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  • Jerry Phillips

You need a hiring process tool!

“We don’t have a large workforce, and we don’t have a lot of turnover. I think it’s a waste of our time and money to build a recruiting process.” My friend, the VP of Sales and Marketing, relayed the words of the CEO when he proposed creating a process to recruit, interview, hire, and develop their sales and marketing team. I was surprised to hear it when he called. The CEO is a forward looking individual and he has guided his family company through a steady period of growth. What the VP was proposing was to build a consistent process for future expansion. He too, was a forward-thinking individual and one of most humble leaders I’ve met. His teams have always performed exceptionally. He is a process guy, but strong on the relationships as well. His team loves him. He was looking at the growth curve and he believed he needed to plan for additional associates.

When I received the call, the conversation was about the selling processes we were working on. Mike came around to the stiff arm on the CEO conversation as more of an afterthought. When we talked through it, I realized that they faced the same situation that most small to mid-size businesses felt. We are too small to worry about building a process to recruit. It is too infrequent for us.

I was talking to another VP of Sales friend of mine yesterday and when I shared the experience with him, he had some great input. “Large companies can make a mistake hiring and the effect is muted because of size. Small companies may have three sales leaders with ten sellers each. If they miss on a hire it can have an adverse effect on thirty percent of their business.”

In building a process for finding talented people for your business, no matter what the size of your company is, you decrease the risk of making a poor hire. Once you create the process, you can create consistency no matter how infrequent you bring new people to the team.

The Process:

I’d suggest the entire process is to recruit candidates, interview candidates, select the best candidates. Sounds simple, but there are details. I’d suggest you start in the middle of the process and work both directions.

1. What is your interview process?

a. Who interviews the candidates?

b. What are you looking to understand about the candidates in each interview?

c. What is the time frame you work the candidates through?

2. What are you looking for in the candidate?

a. What are the skills needed?

b. What are the values of your company that the candidate must align with?

c. What is the aptitude of the candidates?

3. Once you interview the candidates and you have narrowed your focus to the final two, what now?

a. How do you determine/test if they fit with the role you are hiring them for?

b. How to you check references to truly determine if they are the right candidate?

We have a client who initially based their hiring decisions on knowledge of the product and experience in the business. It sounds great, but they had several people they had hired with that as the profile and they did not have an aptitude for selling. After struggling for six months, and not producing in the sales role, they moved one individual back into operations. Two weeks later they lost a good operations employee, because they had moved him into sales when he didn’t have the aptitude.

Mike and I talked through the process and I shared the stories of my clients who had improved their hiring through building the process we outlined. He, in turn walked his CEO through the conversation again. He was able to convince the CEO of the benefits. They have since added three new sellers and one product manager. All four are well aligned with the values of the company and they are producing, and growing revenue through taking market share. Mike is too humble to take credit for the success of the process, but he should. It is well deserved.

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