Hiring Applicants: 5 Deadly Sins of Even Savvy Managers

In this competitive and litigious marketplace, small details in human resources can make or break a company.

Even though an organization’s performance matters, many managers unfortunately take shortcuts in the hiring process.

The reasons range from being too busy for due diligence in screening resumes to inability to take sober looks at applicants in the interview process.

This can drastically affect businesses’ cultures such as leading to lack of teamwork, inattention to details or poor customer service. Ultimately, profits are adversely affected.

All positions in the organizational chart, including receptionists, are important.

For instance, if a furniture retailer hires the first person to walk in the door to work in the warehouse, the wrong employee will hurt customer service and sales – either in the slow delivery of products or the delivery of wrong products.

Managers need to avoid five deadly sins:

Inadequate checking of references

True, in our litigious environment, businesspeople are increasingly reluctant to answer questions and to give accurate information.

But a skilled boss knows how to call the applicants’ former bosses and references about specific matters to ask open-ended questions, not close-ended questions. In this way, they get better answers.

Moreover, the questions should correspond to an HR tool: A reference-verification form.

The form asks the applicants questions such as how they believe their former companies will evaluate them in precise matters.

In this way, the bosses can compare the applicants’ answers to the answers of the former employers.

Complacency about honesty

Many bosses are too complacent about honesty and attitudes. The right applicants are people who want to do a job well. Don’t settle for just anybody who can do the job.

Astute bosses won’t focus on trying to catch applicants in lies. They have a process to help them determine that will prompt applicants to tell the truth.

Assuming applicants who interview the best will perform the best

Not true. Consider this fact: Applicants, who are mesmerizing in their interview answers, typically have the most experience in answering questions.

They’ve had lots of coaching and practice in smiling and answering obvious questions.

Case study:

As a business-performance consultant with a home office, I’ve had to be very careful in hiring personal assistants. I asked people I trusted for referrals. Once, I asked for a referral from the owner of my dry cleaners, who had been doing an outstanding job on my apparel.

She recommended a retired Air Force mechanic to me. But on the surface, there were some reasons for me not to hire the person. She appeared to be very shy with no bookkeeping experience.

But I saw something special in her. She was due diligent in showing up for the interview, asked good questions and asked her husband to interview me as the employer. Upon getting his blessing, she accepted the job.

Not only did she prove to be honest, accurate and extraordinarily dedicated in managing my receivables and payables, she did a stellar job in other unrelated tasks for three years.

She literally saved me a lot of time and money by performing at a high level. Years later, I’m told she launched her own business based on her experience in working at my firm. That’s a very proud memory for me.

The moral: Always keep an open mind to consider all factors.

Failure to place a high value on each position

If you hold your applicants to highest-realistic standards, you’ll benefit from their performances.

On the other hand, if you don’t place a high value on positions – at all levels – the employees will get the impression they don’t matter.

You should want people who want to perform well at the best company.

Overconfidence in hiring

If your instinct about an applicant is positive, look for every possible reason to disqualify the person. Don’t ever make a snap judgment in hiring. Make absolutely certain the person is right for the job.

On the other hand, if your instinct is not to hire an applicant, don’t. Always keep in mind this adage, “When in doubt, don’t.”

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Hiring An Impact Person Starts with Screening Resumes — 5 Tips — If you want to hire an impact person, your hiring process is really important. The place to start is using best practices in screening resumes.

Risk Management in Hiring: Pre-Employment Screening Tips — Here are two questions about hiring: 1) what’s the biggest mistake companies make in hiring employees; and 2) what’s the biggest legal obstacle employers face in hiring? Here’s what to do about background screening.

Hiring a Personal Assistant? Hire for 8 Qualities — The right choice of a personal assistant can make a huge difference in your operation. Basically, you need someone who can manage you – represent you well in a variety of tasks – an assistant who can make you look good.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Hiring? 4 Pointers on Negotiating Wages with Applicants — Some employers have had difficulty in successfully extending job offers to applicants, especially Millennial professionals. Here’s what to do.

“If hard work is the key to success, most people would rather pick the lock.” 
-Claude McDonald


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling

Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff.

So you might wish to consider the latest strategies of a globally known sales trainer, Roy Chitwood, who is based in Seattle.

He says salespeople often commit seven crucial errors. Mr. Chitwood, of Max Sacks International, has the credentials to address the topic – more 250,000 salespeople at 3,000 companies in 18 countries have used his sales counsel.

He’s released a white paper, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Sin No 1: Talking too much, listening too little. The typical salesperson walks into an office, gives the official two minute warm-up – asking about the fish on the wall or the family photo on the desk – then, like a high diver, leaps into a hot presentation about this feature and that feature, the options available, the price and the savings.

There is no close. Most interviews are terminated by the prospect so they can get on with their life. Knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them is the only way to find out if you’re making a presentation to the person with the real need, the authority and the money.

Sin No 2: Selling the product, not the benefits. When someone buys a drill bit, it’s not the drill bit the customer wants, it’s the hole. People buy to fill a need or solve a problem. No one is willing to pay for a product or service they don’t need or does not perform. Yet salespeople sell as if they will. Presentations continually focus on the width, height, weight, power, speed, buttons, bulbs or whatever of the product/service.

Whether they’re individuals or committees, people buy benefits, not features. Prospects have hidden buying motives. There are reasons why they select one brand over another, why one product/service seems to fill the need better.

Ninety percent of selling is conviction, and 10 per cent is persuasion.

-Shiv Khera

Sin No 3: Never asking for the order. As a prominent study proved, more often than not, customers don’t have to worry about a pressured close, because in 62 percent of the cases, the salesperson never asks for a sale. For most salespeople, selling is an uncomfortable experience because they don’t know where to go in their presentations.

When prospects say “I would like to think it over,” “Your price is too high,” “I want to shop around,” what they’re really saying is, “You haven’t convinced me to buy.”

Sin No 4: Pushing for the close too often, the salesperson tries to “sell” rather than help the customer “buy.” When the salesperson is ready the trick closes begin. These old closes and gimmicks are outdated and backfire more often than they work. The prospect has fears, uncertainties and doubts about the decision to spend money, and when closed too soon, reacts negatively to being forced to makea decision.

Pushing too hard means the salesperson is forcing the prospect to build a defensive wall that won’t come down easily. Following the sequence of a well- given presentation means asking for the order will be at the right time.

Sin No 5: Wasting selling time. Selling is a problem for most salespeople because they don’t know how to spend their time profitably. Selling is prospecting, cold calling and obtaining leads. It is traveling to meet strange people, having to send emails and proposals, make phone calls and hand out brochures. It is doing the paperwork and servicing the client.

There is only one way to insure you get to the close, and that’s by having a logical sales procedure. This is why the salesperson should learn the buyer’s decision-making process.

Sin No. 6: Not identifying prospects from suspects. There are many people who will listen to a sales presentation. It may make them feel important or help them fill their time. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t help the salesperson get any nearer to the sale. In fact, it takes the salesperson further away from the sale because time has been wasted and the point-of-entry into a company has been mismanaged.

Presenting to people who are not qualified is just that – presenting. It is not selling. And a company or a salesperson can’t make a profit by just presenting. Probably the greatest misuse of a salesperson’s time is presenting to someone who doesn’t have the need, the authority or the money.

Sin No. 7: Making a sale, not a customer. A professional salesperson is someone who helps a prospect satisfy a need. And most importantly, your company can count on the loyalty of a new client – one that will return with repeat and increasing orders. For many salespeople, just getting the sale is the only objective.

To accomplish this end, they use whatever means are available – assumptive closes, high pressure tactics, promises of extra incentives, threats of price increases or whatever other tricks are in the bag. Salespeople like this sometimes walk out with a sale, but they don’t sign on customers. In fact, the customers may be so resentful of the pressure and tricks, they may rethink their commitments.

Mr. Chitwood’s Web site: www.maxsacks.com. (Mr. Chitwood also has sagacious advice if you’re discouraged in job hunting and need powerful tips for the best job.)

From the Coach’s Corner, see these resources for productive selling:

Sales Secrets for Getting by Receptionists, Gatekeepers — Getting past receptionists and other gatekeepers is a universal challenge for salespeople. Successful salespeople, however, have the right insights and approaches for success. Here’s how they do it.

11 Sales Strategies to Outsell Your Big Competitors — Big companies have obvious advantages over small businesses. Their brands are well-known. They can afford sales training, sales-support staff and customer-relationship management software. On the other hand, there are good reasons why Cyber Monday has become big.

8 Tips for Cold Calling By E-mail and Telephone — Since the advent of the digital age, cold calling is out of vogue for many people. But in the tepid economic recovery no matter what your industry is – whether it’s advertising or staffing services – cold calling has become the logical tool to use to generate clients or business customers.

6 Sales Tips for Successful Cold Calling — Attending mere networking events or depending on a high marketing budget aren’t sufficient for strong sales. OK, cold calling isn’t always easy, but you must if you want to dramatically increase sales in double-digit percentages. Develop and implement the right strategies. You’ll be in the all-important groove for a happy buying environment.

B2B Telemarketing: Your 1st Priority Is to Build Trust — Telemarketing is, of course, a challenge. You must create a favorable first impression in your initial approach. This means building trust should be your primary goal. Here’s how.

“The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has.”



Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo credit: www.mconnors.com

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.