All aspects of recruitment are fraught with anxiety. If you’re fishing for a new person, how can you ensure that you’ll make the right choice and not land an expensive whale you can’t throw back in the water? If you’re a candidate, how do you get past the recruitment screening and into an interview to show an employer what you can do?
There’s an easy answer to both. A good process works for both employer and candidate. Good hiring process ensures the employer minimises the risk of making a whale of a mistake and allows the well credentialed candidate the opportunity to be seen.
First up, start by identifying that you do actually need a new sales person. Make absolutely sure that you’ve properly evaluated your current staff before starting on the expensive journey of recruitment. Check that you haven’t overlooked someone ready for a new opportunity; do you have someone who might suit the position if they had a bit of additional sales training? Consider all the options, because it’s always preferable to promote internally; it’s cheaper, the person is a known quantity who already knows your vision, values and ways of working.
You’ve considered all the options and you need another sales person. It’s vital to be clear about the role you’re offering. Sales roles are notoriously varied and if you’re not clear about what you need, you’ll attract unsuitable candidates who might be able to fudge their way into the position. Be very upfront about what the job is, what training is required, what experience is necessary and what skill set you’re looking for.
Always remember, the more you specify your requirements, the less candidates you’ll have to choose from. This is a good thing. You don’t have time to read CVs, take phone calls or conduct interviews with candidates who don’t have what you’re looking for when you’re running a successful business. A good candidate, the candidate you want, will always be responsive to a demanding job description because it is an indication of a successful, dynamic business. A business that knows where it’s going and knows what it needs to get there.
Be clear about why someone would want to work for you – hiring is a two-way street; the good candidate chooses you as much as you choose them. A lot of attention is paid to culture and its value in creating a positive working environment. Whether you think a lot, or a not at all, about your company culture, you do have one, and it’s a good idea to factor it into your recruitment process. If you operate a relaxed open style of working, attracting a highly competitive person will not be a good fit. Similarly, if your culture is fast paced, aggressive and meeting the world head on, a more collaborative person will struggle to fit in. Think about this and make sure it’s in your ad and job description; to be successful the new person must be a good fit with your existing culture.
Make your shortlist by comparing the candidates for training, experience and any other factors you consider important. Once you’ve nailed down it down to the final few, do a bit of checking. Don’t take anything at face value. Do the research, look into any inconsistencies, don’t overlook a clear misdirection in a CV, follow it up. An expression of interest and CV should never be taken at face value. Time spent verifying a candidate’s CV is time well spent.
So, you’ve shortlisted, you’ve verified, you’ve interviewed, you’ve picked a candidate who meets your requirements and they have a great attitude. What’s next? Make them an offer.
Following a good process makes the uncertainty of recruitment easier to navigate. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it will enable you to see what and where any missteps were made and enable you to tighten up your process for next time. Yes, there will always be a next time. Recruitment is a hazardous business that’s for sure, if only you could try before you buy, now there’s an idea!