Monday, January 09, 2006

Finding the right people with the write stuff

Everyone I know in business complains about how hard it is to find good salespeople.

Sure, talent is rare. But are you doing your best to make sure the sales people you hire can really do the job?

In her recent e-mail newsletter, “Something for Nothing,” Toronto sales coach Nicki Weiss offers 8 Overlooked Ways To Hire Winners. Knowing that so many sales managers despair of their staff’s written communication skills, I was particularly impressed by Nicki’s third point. It’s simple to do and oh, so powerful…

"Hand the candidate a sheet of paper, right here, right now.

"Hiring someone who seems great, then finding out that he or she doesn’t have basic writing, analytical or organizing skills, can cost a lot in extra training or in another candidate search. As part of your interview process, hand each candidate a blank sheet of paper. Ask them to hand-write why they are a sales superstar; what they would do in the first 30, 60 or 90 days on the job; and what it will take for them to be successful.

"You will see the quality of their writing, their level of skill in analyzing and problem-solving, and their ability to organize their thoughts. This information is priceless."

Not everyone has the guts to ask candidates to jump through hoops such as this one. But if you’re looking for specific skills, never take them on faith. Identify the key characteristics you’re looking for in your people, and build them into your interview/assessment process.

Otherwise, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

For more on coach and consultant Nicki Weiss, see

No comments: