BY MARY POWELL Director
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Attracting and selecting the right talent for your organisation.

What is the single most important task for a business owner or manager?   Sales?  Budgeting?  Business Development?  Product Development?  No, it’s Recruitment.  Without the people with the right skills, knowledge and, most importantly, attitude that fits both the job and your culture, ultimately, you won’t achieve the sales, hit the budgets, make the products or grow the business.  Agree?  No?  Let me explain.

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘Recruit for attitude, train for skill’.   I like the concept in principle but what exactly does ‘attitude’ mean?   In recruitment, this means that you need to analyse the right attitude as you understand it to identify the behaviours that demonstrate this.

Let’s take a sales position. Frequently, job advertisements for these roles look for highly-motivated, target-driven individuals with excellent interpersonal skills and drive.  So far so good, but did you know that according to the National Sales Executive Association, 80% of sales are made following 5 or more follow-up contacts?  So, what behaviours are required in addition to get the contact and convert it into a sale?  I would suggest that the difference that makes the difference between an average and high performing sales person include resilience, tenacity and perseverance.

How can you assess if your candidates have these behaviours?  It is widely accepted that past performance is a predictor of future performance.  At the interview, it is your responsibility to explore if the candidate has these behaviours by asking for examples that demonstrate successfully the behaviour being sought.  For example, ‘Can you tell me about a time when you had to be tenacious to achieve a goal?  What was the issue?  What exactly did you do?   What was the outcome?  What did you learn?  What, if anything, would you do differently?’

You will notice that open questions have been used to give the candidate as much opportunity as possible to provide evidence that they truly have demonstrated tenacity in the past (or not, as the case may be).   The example does not have to be job related.  If this is the first sales job that a candidate, maybe straight from college, has applied for their example may relate to previous employment or their education, such as the tenacity required to research and complete a successful assignment perhaps in challenging circumstances.

By assessing and scoring each candidate’s answers against the specific behaviours required for the job (no fewer than 3 and no more than 6), choose the person with the highest score as they will have demonstrated that they have the right behaviours.  However, the fit on its own is not enough.  You need to ensure an effective induction period so that the new recruit can be on-boarded with the appropriate training and support to transition smoothly into the job and the culture.  Regular monitoring and feedback throughout the probationary period are also essential to iron out any difficulties or problems, and don’t forget plenty of praise where appropriate as the new employee becomes more effective and valuable to the organisation.

As I said at the beginning, recruitment is a critical management responsibility to ensure that the right people with the right fit help you to achieve your business goals!

At Friary West we love recruitment and helping our clients, including training, to identify the right fit for their jobs and culture.  If you, or anybody you know, would like to talk to us further, we’d love to hear from you – we can be the difference that makes the difference for you!

Feel free to connect with our team on 01621 730824 or info@friarywest.co.uk, we’d love to support you in getting the results that you need.