Last week at the AED Small Dealers Conference in Charlotte Troy Harrison, speaker, author and founder of Sales Navigator consulting business gave a timely presentation entitled “Smart Hiring”. As you can imagine, it was well-received.
Troy is primarily a sales consultant, but through the course of his consulting work has come to understand the importance of hiring the right people. He was happy to share with the AED Conference group his “Smart Hiring” approach, which is based on 5 key elements.
Element #1 – Never hire from a pool of one.
In this tight labor market, it’s not uncommon to get few or no responses to your job postings. Troy warns against making hires based on availability, gut instinct, referrals from friends or merely because they were the only candidate who applied with industry experience. Although you may feel desperate as the work piles up, you’re better off continuing your search until more candidates surface.
Element #2 – Remain emotionally detached.
63% of all hiring decisions are made within the first 5 minutes of meeting the candidate, making it impossible for you to weigh the candidate’s experience and potential objectively and compare them to other suitable candidates. Hiring is multi-dimensional, and just because you like the person doesn’t mean they are a good fit for the job.
Element #3 – Spot the red flags.
Troy says people will show or tell you how they will fail, you just need to pay attention. Red flags include things like bad-mouthing a former employer or coworker, leaving jobs due to disagreements, gossiping, interrupting, showing up late…the list goes on. It’s important to keep an eye out not discount this type of behavior, especially if many different red flags show up in the course of the interview process. More on this below.
Element #4 – Use a winning process.
Speaking of the interview process…Troy’s process includes 5 phases:
1) Build a wide candidate pool. (Reference Element #1)
2) Conduct a simple resume screen. Look for reasons to not advance a candidate to an interview (again, Element #5). Reasons to advance a candidate would include 3 out of 5 years at the same job, related job experience and examples of accomplishments.
3) Interviews (both resume oriented and behavioral). Everyone tells a story with their resume. Ask detailed questions and focus on specifics, including measurements, rankings, performance against KPIs, etc. Again, look for red flags. A good rule of thumb is if they can quantify it, explain how they did it, or prove it, the accomplishment really happened. Use behavioral interviewing to match past job situations and actions with likely future situations. A good behavioral question is “Tell me about a time when you…”.
Again, ask for details. You want to hear what the person actually did in that situation, not what they would have done. The best answers follow the STAR method: Situation/Task/Action/Result.
4) Due diligence. Do reference checks, confirm education credentials, run a criminal background check, driving report, social security verification, contact past employers and check social networks. Troy also mentioned credit reports should be used with caution these days because they can open you up to litigation. Be sure to check your local jurisdictional guidelines and have a valid reason to do a credit check (for example, the role includes fiduciary responsibility).
5) Third Party Assessment. Troy recommends you invest in your best candidates by using an outside company to conduct an assessment. This will help you with Element #2 (Remain emotionally detached.)
Element #5 – Seek to exclude first. Then include.
Remember that it is a privilege to work for your company, even in a tight labor market. The five phases in Troy’s process will help you, so don’t skip them.
Troy Harrison has worked with teams in 23 different countries and written and published two books (“Sell Like You Mean It” and “The Pocket Sales Manager”). For more information, contact him through his website.