Why Now Is the Most Dangerous Time to Hire

BY C. Lee Smith
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If you have a job opening posted right now, you know the truth about the labor market. Employers are reporting little interest in many jobs they are hiring for. Now may be the most dangerous time to hire because you’ll be tempted to make an offer to the first person who seems qualified to do the work. Don’t make that mistake.

Job Market Turmoil

In addition to hiring new employees, organizations are having trouble holding on to existing team members. Workers are leaving their current jobs in record numbers. Some employees stayed in their positions during the pandemic because the job market held so many challenges last year. Now that we’ve arrived on the other end of the turmoil, the months of stress and uncertainty have led many people to evaluate their situations. If they haven’t been happy in their positions, and if they don’t see room for advancement, they are updating their resumes. Managers should review the results of psychometric assessments to look for clues on how to retain good employees. Remember that some sales reps are motivated by money, while others will stick around if you offer them more responsibility.

Sales Hiring Challenges

If you’re hiring for sales positions, you’re facing a real challenge. In some markets, the number of open sales positions has doubled this year over what employers recruited for last year. Keith Wolf, managing director of the Houston-​based recruiting firm Murray Resources, notes that the sales profession has “transformed” over the years.

But many U.S. adults don’t realize that. In fact, our research shows that consumers continue to hold a dim view of sales professionals; they rank used car sales reps as having extremely low credibility. With that kind of a reputation hanging over the profession, it’s no wonder that many of today’s workers aspire to go into a different field.

What’s a hiring manager to do? Position the job as something more than what an applicant envisions. As Wolf says, “It’s much more problem-​solving and working with clients now. Most college-​educated sales roles have become much more consultative.”

Few people want to work the phones in a cold calling cycle of rejection and despair. And in many industries, that method of selling isn’t particularly cost effective. That’s because buyers know plenty about sellers before they have an initial phone call or email exchange.

You can design sales positions to appeal to today’s job seekers. Yes, the lure of big commissions still works. Money talks. But so does the quality of the day-​to-​day experience. Workers who enjoy helping clients and prospects solve business problems may be suited to your open position.

Why Now is a Dangerous Time to Hire

You’ll avoid making a big hiring mistake if you ask your applicants to take a sales skills and psychometric assessments. The results will show if a candidate possesses key characteristics that make a difference in sales. For example, one employer highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article looks for the curiosity factor. Why? Because curious individuals have what it takes to conduct effective discovery.

If you advertise your open positions as being grounded in the new kind of sales profession and you use assessment results as one part of your hiring process, you’ll bring the right individuals into your organization. After that, especially if they are new to the profession, you can coach them on the skills they need in order to sell your solutions. 

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels.