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ISM Article

A Formula for Staff Selection

5 Dec, 2012 By: Rich Sissen imageSource

There are a variety of methods to selecting key personnel; a good HR director, a credible referral, a top notch draft pick…okay, maybe the last one isn’t reliable in the business world, so let’s talk about the triangular business relationship to best illustrate the elements that create a successful selection for a new hire. For example, if you are a manager attempting to make a people decision, there are three critical elements you have to ascertain in order to determine whether or not to make a job offer. If you can tell prior to hire, the “can-do” vs. the “will-do” or the “team fit” of a candidate, you’ll dramatically increase your chances for success.


A good selection system is going to show you how to get the answers to three critical questions. What I call the ECS System of Success by Selection does, is show you how the lack of any of those elements will limit your ability to make successful decisions. Let’s define a successful selection decision. First, successful selection means that the hiring manager selects a candidate who can perform the job at a minimum level of acceptable production and stay with the company at least through their second year. Anything less than the above means the hiring manager is not achieving success as selector of people. Please understand that the three elements of “can-do,” “will-do” and “team fit” are synergistic. A synergism is when the combination of two or more elements results in something greater than the sum of those elements.

In a good system you need to illustrate how the lack of or limiting of any key elements will reduce your ratio of success. For instance, if you have a candidate who has the “can-do” and the “team fit” but a very low degree of “will-do” ability, the candidate’s success opportunity will by limited by the lack of “will-do” and not by the amount of the other two elements they bring to the job. By the same token, another person can have the right amount of “will-do” and “team fit” and lack the basic “can-do” ability. Again, it is the lack of that element that limits the degree of success a candidate will achieve in the job. It is the significant or the correct amount of the three success keys that allows people to achieve success. You need to train managers to understand these equations in order to recognize how the candidate will relate with your job environment.

Behaviors Must Fit the Job

About 25 percent of people within the general population would be characterized as having a strong interest in other people, a high degree of sociability, and a desire to be influential in dealing with other individuals. However, to say that you merely select someone because of their strong sociability, say for a sales job, doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get the kind of person you want to handle your sales. As a manager or owner you realize that a typical sales job has a high element of conflict and rejection along with a high degree of self motivation. If you were to select someone who had high sociability yet the behavior pattern of a country club manager, they would not function well at all in a situation that required a person to handle conflict, rejection, and staying motivated to achieve success. The fact is - if you are interested in hiring salespeople, you are surrounded by a general population in which only one to two percent will actually fit your job situation from the viewpoint of having the correct behavior for the job position offered.

Your percentages are ever further reduced when you consider that of the one to two percent of the people who have the correct behavior pattern, many will not have the “will-do” – the desire to get involved and do what is needed in the job, regardless they have some key components. Add to the above the fact that you have a very distinct job environment. Your company culture has certain ethics and beliefs that are constantly reinforced or rejected. Some of the people who have the “can-do” as it relates to the correct behavior pattern will not have the value system personality to fit comfortably within your company. Look at the hiring picture from a holistic viewpoint to realize just how difficult it can be to consistently make good hiring decisions. Let’s face it…there is no return on the capital investment in people unless you get people to stay for the second year. A realist would say, “Some people succeed because they are destined to. Most people succeed because they are determined to.”

The Formula of Selling

The triangular relationship as it applies to selling is one of attitude, skill, and knowledge. The shortest side of this relationship controls the overall effectiveness of the individual in the job. Within that thought is the essence of the fault that lies with product knowledge training. Far too many companies in our channel, both technology-oriented as well as service oriented, think that knowing more about the product or service is going to increase the effectiveness of their sales rep’s presentation. The fact that product knowledge gets stronger does not necessarily increase the seller’s ability to make a presentation. You want to train effectively to get to the point where the sales rep is knowledgeable on all things including the product; that he is part of the efficiency and value-add, as is the company, as well as the product itself. Often, the classical sales behavior is not one that is highly detail oriented. When companies don’t enhance the typical skill set of sales reps further and periodically as needed, nothing spectacular will likely result.

Attitude Is Everything

The greatest of our human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances. When a person’s attitude has been reduced or has become negative, there is little to help that individual – unless they want to be helped. You’ve got to affect a good attitude, you have to be willing to create an environment or program that says attitude is everything, especially in sales. Top performers know that the glass is half-full, not half-empty. It all depends on how one sees it. Top performers seek to be on fire with ideas, game plans, reinventing the wheel. They choose to believe before others believe. If they believe that they can’t do something then the company won’t prosper. It doesn’t make any difference what things really are, if your salespeople think things are positive or they can turn things around, they will likely succeed in most instances. The attitudes they have are a positive reflection of what “might happen” and they are going to positively affect their customers, clients, prospects, associates, and managers with their enthusiasm. You can train people to transmit a positive attitude even if they inwardly do not possess it; having them adopt it and using it as a sales tactic. Basically, even when our attitude isn’t “real,” it can convey intent.

Training for Quality

The buzz word tossed around by most management is “quality.” Let’s consider quality training. Quality is in the eye of the beholder. When you satisfy an individual’s needs regarding attitude, skill, knowledge, service, product, company, market, etc., you are structuring the quality of product, services, and even a training situation. The quality situation is enhanced by what others think of it. It is important what you, the manager think about a particular situation, it is also important what I think about a situation, but what is really important is what they, the client, thinks about that situation…the product, the training program, how it relates to that customer. It is then “quality or it not” based upon how they think of it. When they become “on fire” with the idea of good quality in what they are doing or getting, they relate it to everyone else. The result usually drives processes and profits up which then translate to a quality deal.




About the Author: Rich Sissen


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