Does Your Hiring Process Stack Up Against Pro Football’s?
The NFL draft is fast approaching. Professional football teams have invested tremendous sums of time and money in scouting, testing, interviewing, assessing and grading elite college players in an effort to hire those who have the skills and potential to help their teams succeed on the field and win championships. How much time and money do you invest in your sales hiring process?
Pro teams amass a mountain of data about the past performance and the future potential of each of the young men that they select in their annual player draft, and yet, when that day arrives, the best that these experienced evaluators of talent and potential can say is that they are making what could best be called “educated guesses” about the players that they select. Only 30% of the first round picks in the draft are ever selected to the Pro Bowl team even once in their career (which is the all-star event that I’ll compare to making President’s Club for a salesperson.)
Does that sound familiar? How many of your top sales hires have become superstars at your company? 30%? Or fewer?
If pro football’s hard-nosed, experienced evaluators of potential talent are so often proven wrong, what does that say about your hiring process?
Let’s compare how the pros evaluate potential draft picks to your hiring process.
A) Teams employ scouts (or scouting services) that spend their autumn weekends attending a lot of college football games in an effort to identify players who they think have the potential to play at the professional level. and succeed in the NFL.
B) Are you, or members of your management team, regularly networking with potential sales hires? Are you building a list of salespeople that you’ve met, or competed against, that you think would be a good fit for particular needs you have on your sales team and could succeed in your sales environment?
A) Teams employ evaluators to watch video of virtually every play a player was involved in during their college career in order to assess their skills and potential to succeed at the next level.
B) Do you ever see potential sales candidates “in action?” before you make the hiring decision?
A) At the Combine (which is like a big job fair for the draft-eligible college players that the various pro teams agreed had the highest potential to succeed in their league) team officials subject the players to a blizzard of personality testing, aptitude testing and extensive interviews.
B) Are you utilizing off the shelf tools like sales assessment tests to help you gauge the suitability of a candidate for your position? These assessments provide a valuable data point to incorporate into your decision making about a sales candidate.
A) A player’s job specific knowledge is also tested. In interviews with a player, coaches will map out scenarios about certain game situations and ask the player to describe in detail what their responsibilities would be in those situations, how they would react and what actions they would take.
B) Are you testing for the specific product and industry knowledge that a salesperson must possess in order to succeed at your company?
A) The players are physically tested at the Combine. They are run through a series of drills to demonstrate how fast, quick, agile, explosive and just plain strong they are. Players also showcase their talents in private workouts for teams. In these workouts the players are put through drills that require them to demonstrate mastery of the skills that are specific to the role that they could play for that team.
B) Are you testing the sales skills of candidates before you make a hiring decision? For instance, if they need to make cold calls or formal sales presentations, are you testing their skills in these areas as part of your interview and evaluation process?
A) The teams and the NFL conduct extensive reference and background checks on the players before they make a draft decision.
B) Are you just going through the motions with your reference checks? And, like most managers, are you conducting reference checks only after you have already decided to hire a specific individual?
Only after this exhaustive process of collecting and analyzing all of this data do teams begin the process of deciding who they want to hire for their team via the draft.
How Does Your Process Stack Up To The NFL’s?
If pro football’s sophisticated and extensive player evaluation process yields unpredictable results, in terms of the productivity of the new hire once they are on the job, what does it say about your sales hiring process?
- Are you using predictive tools, such as personality and aptitude testing, to assess the potential of sales candidates?
- Are you formally testing candidates for their product knowledge and industry expertise?
- Are you thoroughly testing candidates for the job skills that you believe are required to succeed in a sales position at your company?
- Do you test their written communications skills?
- Do you require them to make a sales presentation to you?
- Do you perform role-playing about certain sales situations?
- Are you conducting reference checks early in the interview process before you make a decision about the candidate?
- Most importantly, are you measuring the success of your sales hiring process? And refining it to make it more effective?
So, how does your sales hiring process compare to the pros?
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