• 4 Interview Tips for the Interviewer: How to Build the Strongest Bench

    Strongest benchPlaying the role of the interviewer is no simple task. While you might not be the one in the hot seat, the words that come out of your mouth can be just as important. There are interview techniques that some of the best recruiters and HR professionals utilize when looking to fill positions with the most qualified candidates.

    Encourage the candidate to think differently and creatively when they’re interviewing. For many candidates going through the job search process, interviews become monotonous. Interviewers need to go against the grain to truly get to know a candidate.

    The following techniques will help the interviewer understand the mind and thought process of the candidate, which will ultimately determine whether the candidate will be a good cultural fit and if they’ll help propel the company forward.

    1. Start by asking the candidate how they prepared for the interview.Not every job seeker takes the time to do research before an interview, whether it was about the interviewer, the company or recent company news. If they did research, ask a couple of questions about their findings. If they didn’t, move on to the next question. Don’t ask why they didn’t, the goal shouldn’t be to embarrass them.

    2. Ask how they prioritize their time.This is a great question for recent college graduates because the interviewer can reference how busy college life can be (social events, projects, group work, jobs, internships, class and social media) and then ask the candidate how they get it all done. People don’t magically become organized and detail-oriented; those are behaviours that are often started in college.

    3. Role play during the interview.If the position in question will be part of a team, ask the candidate why people would want him or her on their team. Using this interview technique will force the candidate to adapt to a new role and look through a different lens. Answers that reveal promise will likely have to do with their dependability, responsibility, negotiation skills, subject matter expertise, leadership abilities, etc.

    4. Ask how a reference will describe the candidate.Every resume lists “references available upon request,” yet most interviewers don’t discuss references until later in the process. Ask for more information about the reference and then ask the candidate to describe what the reference would say about them. Usually, references are listed because the job seeker respects the person, the reference has a credible reputation or there is a strong relationship between the two. This telling technique helps because the candidate is less likely to lie or inflate the reference’s opinion of the candidate.

    When interviewing job candidates, what are some of your go-to interview questions? Be sure to include the answers you look for when asking those questions.

     

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

  • Courtship. Marriage. Divorce.

    Typically I hear from Business Owners that their problems are either ‘process’ or ‘people’ related. But a lot of time it’s their ‘process of attracting people’ that’s the real problem.

    What do I mean? Well, think of this. You want a business full of A-players. The people who get things done. Quickly, efficiently and effectively. These A-players excel and take responsibility for recruiting more staff into your business. But an A-player will only accept other A-players into the business. They won’t recruit B or C-players because their performance wouldn’t be up to scratch. But if your processes are wrong (or non-existent!) you might miss an A-player and recruit a B-player, but that’s OK right? Wrong. The B-player will never recruit an A-player into the business, because they’ll feel threatened. So B-players recruit C-players and the downward cycle continues.

    The cost of getting it wrong when recruiting isn’t just a few months’ wages to the person that didn’t work out. It’s the wages, recruitment fee’s, on-boarding, lost sales opportunities and so on.  So wouldn’t it be better to invest some time into getting the next hire right?

    So what to do? Well we all go on training courses – sales training, management training, tech training, communication training, presentation training etc etc – but we never go on ‘HIRING’ training!

    Traditional recruitment follows an all too familiar path; resignation of key member of staff, panic, quick job advert, interview applicants and take someone on because we can’t be without someone! Well firstly we need to consider attracting the A-players to our business even when we’re not recruiting. And so your management team needs to coach to a common process, giving you tangible results to evaluate current staff performance levels. This also allows you to see if you are happy (or not) with the performance of the team – most likely highlighting some skills-gaps that need addressing. If we see an A-player who we know can complement what we’ve already got and bring these skills – do we really need a vacancy to justify bringing them in?

    Before you hire anyone though you need to be clear about the behaviours you will measure and the tools to measure them. Utilising platforms such as Extended DISC and Devine allows you to take an objective view of a potential employee, not just throw caution to the wind because you liked them at interview!

    Talking about interviews … make sure you have a clear up-front contract with the interviewee about the agenda for the meeting; setting clearly defined objectives and outcomes at the start helps you to both decide if you want to pursue things at the end, and helps to eradicate the time-wasters. Use a mixture of direct, assumptive, situational and competency based questions to evaluate suitability and know exactly what behaviours and attitudes you’re looking for. Remember, no mind-reading and do not accept wishy-washy answers.

    If you were going to spend £100,000 on new capital equipment you’d be pretty sure to do your due diligence. Hiring a new employee is no different, take references! Hire slowly but fire quickly.

    But if it is going to end in divorce don’t forget the Exit Interview. This is the time to learn what went wrong so you can avoid the mistakes next time.

    So ask yourself this: “Are you and your management team following a process to attract A-players, or are you winging it and hoping for the best?”

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew is Managing Director for Sandler Training North East. A business development and sales coach with over 20 year’s practical experience giving advice to ambitious companies and individuals. Primarily Andrew has operated with owner-managed businesses who want to accelerate the growth of their business, or simply improve the results of their sales team. After a career selling everything from technology, financial services, logistics, recruitment and coaching Andrew is perfectly placed to help with your sales needs. Andrew is passionate about changing your attitudes to selling, allowing you to understand that a ‘no’ can be a good thing. He also plays an active role in increasing the employability of 16-24 year olds, attending a reception dinner at the House of Lords as recognition of his on-going work in this area.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    Twitter

  • The 3 Biggest Mistakes When Hiring Sales Talent

    steve bWe consistently have clients coming to us for help with fixing their underperforming sales people. Often we can help but sometimes we have to advise that the person concerned is wrong for the role and there is little that can be done to fix the problem. Better, by far, to hire the right people in the first place.

    Over the years we’ve learned some pretty important lessons around interviewing sales people. Here are three common interview pitfalls you should really try to avoid.

    Mistake 1: Interviewing the CV.

    Fast forward to your next interview. It is five minutes before the candidate will be on the phone or in front of you. You say to yourself, who is this guy? You then frantically print out the resume and skim it. You then proceed to interview the CV. “Tell me about the job you had? What was your success there? Why did you leave? Blah, Blah, Blah…”

    I’m sure your process isn’t as bad as this, however, here’s the mistake: you need to know what you are looking for. Define your needs beyond the CV and the clichés. Start with understanding what the key job functions actually are and rank the importance of each one.

    Mistake 2: Placing emphasis on the wrong selling skills.

    You only have a certain amount of time with your candidates. Make sure you know which skills are most important for success. For example, we sometimes hear clients say that they ask a candidate to “do a presentation” during the interview. Having them do a presentation is not a bad idea, however, what’s your process for understanding the candidate’s ability to prospect or question and qualify what the client actually needs? In your world, is that more important than the presentation?

    In the past have you hired people that love to present and then spend their days and nights “chasing” and “following up?” What are the top 10 skills they need to execute to be successful? We often see this list vary however presentation skills are rarely in the top 5.

    Mistake 3: Assuming that because they can do something, they actually will.

    “Will Do” is the hardest thing to judge during an interview. Attitude and motivation can sometimes be faked long enough to get a candidate through an interview. Sales people can have talent but can lose their drive and motivation. Ask yourself the question, especially of sales people in the latter stages of their career – why have they not succeeded in past roles and are now applying for a new job? Sometimes there is a good reason but beware of people with careers that have stalled or are in decline.

    We recommend you use hiring assessments to measure core competencies around:

    • Ambition and drive
    • Takes action
    • Resists stall and objections
    • Accepts responsibility

    Without these assessments, you are relying on likability and gut feel. Your odds of finding an effective candidate will suffer.

    Steve Buiskool

    Steve Buiskool

    Steve Buiskool is Managing Director of Sandler Training in Cheltenham. He works with companies who wish to increase their return on the investment made in their sales team and with local business owners who need to improve their own business development skills. Prior to starting Sandler Cheltenham, Steve had a 25 year sales career including Sales Director positions with CapGemini and Capita. He also specialised in leading major deals in the IT, BPO and consulting markets. Tel: 01242 420750 Mobile: 0750 750 5996

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    LinkedIn

  • Growing your team, why is it so hard?

    One of the biggest leaps a business owner takes is hiring that first employee.  When is the right time? What role should they do? Can I afford it? How do I know they are the right person? All big questions need to be overcome.

    The problem is that for a lot of businesses recruiting subsequent employees doesn’t get much easier either. It may be less of a quantum leap adding more employees but some of the same questions remain in particular how do I know they are the right person?

    Research suggests that hiring the wrong person can cost businesses at least 5 times their salary, which is a hefty price to pay whatever the size of your business. But why is it so hard to find the right candidates?  According to recent research interviewing is only a good predictor of a candidates fit for a role 50 per cent of the time. I was pretty shocked when I read that, that feels a lot like guessing to me. Especially as most of us are interviewing on a pretty infrequent basis, we are not honing that skill. And remember that if you are hiring for a sales role, sales people are good at interviewing but that doesn’t mean they are a good salesperson. Too often I see companies hiring candidates first and foremost because they like them rather than because they are right for the job. Try doing some anti-bonding and rapport with sales candidates and then see how they work to build that rapport when they are out of their comfort zone. After all that’s what prospects will do to them every day.

    So what’s the alternative to interviewing?  Behavioural profiling such as the Devine Inventory provide a more evidence based check from which to screen out candidates or interview more effectively. Good tools like these enable you to highlight flags in the candidate’s profile which can then be probed more robustly in interviews. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to be hiring people who either can’t do the job, or can do the job but won’t. I only want to be investing my time in those that can and will and 50 per cent isn’t a high enough ratio for me to want to trust my gut through interviewing alone.

    Induction is another equally important part of hiring. Too often I see new hires start in companies, get introduced to everyone, taken for lunch, given a high level overview and to all intents and purposes left to get on with it. Hideous for the new starter and risks the employer waiting too long to know if their new employee is going to make it and what additional support they need to be more self reliant.

    Companies that do this part really well have a very comprehensive induction programme running for at least 90 days, supporting the new hire in all aspects of the role, but crucially making it very clear what the new hire has to do on a weekly/monthly basis to be successful and ensuing that progress checks happen.  If it’s so hard to find the right candidates in the first place let’s make sure that we set them up to succeed, or work out sooner rather than later if we’ve made a mistake and deal with it accordingly.

     

    Caroline Robinson

    Caroline Robinson

    Caroline Robinson is Director of Sandler Training based in Cambridge, working with fast-growing companies who are ambitious about taking their business to the next level. Tel: 01223 882581 Mobile: 07739 344 751

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    LinkedIn

  • HIRE SLOW, FIRE FAST

    Harvard Business Review recently quoted “At most companies, people spend 2 percent of their time recruiting and 75 percent managing their recruiting mistakes” Harvard Business School article.

    It’s certainly an easy trap to fall into…

    Here are some excuses from those who have fallen into the Hire Fast, Fire Slow trap.

    “But I needed to hire someone right away”
“But they came with great referrals/industry knowledge/product expertise”
“But I didn’t realise the cost of a bad hire before it was too late”
“But they interviewed so well, and my gut told me they would work out fine”
“But I thought I’d hired a Superman. I didn’t know he was a David Brent”

    MYTHS VS FACTS

    MYTH - We hire when we need someone.

    FACT - An interview with two needy people, one who needs to fill a vacancy, and another who needs a job, results in a bad hire.

    MYTH - My gut will tell me. I know a good sales person when I see one.

    FACT - All sales people, good and bad, have great CVs and interview well.

    MYTH - I need to be good at identifying people who can sell

    FACT – There is a huge difference between those who can sell themselves once in an interview and those that WILL. Charm and being personable are not indicators of being able to behave consistently on a daily, weekly monthly basis as a sales machine.

    MYTH - We have a long sales cycle, so it will take a long time for us to determine if they are working out.

    FACT - With an appropriate on-boarding process, hiring mistakes can be identified in 1-3 months, no matter how long the sales cycle.

    Just as top sales people recognise prospecting is key to sales success, top performing companies, recognise that searching for talent and creating the appropriate systems and processes, is key to business success.

    Ask your local business advisor for help with building your own “Hire Slow, Fire Fast” process before you spend 75% of your time in 2015 managing your mistakes.

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand runs Sandler Training in the Midlands based at the Innovation Centre in Longbridge.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

  • 3 questions to ask yourself when hiring

    Over the past few months, I have had a number of conversations with owners and directors which are broadly similar.

    ‘We’re becoming more confident, seeing more opportunities. I’m thinking about hiring a sales person’. OK and..?  Well, I really need somebody in position within a few months, they need to be performing straight away,  I can’t afford to get it wrong, the last one hired wasn’t that good, we tried for 6 months and then had to get rid of them’.

    So, what are you going to do differently this time?

    I don’t know – do you have any ideas?

    Yes, start 6 months ago.

    Sorry, that wasn’t very helpful, but it’s the truth. You are where you are, but with that sort of approach you are setting yourself up for another hiring failure.

    If you are thinking you might need to recruit a sales person in 2015 or even next year, the time to start is now.

    Let’s just ask ourselves a few questions, starting with the obvious.

    1. Do I really need to add another person?

    For a moment let’s draw an analogy with a machine. If you were running a factory and you kept adding machines without optimising the output from your current capacity you would become uncompetitive and ultimately go out of business. Yet people add headcount to sales teams without even questioning if they can get more out of what they have.

    Do you have the data to analyse the performance of your current sales people? Have you compared the best to the worst? Do you understand where the differences occur and have you tried to develop/coach them to adopt the best practice?

    Have you templated your prospecting/sales process and examined where efficiency gains could be made? Could adopting a systematic approach to sales drive continuous improvement across the board?

    To hijack an old phrase from the quality manual ‘Do you even know what good looks like?’

    If training and developing your current team could enable you to achieve the same or greater sales growth than adding another person – which option would you take?

    1. Should I add or replace?

    Let’s assume you have done all of the above and you have seen some improvement. Have some not demonstrated an improvement or even a willingness to try? What is the impact of retaining them in your business?

    Potentially a risk that they pull others back down and possibly they themselves feel under pressure and unhappy in the role.  Certainly it requires a conversation and an examination of the possibility of redeploying them elsewhere or finding out if they are also looking to move on and need some assistance to find a better-fit role.

    1. Am I really ready to hire someone?

    Hiring is usually one other thing that managers can barely afford to devote any time to. After all, if it doesn’t work out it’s probably only going to cost £20-30K by the time you add up all the costs of the 6 month they get to prove themselves. Not much?

    So don’t make it an event. Continuously build links with people who you would like to add to your business.  Using the understanding you have developed in 1, build a picture of the type of qualities you need in a good hire. Don’t forget, having improved the current team you will no longer be replicating ‘average’ but adding in at a higher level. Consider also strengthening your hiring process through the use of a systematic approach and tools such as behavioural profiling.

    Stop thinking that your next sales hire is still 6 months or so away. Start evaluating and improving your current sales resource and preparing the ground for your next recruit to join an already high performing team.

    If you want to talk further, contact your nearest Sandler Trainer about how we may be able to help save money on hiring and get more from your current sales resources.

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney

    Gary McKinney runs Sandler Training in Yorkshire, based in Leeds, helping business owners regain control of sales and achieve significantly improved sales results.

    More Posts - Website

    Follow Me:
    TwitterLinkedIn

http://healthlibr.com