Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while thinking that its efficacy would get better and better as the economy and job market failed to recover at the pace that the economists thought (hoped) it would. It looks like my hunch was right.
Nine months ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Only the Employed Need Apply“. The premise of the article was that many employers were only interested in talking to people who were already employed – even if the candidate who had applied had lost their job even after performing at a high level.
Bobby Fitzgerald, a partner in five restaurants in three states, says these days he gets two dozen or more unsolicited résumés each day at one of his Phoenix restaurants, the White Chocolate Grill. But Mr. Fitzgerald says his top candidates, for jobs ranging from servers to management, usually are people who are employed elsewhere. He currently has 50 openings across his five restaurants and has told recruiters to bring in only people who are working.
When you consider that in March 2010 our unemployment rate is still on the precipice of 10% and the average time that someone is unemployed is still over 1/2 of a year, it would appear that Business Leaders like Bobby Fitzgerald aren’t alone.
At Hire Better, we’ve seen a significant up-tick in the number of clients who want us to assist them in hiring salespeople. For those salespeople who we see as applicants, the statistics are NOT in their favor if they’re applying for a role in which Hire Better is involved. Here’s what we’ve found:
In a typical hiring cycle, assuming that we have 100 people to consider for a role:
- 82-85 will be Direct Applicants
- 12-15 will be People who are “headhunted” or from our Network
- 1-3 will be Referrals from internal employees at the client company
When we get down to the Top Three Finalists, they’ll look like this:
- 1 Direct Applicant
- 1 “headhunted” Candidate
- 1 Referral
And when the finalist is hired: The chance of the Direct Applicant goes DOWN exponentially as the salary and responsibility goes UP.
For a Sales role, the prospects of a Direct Applicant are even WORSE. The same statistics will apply to the Candidate pool as before but I have to expand the pool to 5 people when you look for Finalists:
- 1 is a Direct Applicant
- 3 are “headhunted”
- 1 is a Referral
And when this is the case, the Referral has more than a 50% chance of getting hired and the Direct Applicant has less than a 10% chance. In the case of sales candidates – I believe these stats are just about right. And they’re justifiable! If you’re considering hiring an unemployed salesperson or sales manager, you should be asking yourself “Why would a good salesperson be unemployed?”
If you have a 12 month sales cycle and an 8 month learning curve, it will take nearly 2 years to get your new salesperson producing consistently. In that 2 years, maybe you’ll pay out close to $150,000 in subsidies.
Using your average margin, how much revenue must be gemerated to offset that subsidy?
How much revenue must be generated to produce a satisfactory ROI?
How long must the salesperson stick around in order to produce that ROI?
To bring it all back together, if a prospective sales candidate (who, for the sake of this blog post is unemployed) has found him/herself in a new sales role every 2-3 years, what are the odds that anyone who is hiring them is going to experience a positive ROI?
When we look at candidates through this lens we find it’s a lot easier to not find ourselves getting “sold” during an interview by someone who has all kinds of great excuses for why “things just didn’t work out” at that last job they were in…
Tags: A-Player, A-Players, bad hires, Baseline Selling, challenges of hiring salespeople, Dave Kurlan, hire better, hiring, hiring manager, Interview, Kurlan, mediocre salespeople, Objective Management Group, recruit don't absorb, Recruiting, recruiting salespeople, Salespeople, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, virtual bench
At American Workforce we have a number of partners who look to our processes to help their clients with talent assessment and acquisition. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the companies they introduce us to have been trying to utilize basic recruiting aspects of what an advisor of mine calls, “smoke and hope-ium”.
An example: just last week I was talking with a company that shared with me that while they weren’t urgently needing to acquire sales talent, they’d happily hire an A-Player if they fell in their lap.
Landing A-Players doesn’t just happen. Even in an economy where as much as 20% of the labor force is unemployed, 4 out of 5 people are still working. What’s more, the people that you likely want to help grow your organization are kicking butt for their current employer. They aren’t going to show up on your doorstep, unannounced, and ask where their cubicle is for when they start working the next morning.
Adam Robinson is a colleague and friend of mine in Chicago. He’s got a tremendous blog called Better Hiring Today and we agree on a lot of things. He recently completed a 4 part series on the challenges associated with hiring salespeople. While we don’t use the same nomenclature or verbiage, we’re saying nearly the same thing. Here are some highlights on some common sales recruiting difficulties:
- Great salespeople are always in demand and unless you’re recruiting, you’re probably fishing in an overstocked pond of mediocre talent that is looking to jump ship before their resume takes a hit for lack of productivity.
- Mediocre Salespeople are A-Players at “selling themselves”. I couldn’t agree more. What complicates this is the fact that many Entrepreneurs are salespeople at their core and there’s no one easier to sell than a fellow salesperson.
- Great salespeople are the product of an environment. Adam touches on a good point but I think that he skims the surface and doesn’t dig deep enough on this particular topic given its significance. Many of you have seen me write about Dave Kurlan and his methodologies before. Dave has gone deeper, a lot deeper, into understanding both the environment where success was achieved by a salesperson as well as the dynamics of what they had to sell. Here are some examples of those dynamics:
-What was the average value of the product or sale?
-Who inside of an organization were they selling to: Purchasing? Finance? CEO?
-How many calls did it take, on average, to win new business?
-How did the price of the product they were selling compare to its competition? Were they the lowest priced? Highest?
-What was the quality of the product or service they were selling? Was it a Kia or a Lexus? What’s your company sell?
Getting back to the title: Where does top talent live? They live everywhere but they’re not hiding. They’re friends with the teller at the bank person who went the extra mile during your last visit, they have the season tickets next to you at the Opera or Stadium, they’re married to the guy you play softball with. If you don’t have your eyes open and act as your company’s biggest billboard for WANTING to talk to the best talent you’ll probably miss all of the subtle clues around you.
Tags: 20% unemployment, A-Players, adam robinson, always recruiting, Better Hiring Today, challenges of hiring salespeople, company billboard, Dave Kurlan, hire, hiring, mediocre salespeople, Objective Management Assessment Test, OMG, recruit don't absorb, Sales Talent, smoke and hope-ium, talent assessment, top talent