EXHIBITION NEWS July 2017 - Page 41

COLUMN People Management Trevor Punt, MD of TBG Group, examines how to spot a bad candidate, and offers some advice to potential employers Hiring – it’s a crap shoot T he success of any event is dependent on the staff that run it. But how does a company employ, and retain, quality staff in a recruitment environment where the talent pool is getting increasingly shallower? Recruitment is made even harder when studies have found that 46 per cent of newly- hired employees will fail within 18 months, only 19 per cent will achieve unequivocal success, 26 per cent will fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23 per cent because they’re unable to manage emotions, 17 per cent because they lack motivation and 15 per cent because they have the wrong temperament or interpersonal skills. It is these latter fl aws that many managers overlook during the interview process. In fact, most interview processes fail to elicit subtle clues indicating that a potential new employee has the necessary skills because those interviewing are too focussed on other issues, or lack confi dence in their interviewing abilities. Presented with a potential new hire at interview, how often have the following been heard: • “I was doing really well then my manager changed jobs and I didn’t get on with her replacement.” • “I was doing a lot of business but the company changed its remuneration structure to one I thought was unfair so I left.” • “The marketing support promised during the hiring process was non- existent / my line manager was a total nightmare to work for.” Most interviewers have heard some if not all these impeccably plausible reasons why the person sitting in front of them parted, or are considering parting, with the company they work for. But you’ll notice they all share at least one thing in common: although believable, they’re extremely diffi cult, if not impossible, to verify. Hiring employees is no fun to begin with. But certain positions are just worse than others. Possibly the hardest is those involved in sales or business development. Typically, the problem comes down to two things: • They’re sales people! At interview, they’re talking about themselves – the product they know better than anything else in the world – and boy- oh-boy do they know how tominimise the negatives, it’s what they do for a living. • Our perception of the successful sales person: effusive, sharp as a pin, says-what-they-need-to-say- to-close-business. Consciously or subconsciously, many sales people are hired based on this image. Do we always hire the most stereotypical salesperson? Probably not, but sales hiring decisions are still based largely on gut. And our gut feeling typically favours the individual with whom we most closely identify: the person we like the best. Therein lies the danger. Research has showed that 89 per cent of bad hires fail due to poor attitude and behaviours. The essential point is, hiring for attitude, competencies, and behaviours is hard. Here are fi ve common mistakes made in sales hiring, and tips on how to avoid them: 1) Unclear ideal candidate: if the competencies and behaviours that make up the ideal hire are not understood it is hard to hire for them. Developing a clear benchmark based on top and bottom performers is critical to identifying the right talent. 2) Desperation hiring: an understocked talent pipeline means that every new hire is sourced from scratch. This is especially problematic when a company is scrambling to make a fast hire for unexpected reasons. Sales managers should spend time every week developing their pipeline of potential hires, just in case. 3) Weak hiring process: it’s one thing to have a hiring process in place that outlines each step for hiring managers. It’s another to empower that process with the right tools and technology. Companies should look at their processes, then identify and implement the tools and technologies that reinforce it. This will make big contributions to both hiring manager success and compliance. 4) Unclear post-hire measurement: why do companies wait for sales people to get up to speed before they begin measuring performance? Based on a company’s sales cycle it could be six, nine or even 12 months before it is known whether they’ve hired a superstar or a dud. Training progress, activity measures and new hire engagement are all areas to consider in the short term to prevent a long, protracted fi zzle. 5) Lack of real data: most people involved in hiring staff believe that their processes produce usable information about a candidate, when often all it’s producing is noise. Noise creates confusion in the hiring process and leads to poor decisions. Real data comes from quantifi cation and can be gained using tools like assessment, interviewing technology, and reference checking. So here comes the pitch, as you knew it would. Technology and behavioural science have progressed to the point where we simply don’t need to be making blind hiring decisions. Getting real, objective, competency based data is critical to any hiring. Applying technology to these fi ve steps is a great start in dramatically improving your hiring, and your business results. exhibitionnews.co.uk | July 2017 41