There are many common hiring mistakes managers make when making a sales hire. Below is a list of hiring mistakes we most frequently encounter.
Top Three Hiring Mistakes
- Emotionally involved – Hiring managers start liking or disliking a candidate too quickly. Remember this, some of your best future employee’s are average interviewers and some of your costly hiring mistakes will be the best candidate in the interview. If this is the case, maybe the interview is not very reliable??
- Too much emphasis on the “reference checking”. I am always amazed organization put so much weight on reference checking. Beware; very few people will give you the truth about a candidate, even if they don’t like them.
- Poor Interview process – How often do we see five managers following five different hiring process, and they are all from the same company? Very few audits are performed on hiring managers to see if they are following the hiring process
laid out for them.
Hiring Simulation Assessments or job simulations move hiring managers past the interview and
into experiencing a candidate – before a hiring decision is made.
Other Hiring Mistakes: Compensation
How many times have we seen clients spend a significant amount of time with a candidate and at the end of the hiring process they find that the compensation they want to pay and what the candidate wants is miles apart? Not good for everyone involved!!
Here are a few real quick hints to get your job offer right the first time.
Make a point of asking direct questions, regarding compensation, at the start of the hiring process. Don’t simply ask “what are you making now” but rather ask the following questions. “Tell me about your present compensation. Specifically, how it is broken down. What is the base pay and how, if any, are other variables (like bonus’s or commission) paid out? Now, don’t stop with their first answer. Go deep. Ask when they had their last compensation increase. The candidate may be looking for $85,000 but they just had an increase last month. Ask the candidate to be specific. Make sure you make clear notes on their answers.
Next question – ask the candidate what they are looking for in the role they are applying for. Many candidates will tell you they are looking for a “fair” offer. This is not good enough. You need to ask them to be specific. Tell them why you want to better understand their financial requirements. Explain that you do not want them to spend a significant amount of time with their hiring team and then find out there is a miss match in the amount that will be stated in the offer letter.
Finally, when you are ready to make an offer, contact the candidate review the offer letter and amount of the compensation. So often organizations want to send a letter of offer to a candidate with their fingers crossed, hoping the offer will accept the offer.
No matter what surveys tell us regarding how candidates view compensation compared to other variables, this is one area you want to get it right the first time.
Other Hiring Mistakes: The Cost of Hiring the Wrong Sales People
The cost of hiring mistakes in a sales department grows everyday while you keep someone who is not “cut out” for your business or working environment. During the sales recruiting effort and when you made the job offer, the team thought they had the right person for the sales job but after three months there is a strong feeling that the person hired is not going to work out. It is time to take action.
Trust me, the under-performing salesperson is likely aware that they are not meeting the requirements of the role to the same extent that you are. This is where you need to be honest and have a heart to heart discussion with your new sales rep. Sales performance is what really counts in a sales department. Without it your sales reps don’t make the money they are expecting and your department misses its sales objectives. When you hire a sales rep with a job simulation, you can drastically increase the success they will have on the job.
If you have provided the right training and support and the salesperson is not making their activity or sales numbers then it is time to thank them and ask them to look for work where they can be more fulfilled and reach the goals they have for themselves. I can’t tell you how many sales managers we have worked with over the years who, after they have had the “hard conversation” with the underperforming salesperson, has been thanked by the salesperson for helping them move on to other avenues in their career.
“This is not what I was hired for!” Another common Hiring Mistake
You made your hiring decision and have hired your newest sales person and everyone is happy. The new sales employee arrives on their first day to find that the job they were interviewed for is really not what they were expecting.
After only one week the new hire knows they have made a grave and costly hiring mistake. They would never have quit their previous company and taken the job had they known activities of the job and what the client was expecting from them.
There are two real costs that take place in this hiring scenario.
1. The first is the cost to the employee. Loss of sleep, a hiring gap on the resume, the potential of being let go and unemployed due to simply not fitting into the job are very real possibilities.
2. The cost to the employer is a little harder to calculate. In a case like this hiring mistake, the new sales employee may stay with their new employer over the next 6, 12 or 18 months while they seek a next opportunity – all the while not being fully engaged in their work. Instead of having a totally committed employee, the company is dealing with someone who is only giving the team partial commitment and effort.
Hiring mistakes cost everyone. Candidate’s lives are turned upside down and companies do not get full value from their new revenue generating team member.
Hiring Simulation Assessments (job simulations) provide a clear and concise way of ensuring everyone participant (client and candidate) are on the same page with regarding to executable items required on the job.
Accurate Hiring Practices
LinkedIn has some interesting related groups specifically dealing with the topics of accurate hiring practices, Cost of Hiring Mistakes, Cost of Turnover and Interview Mistakes. I am a member of a few of these groups and enjoy reading questions posted and the different level of responses back from readers. If you are planning on making a sales hire, we recommend you check out these groups, our blog posts, and read as much as possible to reduce the risk of making a hiring mistake of your own.
A few weeks back a graduating university student posted a question to the group on the topic of “putting structure behind the hiring process”. To me, it was not the question but the overwhelming response to the question that was the most surprising. At last count I believe there have been over 200 unique responses to this specific question.
What intrigued me the most about this posting is the passion organization and individuals have about getting the hiring equation right. Knowing the cost to the organization and individual candidates when a mistake takes place pushes people to look for new and innovative ways to minimize the hiring risk. Most companies and individuals want to do the right thing and get the hiring right the first time. Finding the right elements of the hiring equation is the tricky part.
Producing a hiring process that works is like trying to figure out a tough math problem. In many cases the answer comes after many mistakes and corrections. For most organization it takes time to figure out what is the right hiring process. The key is monitoring what your team is doing, what is working and what areas need to be modified and then continue to enhance your hiring practice.
Hiring mistakes and the cost associated to these hiring blunders can take a toll on everyone involved. When you hire a sales rep, managers and other key roles within a company can be a pretty risky adventure for most hiring managers. This includes the hiring team, hiring managers and candidates.