What the NFL Draft Can Teach You About Finding the Best Talent
In the first of this two-part series we are exploring three of seven objectives to keep in mind while securing the best employees for your business. Join us next month as we wrap up with the last four objectives to an effective recruiting, hiring and induction system.
Every year at this time the NFL talent search is in full swing as scouts, coaches and owners strive to upgrade their team’s performance. Starting at season’s end they dissect results at every level to identify the gaps and needs for the coming season and how best to fill those gaps. Each of the 32 teams only has 53 slots to field a team that can win the division and make the playoffs.
Of all the priorities you face building a successful business, one priority has to be establishing a successful sales team. The primary purpose of any successful business is to attract and retain customers, so it is logical that a talented team has to be high on an owner’s and leader’s priority list.
As with professional sports, your goal is to get the right people in the right seats and select a candidate who has the best chance of being successful for you.
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A proven recruiting, hiring and induction system should be based on seven specific effective objectives. Here we discuss the first three, and we will take a deep dive into the other four objectives next month.
Objective No. 1: Win the talent war
Start with your growth goals. Depending on the number of openings, the right hire can have dramatic impact on your results.
Growing a business provides a continuous opportunity to energize and engage your whole team and help you attract the proven performers you need on your sales team. Your story as a growing company is attractive in a market where employee engagement is a major cause for top performers to look for new opportunities. Your recruiting process needs to intercept with those who are actively looking.
Start your recruiting process with the goal of hiring the talent you will need to deliver your revenue growth trajectory over the next 12 to 36 months. Think like an investor and put your money in the best spot for revenue growth.
You have X number of openings now or in the coming months—what kind of talent do you need? Are you dependent on “top performers” for a majority of your sales? Do you have real growth opportunities over the next 12 months? Do you have a specific sales talent gap and do you have the talent you need to capture these opportunities?
What do you need to do differently to attract and hire the best talent who can do the job and win? The process of recruiting is a major challenge for business owners and leaders. Like any process in your business, improving the performance of your sales recruiting process is an ongoing exercise.
Start with where you are today.
Objective No. 2: Develop a sales candidate “profile”
As we are learning from our marketing experts, the development and use of a customer profile helps a company understand what the perfect buyer needs and wants. The same process can work for attracting the perfect sales candidate. Your profile must take you beyond the experience listed on a resume and LinkedIn or found in a background check.
What is the profile of a top performing B2B sales person? The best performers consistently get the sales job done so it is essential that your candidate profile identifies the things your top talent does consistently to win.
Identify the behaviors and attitudes that proven performers display. Are the candidates comfortable with winning, goal achievement, money, success and a desire to win, or are they insecure and have limiting beliefs that undermine performance and make them complacent at a certain level of success? Do their personal beliefs, values, attitudes, biases and behaviors that impact success align with your company culture and values?
Do they need to remain calm and confident to make sound decisions when under stress or in chaotic situations? Do they need to be adaptable, accept feedback, be coachable and willing to learn and change?
Define the proven skills you need now and in the future. Past success may not always guarantee future success in a new environment so the interviews have to uncover areas of concern. The profile and your interview process help reveal the hidden sales weaknesses of a salesperson. Your process needs to identify the strengths and the weaknesses in order to determine their potential for getting the sales job done. Create a candidate scoring and ranking system that allows your interview team to keep score at every stage.
Objective No. 3: Attract and recruit the talent that fits your profile
Now that you have a candidate profile, you need to develop an attraction plan similar to the ones used for customers. As with attracting customers, talent recruiting is a two-way interview process. The question for the candidate is, “Why should I want to work for you?”
As you are assessing and evaluating candidates, candidates are evaluating you against their current employer as well as others looking to upgrade their teams. The purpose, reputation and “brand” of your company—the job, the career, and earning potential, as well as the environment and culture of your company—are part of the candidate’s evaluation.
The goal of the job advertising process is to attract resumes that best fit your criteria and help you find “fully formed" adults who have the competencies you need; they fit your culture and they demonstrate the positive attitudes, behaviors and passion to get the job done consistently.
The goal of your advertising strategy is to grab their attention, get them interested and attract qualified prospects who are currently working but are actively looking for something better. Why you? Is your opportunity better?
The best hiring decisions come down to your needs against a profile that details the proven skills, attitude and behaviors and the fit with the unique culture of your company. Stay tuned for objectives four through seven next month!
Wayne Bergman is a business and executive coach and founder of Consistent Business Growth. Questions or comments about this piece? Email him directly at email@example.com.