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News : Donít hire potential

Exceptional hiring skills are among the most desirable of all leadership skills in todayís workplace.

The ability to select, motivate and retain the very best sales people is a hallmark of both top sales managers and high performing companies.

It's perfectly understandable that companies want to hire new employees with potential. However this strategy can often lead to low levels of motivation, low output and high staff turnover.

The advice is not to recruit potential unless you are willing to develop it. If you have the skills and time to train coach and mentor new sales people then you have the potential to develop them.

If you donít have the above but you do have the budget to send new recruits for sales training then you have the means to develop them.

If you have neither then donít recruit potential

What you are looking for is someone to do for you what they have already done for someone else. What you are looking for are transferable skills.

You need sales people with a proven track record

If this is a replacement position, start with an exit interview to find out why the previous job holder is leaving. Next you must do a job description - only in terms of a title but also output.

Title: New Business Sales

Output = Make X number of called calls. Do X number of quotations. Open X number of new accounts.

Title: Key Accounts Manager

Output = Grow existing accounts by X%, Open 3 new key accounts of X size in X months.

Write down exactly what you want this person to achieve. Now write a person specification. List the core competences that are required to do the job.

You must now compile competence behavioural-based questions for the interview. This type of questioning can be five times more effective at getting the right people into your business.

Interviewing can be an exhausting business. Many interviewers talk too much - the skill is to question, listen, and clarify. Donít make promises you canít keep and donít hire potential unless you are willing to develop it.

By Mike Le Put, Director, MLP Training