Modernization Comes to the Hiring Process
I have spent much of my career hiring people. As a sales manager, I wrote ads, screened applicants, conducted interviews and checked references. More often than not, I hate to admit, I made bad hiring decisions. There are some hires I made, though, that I am very proud—even to this day.
It used to be a pretty simple process. Place an ad in the Chicago Reader, a paper that was read by tens of thousands of young people living in the city. Sift through the dozens of resumes that came in, pick several of the best and interview those candidates. Then, pick the best of the best and hire that person. Finally, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
If I were a sales manager today, the process I used would be NOTHING like that one. And here is why this topic even occurred to me...I have a dear friend who is in the midst of an intensive job search. She has interviewed with many high-profile companies, the likes of Groupon, and has described some of their hiring practices to me. They are Intense, with a capital “I.”
Today she is having her SIXTH interview with most recent job she is going after. She has had phone interviews, interviews via Skype, group interviews—and, today, she will spend a minimum of four hours defending her resume line by line. I was stunned.
But here’s what started to dawn on me. Companies, in some ways, have gotten a lot smarter. They fully understand how much a new hire costs them and, more importantly, how costly a BAD new hire is. So they want to be sure. REALLY sure.
I have been contracted by companies coast to coast to help them find good sales people. Because almost every owner of every print shop I know, at one time or another, has lamented about how hard it is to find a great sales person today. And they are right.
Gone are the days (with a few exceptions) when a company can afford to spend two years training new salespeople and giving them all the tools to be successful. Getting a fresh graduate up to speed is tough. As for a seasoned print rep? Well, they just want a huge base and we all know that they RARELY—if ever—bring with them the book of business that they think they can.
So here is the takeaway. If you have not reviewed your hiring practices in the last few years, you should. You should evaluate everything—from where you place your ads and what tools you use to get the word out, to your applicant screening and interview process. And don’t forget references. I would NEVER hire someone if I could not speak to at least two people who worked with them and could tell me specific things about their talents and assets.
Be picky. Involve more people in the decision. And be critical. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head if you have reservations about a candidate, and do not move forward until you have any issues resolved to your satisfaction. Get help if you can’t handle this task on your own.
The same goes for non-sales roles as well. Be sure. Be as sure as you can. You are investing a lot of time, money and resources into these staff additions, and if you make good decisions, you will benefit. But, if you make bad ones, they can hurt you a lot.