Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hire Smart: Know How to Identify Good Employee Imposters!

Hiring Great Sales People and Learning How to Smoke Out Impostors and Those Who Will Give You Great Excuses and Mediocre Results (Except for when they make the big sale and get you to hire them….THEY got the result THEY wanted).

Find Those Who Have a Track Record of Success in a Variety of Situations.
You can frequently plot their trajectory!  

You don’t really want to end up with just a “great interviewer. Your next great hire requires you to be a savvier buyer.”   By Patty DeDominic – Coach to Leaders


Why do some people have such trouble hiring Real Sales Producers?
Most sales candidates are great at interviewing ... but lack what it takes to handle your job with its imperfections. Some skip from sales job to job by being great interviewers, but not necessarily great performers. You don’t want to do that with your hires….You want to find those who will take your raw materials and leverage your strongest points as an employer.

Find and Hire the ones who can sustain their performance, not just “close” you!  

We want to hunt for the evidence and the track record, to find the “Blue Ribbons” in their lives and careers, the actual accomplishments. 

Let me say that again… a track record (different than simply experience, potential or representations) gives us data to find the best person for our situation. 

The right sales hire will most likely find our sales opportunity a continuation of a life of accomplishment.  This learning and growing probably started in school – having learned from life’s lessons, other people and in their previous professional experiences (jobs, business and extracurricular).  A little searching can help you find their gold, bronze and silver medals. It is not usually a deep dig to find evidence of  their experiences, setbacks, lessons learned and real numbers. Get specifics. Yes, Trust, but Verify specifics and look for answers to the potential contradictions between their perception and reality. We all have those contradictions. I’m not trying to help you hire perfection here; that does not exist, but I do want you to be able to predict performance and manage "superstar mere mortals" to catalyze sales growth for your company.     

Portrait of an Impostor
·         They’re usually good people ... and they aren’t really lying to you….. 
·         They may tell you what they know, and most people can recite common sense. They can usually answer hypothetical questions. Most people “know” the right things…. But getting to what they will actually do when faced with our job realities, our prospects, concerns, and real objections and challenges is a whole other story. Their past tells much of the story of their future. To smoke out impostors, get specific: Get numbers, not just percentages, and verify results and the roles they played.

Some sales candidates are accomplished at Getting the Job…they know they are talking to a willing buyer, and they leverage their persuasive powers to make the sale with you. Sadly, sometimes it’s the best (and the last) sale they will make this year.   

Are they lying? They don’t usually think so. They may actually believe their intelligence and work ethic alone qualify them for the job... even when they lack specific experience.

How Impostors “Sell’ Us
·         Urgency makes you feel you must find a candidate – ANY candidate! – to fill the job right now.
·         Impatience and frustration can rush you into a bad decision.
·         A candidate might seem perfect ... and you’d love that to be true. (Even a poor salesperson can sniff out a willing buyer and push them towards the easy decision).
·         You don’t want to ask tough questions and trip him or her up.
·         If you do, you’ll have to START ALL OVER AGAIN with another candidate.

Your secret weapon to smoke out impostors
·         Don’t focus too much on “inputs” like education, years of unrelated experience or past sales training (these are all features for you to note, but not true benefits).

·         Identify the OUTCOMES you want from the job and ask questions dealing with the specifics of the job to be performed. 
·         You can trust, but verify the specifics in at least two places.
·         Drill down to learn details about the candidate’s performance in past jobs, and if they truly have the skills and drive needed to succeed in your position.  Impostors will crumble and real candidates for your job will eagerly share specifics.
·         Yes, Chemistry and cultural fit are important, but it is amazing what RESULTS and Performance can do for relationships.

Start by finding the person with the past record of results and growth. History is very likely to repeat itself with a willing “student” and the right environment/employer.

Checking References is an Art and Science of Due Diligence

It is also a tool for recruiting and gathers data, which can be used in managing the winning candidate.  

Remember that all con men can give you at least two “good references” so you will need to find other evidence of the accomplishments and the facts that you have been given. 

After you get specifics from the candidate, not just hypotheticals….. Verify the data/ facts.

Verify accomplishments, dates and roles from several sources. Sniff out contradictions and use care not to overlook them just because you really love the chemistry with the candidate.

Treat every Key Representation like a fact that needs to be verified (Think loan underwriter – why do you think they need several sources and verify so much?).  Spot checking certain key facts generally will save you from verifying every item on a resume.   

Social media and Linked In really helps background checkers. Google and internet searches can help confirm if that candidate really did get great results for their company since there will be news reports of company growth, individual awards, certificates and other proof.  

I hope you find these tips useful.  I learned them the hard way hiring over 250,000 people as we grew PDQCareers and CT Engineering, the company I started in 1979 that grew to be one of California’s top employers. After selling my companies in 2006, the new firm grew and added more acquisitions and I got to watch as they added Sales and Service superstars, integrated acquisitions, and leveraged their momentum to over one billion dollars in sales.

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Our firm, DeDominic & Associates, is committed to coaching leaders from large and small organizations whose business it is to execute worthy missions!  www.dedominic.com