The success of a new hire is very important for the success of an entire company. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, once estimated his own bad hires have cost the company well over $100 million. Beyond monetary loss, a bad hire can also dampen team morale. According to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, “one subpar employee can throw an entire department into disarray. Team members end up investing their own time into training someone who has no future with the company.”
To ensure the success of a new hire, you must find a candidate that is a good match with your company culture. To do this, you have to first understand your company culture and what you’re truly looking for in the candidate, and then determine the candidate’s personal attributes and how they will fit in.
Let’s say, for instance, we have an open sales position that needs to be filled. Here are some steps you should follow to ensure your sales hire will be a good one:
Understand your office culture and style
Take a look at how the team works together. Are they collaborative or independent with their work and decisions? If it’s generally an “every man for himself” situation, you need to find a candidate who can handle and thrive in this type of culture.
Consider the different roles within your workplace and figure out how those will impact the position you are looking to fill. Many times a sales position requires a lot of time on the phone or on the road, so they may not interact as often with other teams. If this is the case, you may require someone who is very likeable and can easily jump back into the mix, even after being out of the office for days or even months at a time.
Define what you need beyond the job description
The job description is fine for giving candidates an understanding of what you are looking for, but to understand what you need, you have to dig a little deeper. Since this sales position may require a lot of client-facing time, the candidate’s personal style needs to not only mesh well with the organization, but also with the clients they will be interacting with. Note how sociable and agile they are and whether or not they seem to be open enough and able to get along with different groups of people.
Consider bringing in someone with a fresh perspective and a different approach. Hiring people with the same personality attributes may make hiring a little easier, but a new perspective could really make a positive difference within your culture. It is a good goal to find someone who fits well within the current culture of your organization, but you may decide to look for someone who is a little outside of the company’s cookie-cutter image.
Uncover the candidate’s attributes to determine a good fit
Once you have a thorough understanding of the needs of the position, you can then determine the specific personality traits or attributes for which to look. Referencing these attributes can help you make a successful hire, along with asking behavioral questions to determine a candidate’s personality.
In a sales position, the following attributes should be considered:
- How do they conform to certain rules, situations, teams and individual people? Are they more comfortable following a certain set of rules, or can they manage themselves without strict rules to follow? Less conformity may be more difficult to manage, but can be a good attribute for a salesperson.
- Can they make quick, intuitive decisions, or do they require time to process and build a good argument? If someone isn’t comfortable making decisions themselves, that could be challenging for someone in a sales position as there tends to be a lot of “on-the-fly” decision-making needed.
- Can they be persuasive without being too pushy or abrasive? Those with true persuasive skills are typically able to stimulate actions in others, equating to closed deals. This attribute also requires good listening skills because you must have a good understanding of the initial concerns or arguments to order alter their decision.
- Do they have an innate ability to be sociable with others and strike a conversation without making them feel uncomfortable? These skilled conversationalists can be very successful in a sales position.
- Can they handle the competitive environment of sales, and are they motivated by incentives? Some salespeople are highly motivated by money, others by recognition, and others just by selling something they truly believe in. Whether it is one or all of these factors, try to determine what drives them and whether you can provide it.
Make sure you avoid the monetary and emotional loss your entire team or company could face by hiring the wrong person. Start by understanding your workplace culture and what you truly need from the position. That way, you can more effectively observe the attributes for each candidate that will be important to success on the job. This will ultimately enable you to find the perfect candidate for the position and your company culture.
No mater what, when hiring someone new your company culture is going to change. Whether or not that means it will be a good fit or not depends on the company and the person you are hiring. It is important to bring someone in who is going to benefit our company and get along with others. It is also important that once they get onboard, team leaders give them feedback on a regular basis and it should not be done only on a quarterly basis. This will keep employees motivated and engaged, especially if they are always in contact with team leaders. Here at Onboardly, we use a feedback tool called 15Five (15Five.com) to do so. Our team leaders create a short 15 minute questionnaire with questions they choose and it takes them no more than five minutes to read over and provide feedback to employees. It is a tool that works well for us in providing feedback or sharing concerns to team leaders in a professional way.