Do you know when your car is not running properly? It's usually quite obvious. Lighting is very obvious too. How about your home theater? You probably won't know about a problem with that until after a component has stopped working. Do you have a really good way to determine whether your sales recruiting process works the way it should and will work going into next year? How can you determine whether your job postings are effective? How do you know if you are getting enough candidates? How do you know if the best candidates are making it to the interview stage? How can you tell if you are about to make a hiring mistake?
Occasionally, my sales development firm conducts a turnkey search for a crucial sales, sales management or sales leadership role. Usually, this occurs when the client lacks either the bandwidth, expertise, or desire and absolutely, positively cannot afford to get this particular hire wrong.
Last week, we completed two such projects where we were looking for salespeople that were absolute needles in the haystack. This 2-minute video has my take on what constitutes "needle in the haystack" criteria.
Which project was more successful? Was it the NY company where we identified 5 candidates that met their needle in the haystack criteria, or the CT company where we only identified 3? Was it the NY company where we took 101 applications or the CT company where we took only 20? Was it the CT company where it took less than 30 days, or the NY company that really did their due diligence and took 16 weeks? Was it a tie because both companies got two great salespeople?
Determining winners and losers is dependent on roles and expectations.
From Objective Management Group's (OMG) perspective - both companies had licenses for unlimited sales candidate assessments, so it was a tie.
From Kurlan & Associates' perspective, getting the CT company completed in less than 30 days was more profitable and less labor intensive than what was required to complete the NY company. However, the time and labor must be measured against the context of fees.
From the client's perspective, the CT company was the winner because we were able to exceed their expectations on the timeline.
From the perspective of the job sites, they won big on the NY company because they were paid for views and got 4 times as many.
If it had taken as long for us to complete the hiring for the CT company as it had for the NY company, the numbers, multiplied by 4, would have been very similar to the numbers of the NY company.
There are a few interesting side notes to this exercise. We teach most clients how to do what we do instead of doing it for them. In those cases, they are responsible for sourcing candidates, and typically, if a company had received only 20 applications, 12 assessments with only 7 passing the assessment, they would call to complain about a lack of candidates. And if a company had received 101 applications and only 5 of the candidates that passed the test met their needle in the haystack criteria, they would be calling to complain about the quality of the candidates.
That's the thing about getting selection right. The only thing that matters is that you have the patience to wait for the right candidates to appear, the ability (aided by tools) to recognize those candidates, and in the end, the ability to convince those candidates to join you. The numbers and ratios are just that - numbers and ratios. It's about getting the right candidates into the pipeline, not getting lots of candidates into the pipeline.
Of the candidates that viewed the postings, why did such a relatively small number send their resumes? Because we wrote the ads in such a way that most of the readers knew that they did not fit the criteria for who we were looking for.
Why did fewer than half of the candidates complete applications? Does the answer really matter? All you need to know about the candidates that didn't complete them is that they didn't follow through. Why did a third of the candidates that completed the application fail to take the assessment? Again, who cares? It's yet one more way in which we can disqualify those candidates that need to be filtered out. Could we have lost out on some good candidates who decided not to complete applications and assessments? That depends on what you consider good. If those same candidates won't complete call reports, use CRM, attend huddles and meetings, follow through, or do things your way, then no, we didn't miss out on anybody.
I believe that there will continue to be a shortage of good candidates through the first three quarters of 2015. You can counter the effects of a candidate shortage by getting some help, using good tools or having experts do the work for you. Would you like to use the accurate, predictive sales candidate assessment that we use and recommend? Click here for a free trial.