We’ve had a couple of adjustments to make between my 2 businesses lately. Namely, our top sales person based on revenue generated quit with 2 days notice… The day he provided his notice I launched 2 new radio ads that “indirectly” generated 6 leads in the first day he was out of the office. I say indirectly because none of the appointments have been run yet so I don’t have any feedback from our sales professionals as to the prospect’s reason for calling. Obviously asking them how they heard about us is a waste of time, which is why both ads have a specific offer only available by mentioning the ad. 😉
At any rate, there are a few important aspects to recruiting:
- ALWAYS be recruiting.
- Have a plan so when you find the perfect person you can impress them.
- Have a basic job description that you then tailor to that “perfect” person.
When people ask me if we’re hiring my standard response is “we’re always looking for great team members.” Finding loyal, hard-working, reliable team members is one of the hardest parts of business so if you meet the “perfect” person for your team while visiting another business are you really going to sit by and do nothing? Great people pay for themselves. Granted, you may not have a spot in your current business right that moment however you may have one over the next few months or years as your business matures. Heck, you may even buy a business for that perfect person to run. I personally had someone recruit me for over 5 years before I called them up one day and said “so do you still have an opportunity for me?” (of course he did).
So now that your eyes are open, how do you know they’re “perfect” for the team? Moreover, how can you make sure they’re “perfect”?
This is where my opinions differ a bit from Brad Sugars, Michael Gerber, Michael Masterson and even Marcus Buckingham (their books are all in my Recommended Reading section). Actually I agree with all of them as well – I just decided to blend their philosophies…
Before we get into the job description, you absolutely MUST have your Vision, Mission, and Points of Culture. Not only is it crucial for you to make sure you find someone who can fit into that culture, it has been the absolute best recruiting tool I possess. When you bring out your Points of Culture during the interview process, people are impressed. They immediately respect your attention to detail, focus on ethics, and business savvy. If for no other reason than it seems to be common sense, yet they’ve never seen anyone else do anything like that. 🙂
Back to the job description… Make sure you have one for every open position in your company. That description does not have to be extremely detailed, but it should include at least the top 3 responsibilities for that position (that’s a Brad Sugar’s concept though I can’t remember from which book), compensation, team members for whom they will be responsible, and a general description of their overall purpose are necessary prior to an interview. My descriptions also include a section for “Test and Measure” where I list specific numbers they’ll be responsible for improving through testing and measuring. For instance, Average Dollar Sale, Closing Ratio, Daily Break-even, etc. may all be important “Test and Measure” concepts for a particular position. It’s my responsibility as the Team Leader to provide them with those numbers and provide the education and resources necessary to improve them.
So your pre-interview job description may look something like this:
Compensation: Fifteen percent commission of all gross sales with a target of $50,000 in sales per month.
General Responsibility: Generate new revenue for the business by presenting the best solutions to our target market.
- Present products to clients and prospects
- Generate leads on your own in addition to those generated through our marketing
- Ensure that every client is so happy they’re excited to provide referrals
Test and Measure:
- Average Dollar Sale for your sales
- Average # of transactions per year per customer
- Closing ratio
The need for those basic points is simply to make sure you are being realistic in your search for the perfect person. It’s basically common sense things like you wouldn’t try to recruit someone making $50,000 per year for a $10/hour position even if they are perfect. The job description ensures that you’re focused on the person with the proper traits.
Now here’s the important part, after you find that person, interview them, and learn a bit about their passions, talents, and skills, you need to expand on your job description to ensure that new recruit will be doing what they do best as often as possible (Marcus Buckingham harps on that in all of his books).
For instance, my current openings are in sales. Your stereotypical sales professional can’t stand paperwork, is rather disorganized, but is extremely outgoing, excellent at building rapport quickly, reading people, and isn’t afraid to ask for an order. That type of personality would lend to having all appointments, follow-ups, paperwork etc. handled by someone other than the sales professional so they can just focus on getting in front of prospects. His job description might include generating new business by cold-calling or canvassing because he enjoys the challenge. However, what happens if you find a talented sales professional who is organized, loves to know how a business works, enjoys building longer-term relationships, and even feels comfortable documenting what they do. Well you write up her job description to focus on setting up relationships with complementary businesses who can be constant lead sources, you have her document the steps she took to build those relationships, and for the most part you don’t require her to do any cold-calling or canvassing because if she’s not passionate about it she won’t be good at it anyway. If possible, you probably still want someone else in your office managing the paperwork, appointments, etc. however a person with that type of personality may be more effective juggling her own schedule because of her highly-organized nature.
This is where I differ a bit from Michael Gerber who focuses on creating your organizational chart right from the beginning with full job descriptions. The chances of you finding the person who fits your detailed job description perfectly on every point is nearly impossible. If Michael Gerber had actually ever owned a business before writing his book he would know that. 😉
Michael Masterson, on the other hand, teaches that all of your top-level people should have the same job description – “Whatever is best for the customer”. Sorry, that’s just a prescription for chaos… Reference my blog on the lessons 5-6 year olds taught me for a better analysis of why.
In summary, ALWAYS be looking for new recruits, be prepared to set yourself apart from any other business the recruit has ever dealt with, and then tailor your job description to focus on her doing whatever she does best as often as possible.
To your success, Bryan