Sales people hear it all the time: “ABC. Always be closing.” But as a manager, I’d recommend that you adopt a slightly different mantra for yourself: “ABR: Always be recruiting.”
Too often managers settle into complacency when their teams are performing well, or recruiting falls by the wayside when there’s too much else on their plates. But it’s essential to keep recruiting on your to-do list for three important reasons:
1. People leave. Often unexpectedly.
2. Poor performers need to be replaced.
3. Growth opportunities will arise that you want to leverage.
To ensure ABR is easy to execute in your organization, here are seven best practices:
1. Use a professional services recruiting firm that focuses on the specific area you’re looking for. Often companies use recruiters who are more generalist in scope, but unfortunately some don’t ‘get’ salespeople or IT specialists, etc. Find a company with a proven track with the professionals you need.
2. Develop an internal referral program. A generous referral bonus will encourage employees to tap their own network. Your employees understand your business best, and are most likely to cultivate loyalty when they bring in one of their own contacts. Pay at least $5,000 per employee that is referred, hired and stays longer than six months. It’s less than you’d spend on advertising or recruiting, and you’re likely attract a higher quality candidate as a result.
3. Ask clients, vendors, partners and your resale channels for referrals. Your new hires will interact with your clients and partners, so why not ask them whom they’d like to buy from or work with?
4. Get varied interview feedback. It’s important that more than one person interview each candidate in order to get well-rounded and objective feedback.
5. Ditch the board room. You should also consider varying the interview environment beyond just the conference room. Can the candidate focus in a more distracting environment, like a restaurant or coffee shop?
6. Use social media. Post your openings on Facebook, LinkedIn or your blog in order to attract people from across the country or around the world, if required. Also, use social media to check out potential candidates’ profiles before beginning the interview process.
7. Ask one last question. There are many things you can test for in an interview, but it’s difficult to measure a candidate’s long-term memory, which is essential for sales. I use one simple question at the end of the interview to help assess this: I ask the candidate to summarize what was discussed in the interview. If she can’t do so accurately, it signals to me that her mind was elsewhere during the meeting.
By keeping these seven simple tips in mind, you can make recruiting a constant priority without devoting incredible amounts of time to it.
Special to The Globe and Mail
As the founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen Francis helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.