Today I spoke with three different sales leaders and discussed specific candidates they liked for various sales roles in their companies. You would think that’s a good thing, them checking with me first to make sure they were on the right track. And no, it’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of thoughtfulness and taking advantage of the resources that are available to them.
However, despite being devotees of Objective Management Group’s (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments, all three of them asked me about candidates that were not recommended. Making this even more incredible was that their new sales recruiting processes and sales candidate assessments had helped all three to identify and hire several great salespeople this year. Even better, their new salespeople were all doing great.
Despite their excellent track record and the rule that says they shouldn’t even speak with candidates that aren’t recommended, here they were, all three of them, trying to sell me on moving forward with candidates with whom they should not have spoken in the first place.
In all three cases, there were attractive women involved. Strike one. Did these three men feel that they needed attractive women working for them, or did they believe that their attractiveness would help them open doors? Or both?
I asked them that very question and they each said that “had nothing to do with it.“
“Then why did you mention it?” I asked.
I tried to help them understand why these candidates were not recommended, how their individual weaknesses would undermine them in the field, the near impossible coaching that would be in store for them, and the statistics that show that 75% of the candidates that are not recommended, but hired anyway, fail within 6 months.
In the end, they listened to me and that’s good. However, for every sales leader that does call and check, there are thousands more putting themselves in the exact same position and making what is nearly guaranteed to be a hiring mistake.
The tools, science and best practices are available to everyone, but why bother paying for them, learning them, and using them, if you aren’t going to follow the rules?
It’s not hard to get this right. But it’s way too easy to get it wrong. The best way to stay on track is to remain objective, rely on science and follow the process, guidelines and rules without exception.