoid being seduced by potential or ‘being sold’ on a candidate who in your heart you know isn’t the best fit. They even tell me that they hear my voice in their head when interviewing a candidate (gee, that could be a scary thing 🙂 saying, “Remember, hire from choice. Don’t hire out of need. Don’t compromise your standards. A mediocre hire breeds a mediocre sales team.”
While any business owner, HR professional, recruiter or sales manager can be hyper-sensitive to this, it’s still not enough to ensure the best hire. After all, if a candidate tells you during the interview process that they’re used to calling on a certain type of prospect or have no problem making cold calls and then when you hire them you come to find that they’re reluctant or unwilling to pick up the phone or are unable to cold call as effectively as they told you they could, where did you miss the mark? Where was the sign; the red flag?
One manager I spoke with readily admitted that even though they are doing their best to stay true to the standards and expectations they have regarding the caliber of people they hire, he realized that he was still asking questions that were leading the candidate to where he wanted them to be. That is, he was asking the questions that would give him what he wanted to hear, thus justifying his hiring decision. Here are two examples of the leading questions managers unknowingly ask that cause them to make the wrong hire – and into the depths of recruiting hell. “So, you don’t mind having to pick up the phone and make some cold calls each day?” “This position is for people who are team players, organized, motivated and are open to learning our way of selling that may be a bit different from the way you’ve done things in the past. Can you share with me some of the qualities you possess that you feel would make you successful here?”)