Recruiting Quality Talent and Top Performers

Years ago my sales manager told me how difficult it was to find quality recruits with staying power. He said he wished that he had a crystal ball for hiring because it seemed that no matter how good he thought he was at making a quality call, he only hit it one out of five times. This is a reflection of what is known as the pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. Without some sort of tool or proven system in place, recruiting is at best an educated guess!

There are six key areas in which an ideal candidate should have strengths and balance. They are problem solving abilities, drive (influence), emotional resilience, self-c0ntrol, interpersonal style and practicality. A balance in these six key areas will provide you with an individual who is more likely to be a quality, long-term asset to the organization.

It is highly unlikely that you will ever build a great company on your own. In order for an organization to become a financial asset and outlive the founder, it takes a team of people who are all contributing to the cause. In the 1960's the rich oil tycoon J.P. Getty said, "I'd rather have 1% of 100 mens efforts than 100% of my own."

According to John Maxwell, weak fearful leaders have insecurity issues and tend to recruit underlings. That way they never have to worry about someone on their team competing with them for their job. Building a strong, solid team requires a confident leader who is not afraid to recruit people who are strong, intelligent, capable, confident and competent. Have a solid strategy and plan for hiring. Take advantage of any tools and resources that are available to increase your odds for success. Know what type of person is most suitable for any positions being filled or tasks at hand. Prepare a list of core competencies and raw skills that an ideal candidate should possess. Know which of these are an absolute must and which are on the wish list, so that you don't settle for second best. When qualifying and screening candidates, the questions you ask are key. Have your questioning strategy down cold for interviewing so that you are confident you have covered the key points that matter most! This will make you much more confident in the choices that you make.

In smaller companies, a three phase interviewing process is very common and up to five interviews will occur in larger organizations. Psychologically, this process creates an impression in the mind of the candidate being interviewed. He or she feels a greater degree of importance or significance in the role they are being interviewed for. Being selective sends the message that we don't just hire anyone, you have to be unique and special in order to get in here. Due to the time commitment involved however, you must become proficient in your prescreening and interviewing skills. Telephone interviews are an excellent way to complete the initial phase of the interviewing process.

In the best selling book Good to Great, Jim Collins notes that in their research, they discovered that many of Good to Great executives said they always keep their eyes and ears open watching for talent. In some instances, they actually created positions for people because they felt so strongly that they would be key contributors to the organization they didn't want to pass on the opportunity. Develop a very clear picture of what you want (even what you don't want) and need in a recruit. If you keep your eyes and ears open at all times, some of the best hires you'll ever make will come as a result of recruiting on the fly! When you know what you're looking for you'd be surprised how often you will come face to face with an ideal candidate. It can happen at any time, in any environment, during your hours of work or when you are on personal time. In these sorts of situations, it is much easier to interview them because it is casual and they don't even know that is what you are doing.

One last point that I would make with regard to people in your organization that aren't giving a solid effort. I often witness situations where an employee is literally putting in time, taking up desk space and merely collecting a paycheque. Identify those individuals in your company, work with them to see if you can turn them around. If you can't, then help them move on to something more suited to their needs. It's tough to do but you'll be doing them a favour in the long run.

"Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best."


Canada's Sales Expert

Since founding SMP Strategies (a.k.a. Elite Training Systems) in 2001, I have partnered with dozens of sales organizations in varying capacities to elevate individual and team performance and increase overall revenue generation and profitability. Through the delivery of public workshops and customized on-site training, I have educated thousands of consultative sales professionals using personally developed training programs. Authored three books on the discipline...

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