Most companies spend more on hiring in sales than they do in any other part of the organization. With an average annual turnover rate of 25 to 30%, and direct replacement costs ranging from $75,000 to $300,000, there’s a big opportunity for hiring process improvement. It generally takes me 6-12 months to either replace or complete a new hire overseas. And it takes 6-12 months to onboard the new employee. Getting to break even usually occurs in 12-24 months. If it seems you are constantly looking and onboarding talent-you are. The only way I have found to short circuit the process is to start looking for talent before I need them.
What are some of the starting points in my hiring process?
1.Mapping out what makes a successful sales person in your organization. What traits do they have? What has been their background? What is most important in their particular market, geography and territory?
2.Time lining the interview process so that you can explain it to the candidates and your HQ team you want to participate in the interview process. This creates alignment of mutual expectations and will keep good candidates interested in the position.
3.Writing down the skill levels you are seeking. What are the needs to have e.g. driving license, citizenship in the territory; nice to haves e.g. secondary language skills, working from a home office. Candidates are not created equal so skills prioritization is necessary.
I build a standardized one- page competency profile and questions template for each interviewee. I score the candidate within 24 hours (usually 1 hour) of the interview and note the questions I would ask if I was to interview them again in the future. Scan it, file it-learn from it.
Remarkably, my best hire was one I went back to as a previously rejected candidate. I also usually develop a 30/90/180/360 list of task expectations based on previous hires so I am onboarding concurrently with recruiting and have mileage markers for each employee. At some point on this continuum the new employee will start taking this task responsibility and sharing it back.
Critical questions to ask yourself during the hiring process:
1.Will I be able to retain this person for 5 years? This is my breakeven point.
2.Will this person be a lifelong learner and be self -motivated? They will know their weak points far before you do-will they take their own corrective action? Are they proactive or reactive in their career development? I can only coach from afar and need to trust that person with all my heart and soul. That trust must be well placed.
3.What do I want to say about this candidate after 6 months on the job? At 3 months a mutual verbal or face to face review is essential-it is on them to get up to speed. At 6 months you reach the turning point in most countries on whether this is a long term hire. No harm no foul up until this point.
4.Will I want to speak them 1X/week? If I dread the conversation I may procrastinate and we will drift apart. It is better to address this issue now and make that call mutually beneficial.
5.What will they bring to make the whole sales team better? Will their colleagues want to help on board them and participate in training? There needs to be mutual respect and give and take on the team to improve overall results.
There is no magic bullet in hiring someone overseas as a remote employee. One should have a repeatable evergreen process in place however to measure results. The Manager must own the relationship and build upon it to make it successful. Be the protagonist-call them-visit them-support them. It is the best way I have uncovered to KEEP THEM. Good luck and good selling!
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