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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Image from, which provides our tests

The screening process

We're getting ready for the final test for two prospective candidates to be our Ottawa salesperson. The recruiting 'funnel' is something like the sales funnel -- you start with 100 resumes, and hope to find one really good person to do the work.

Today, I had a teleconference meeting with our (currently small) team to decide on the working test. It needs to be fair, measurable, and allow for equal opportunity for both of the candidates. We will put the pieces together tomorrow, deliver the assignment and see how things go next Tuesday.

I've described our recruiting system elsewhere (See: Sales Recruiting -- our effective methodology) Its effectiveness is one reason I am confident for our business future and growth. It is enjoyable, especially, to turn the hiring conventions on their head, and modify them sufficiently so we can find the right people, without stressing ourselves out.

As an example of the system's effectiveness, we actually had three candidates on the short-list, as of yesterday. They answered the questionnaire well, showed initiative in communicating, and sounded good on our brief phone interview. Two of the candidates passed the online sales aptitude test with totally satisfactory results. I had high hopes for the third candidate -- in fact her responses and initiatives (I thought) showed her to be the best of the lot. But she flunked the test.

In the 'old days', I'm afraid,I would have allowed my subjective judgement to override the hard numbers. And certainly I used some subjective considerations to get to this stage. We went out the the way to give a chance to one candidate recommended by a departing employee, whose sales test results were inconclusive. But I didn't even administer the sales test to another candidate, recommended by a current part-time employee. I like to say I wasn't impressed by his questionnaire responses; but perhaps it is the once-burnt/twice shy reaction.

Next week, regardless, we'll put the two finalists through the test; if either of them stand out, we'll likely offer a temporary assignment pending reference checking and employment contract review. If both of them are great, I'll have an interesting problem; if neither of them are right, we'll go back to the drawing board -- we don't hire just because we have a space to fill -- we'll keep the job vacant rather than put in someone who isn't suitable.

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