Part 2: Hiring the Best Sales Talent: Lessons from the NFL Draft
Adding to your sales team with people who are the perfect fit can be challenging. In the conclusion of this two-part series we continue to explore the seven objectives to effectively recruiting and hiring for your business.
In the first part of this two-part series, we covered three specific objectives needed to create a proven recruiting, hiring and induction system.
Objective No. 1: Win the talent war to achieve your growth goals.
Objective No. 2: Develop a sales candidate profile that guides your interview team.
Objective No. 3: Attract and recruit a large pool of applicants to improve your chances of finding the right person.
Here’s a look back at Part 1.
The remaining four steps must help you find the best candidates who can do the sales job and meet your business growth expectations.
So, back to the NFL for a minute: Imagine yourself as the director of player personnel and you have completed all the steps for a successful NFL draft. All of your competitors are represented in the room. National TV crews, analysts and sports media are everywhere. The first-round candidates and families are in the “Green Room.” Loyal fans are in the room dressed and ready to go. Your Draft Room is manned and ready back at the team facility.
Everyone—owners, management, existing players, the press and fans—are all ready to give their immediate critique of each and every pick made that first night.
Now you and your team must evaluate, screen/sort and prioritize many talented candidates who have applied for your sales opportunity. The best hiring processes use a score sheet with a profile that details the proven skills, attitude and behaviors that fit your needs.
During your version of a “Combine” or “Pro Day,” the “Score Sheet” guides each interviewer as they grade the skills, competencies, traits and characteristics you desire.
Your disciplined interview process needs to help win the talent war and take the best candidate “off the market.”
Now that you’re caught up. Let’s move on to Objective No. 4.
Objective no. 4: Conduct out-of-the-box interviews, assessments and ranking
If you are going after the best talent your business needs, your assessment and interview process needs to help you find the best talent you can afford. The hiring process will never be perfect but needs to be rigorous enough to give you the level of confidence that your selection actually can do the job you require.
The interview process must go beyond the resume, LinkedIn profile and background check. This is not about how well they can sell to you, it is about how well they are willing to successfully sell for you. You must uncover how a candidate behaves in the real life situations your team faces. The challenge is to find the ones who will sell and win for you.
Your interview process and team must help assess and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates. It may not be practical to recreate real-life situations but think about past business trips and coaching rides with sales people. What did you learn, what did you like and what concerned you during these trips?
On your score sheet, your team needs to assess the required level of skills, experience and behaviors that fit your needs and allow them to be successful after initial training.
Interviewers should uncover the candidate’s skills and experience to determine if the person is “ready for Prime Time” in the role you desire. The interviewers must also uncover some unique advantages the candidate brings that you can leverage to your benefit. Consider the following questions:
- Do they have the intelligence and creativity—how smart are they in real-world situations? How do they solve complex problems in chaotic environments? Do they display strong character, integrity and work ethic? Do they act and behave as a leader without title or position? Are they humble and self-aware and take responsibility to lead and make timely decisions where they are while challenging others to achieve desired results?
- In business, professional and social situations are they prepared to and capable of taking advantage of opportunities we present now and in the future? Can you rely on their proven background of respect, values, behaviors, personality and ability to fit into your culture? Do they have potential to take on increased responsibility in the future?
- Are they dependable? Can you trust them to make good decisions? Are they dedicated to the craft and profession? Do they show up prepared and ready and are open to feedback, coaching and change?
- Are they tough and resilient? Do they have the competitive intensity you need when they have to think on their feet in unfamiliar or stressful situations?
Objective no. 5: Develop a short list of qualified applicants to anticipate your offer conversion percentages.
As the interviews progress, do you have enough qualified applicants to begin to make decisions? Do any of the candidates bring benefits you had not considered? Did you learn anything about your compensation and benefits that needs to be resolved? Do you have to continue recruiting?
Objective no. 6: Prepare your “Draft Day” board to make the offer. Assess and screen your short list of applicants to make sure that you’re making an appropriate match. Who is number 1? Develop your list of the best available talent and prepare for the offers, some rejections and the negotiations and acceptance.
Objective no. 7: Finalize the acceptance and onboarding.
Good news! Your offer has been accepted and now it is time for a successful transition.
A successful onboarding program helps everyone get off to a great start and succeed in their assigned role. This is an opportunity to ensure new employees are aware of the company’s expectations and the tangible and intangible benefits that are available to them. Topics include:
- An introduction to the company and its policies, benefits and benefit resources available to them, including job specific training and career development
- An introduction to the culture, values and history of the company and the industry
- A tailored and rapid development agenda to get them “ready for Prime Time” and set them up to achieve early success
- Employee and department performance expectations, including the importance of the culture, respect for customers, vendors and each other in the workplace
Congratulations! You hired a well screened person that fits your needs. Your talent recruiting and hiring process helped you win this part of the talent war. A disciplined and well-executed hiring process can help you transform your company and take it levels you did not dream.
Wayne Bergman is a business and executive coach and founder of Consistent Business Growth. Questions or comments about this piece?
Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org