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Why Performance-Based Recruiting Produces Top Sales Performers
Many recruiting ads and job descriptions include "knockout factors" that can actually screen out qualified sales candidates. One example is a requirement that candidates have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, or a degree in a specialized field of study such as Engineering. Another example is a requirement that candidates have a minimum number of years of sales experience.
When my customers' recruiting ads and job descriptions include these types of knockout factors, I like to have a little fun with them. I say something like:"(Name), imagine that I have two candidates for your sales job opening. One of them has both the college degree and the five years of sales experience that are listed as minimum requirements in your recruiting ad. The other candidate doesn't have a college degree, and she only has two years of sales experience. But, she has relationships with dozens of C-level executives that are good prospects for your company's products and services. She could easily book fifteen appointments during her first week on the job. Which candidate would you prefer?"As you might expect, my customers always choose the candidate with the relationships. That is when I have to deliver the bad news:"(Name), unfortunately you will never see this candidate, because she is being screened out by your knockout factors!"If you want to improve the overall quality of your sales candidate pool, shift your focus away from education and experience and toward performance-based measures. How will you measure your new salespeople's performance during their first thirty, sixty, ninety, and 180 days? What activities will you expect them to perform? What results will you expect these activities to produce, and in what time frame?
Here is an outline for a recruiting process that focuses on performance-based factors:
If you ask performance-based questions and clearly outline your expectations for new hire sales performance, you will attract fewer poor candidates, as some will de-select themselves. You will also attract more strong candidates, as they will no longer be screened out by invalid "knockout factors". The end result will be a steady improvement in the overall quality of your sales organization.
Copyright 2005 -- Alan Rigg
Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. To learn more about his book and sign up for more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit http://www.8020performance.com.
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