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Blog: Don’t Ignore the Basics!

By Bridget McCrea

Before embarking on a full-scale Internet search for job candidates, Greta Schulz, president and CEO of Schulz Business Sellutions in West Palm Beach, Fla., says distributors should review their internal hiring processes, which should always include the following:

  1. Identify your organization’s “ideal candidate.” Most organizations don’t take the necessary time or energy to do this step well, says Schulz. Avoid this issue by first identifying the qualities that will make this candidate successful for your company, not just “any” organization. Have they sold electrical products before? What level of decision maker do they need to be in front of to be successful at your company? How long is your company’s selling cycle and have they previously sold in that format? “There are several qualities that can be mapped out right away,” says Schulz, “to identify a potential candidate or a no-deal.”
  2. Search for the candidate. There are several different ways to search for the ideal candidate. A good place to start is by asking yourself this question: “If I found someone better than my best person tomorrow, would I find a place for them in my organization?” If the answer is a resounding YES, then why are you only looking when you “need” someone? “A good salesperson is worth their weight in gold,” says Schulz. “He or she is an asset, not a liability. They make you money, not cost you, right? Then get searching!”
  3. Pre-qualify the candidate. This should be done on the phone and should take no more then 10 minutes, Schulz says. Have questions ready to ask the candidate (the same questions you ask for all candidates). Ask them quickly and succinctly as to not allow him or her too much time to think. “The initial response is the best one because it comes from the gut,” says Schulz. “If too much time is allowed, the candidate will be too concerned to answer the ‘correct way.'” 
  4. Assess the candidate. At this stage in the process, the candidate has met your initial criteria and should be asked to take an assessment. You can use the assessment of your choice, but Schulz advises selecting one that keeps within the EEOC Guidelines for Hiring, which gives a few pertinent specifications when it comes to your company’s hiring process. The assessment should also be able to uncover weaknesses that are hidden and can’t be picked up in the regular interview process. Some examples of these “hidden weaknesses” are the ability (or inability) to discuss money, having an overwhelming need to be liked, and the ability to recover after a feeling of rejection, just to name a few.
  5. In-person interviewing. At this point in the hiring process, you should be able to concentrate on things like eye contact, handshake, personality, bonding ability, and hopefully the candidate’s aptitude to ask you questions, not just letting you do all of the talking, says Schulz. “You should also have a battery of questions that you are going to ask here, dependent upon the outcome of the assessment,” she adds. “It would be helpful if you had some questions to ask regarding the weaknesses that were exposed in the assessment to see how you feel about his or her problems with these issues.”

Editor’s note: Come back to tedmag.com on Friday to learn about a sales recruiting secret you should be taking advantage of.

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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