How to Avoid Making a Hiring Mistake

BY C. Lee Smith
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Not every organization is currently in a position to add employees, but if you’ve got approval to start looking for new sales reps, you want to avoid making a hiring mistake. Hiring a person who’s the wrong fit for the job or who has a tendency to exhibit toxic behavior slows everything down. That slowdown becomes expensive when you have to spend extra time managing that person or when other sales reps try to avoid working with the new hire.

The New Hiring Process

Over 80% of employers have changed their hiring intentions and processes in the past few months, say Gartner researchers. Specifically, they are using technology such as video interviews, to accomplish the task. We all know those kinds of interviews don’t result in the same kind of interaction that hiring managers get from in-​person interactions. For example, there’s no opportunity to go out to lunch with a candidate to see how they interact with other people like receptionists and waitstaff.

You might be tempted to rely more heavily on candidates who come highly recommended. That’s what over 50% of hiring managers do, according to our Voice of the Sales Manager survey. Unfortunately, some of these candidates don’t work out. One sales manager told us that he, "had a guy that came highly recommended, yet never showed up on time and was rude with customers. Had to cut ties with him."

If your hiring process has changed because of the pandemic, have you communicated the details to all of your hiring managers? It’s easy to lose track of what should be done when filling an open position. Even before the pandemic encroached on our lives, only 51% of managers agreed that their company has a format and well-​understood hiring and selection process. Another 30% of managers somewhat agreed. This state of affairs can lead to less-​than-​ideal candidates showing up for remote work assignments. The extra challenges of managing a remote workforce, combined with trying to onboard new hires who aren’t a great fit, can easily overwhelm sales managers and increase organizational expense at a time when you should be watching every penny.

Avoid Making A Hiring Mistake

Is there a way avoid making a hiring mistake? Absolutely. Now more than ever, you need as much information as you can gather about your top candidates. To do that, you should ask them to take a sales skill assessment before you go through the interview process.

The results of this kind of assessment will let you know if a candidate has a tendency to become toxic in certain situations. Toxicity quickly impacts the bottom line and generally causes distrust in the workplace.  One sales manager learned the cost of toxicity the hard way and reported that, “It personally made me want to avoid that hire. It took too long to get rid of him, which cost us with the search for a replacement. The employee finally quit after just short of a year, so we didn't have to pay his unemployment.”

Reviewing assessment results before you decide who to interview reduces expenses and help you improve outcomes. For example, the assessment results may reveal that one candidate is a far better fit with the manager and the organization than another candidate. Based on the assessments, you’ll know not to waste everyone’s time interviewing a candidate who isn’t right for the organization. 

And when you’re ready to start interviewing, check out TeamTrait™. This hiring solution customizes interview questions based on sales skill assessment results. These questions are designed to help you probe specific characteristics your candidate possesses. Sales managers revealed that their go-​to interview questions range from “What is your greatest talent?” to “Tell me about your plan for the next five years.” The candidate’s answers to these questions will reveal what they want you to know about them. They’ll be prepared for these kinds of questions. But when you ask a question that probes how much control they need in a situation, they’ll have to think on their feet. And their response will give you the information you need to avoid making a hiring mistake.