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One of my companies had only one responsible for sales. The fast growth of our volume and market share indicates that we must hire another sales guy.

I have of course involved my sales responsible in the process as he will be in charge of coaching and training the new guy. It also will be a good opportunity for him to "grow-up", manage someone, and take new responsibilities (we have two other major development projects I would like him to work on).

After a serie of interviews (greatly heped by MT advices !), one person stays on the list.

I would hire him because he is an experienced sales rep, very organized and I feel he would add a new way of doing things to our "selling culture".
My responsible is not so sure : his arguments are that the guy has another culture, is different than we are, asks a lots of questions, etc.

I said the following to my sales responsible : "I would be okay to hire this guy, but I won't do it if you say "no", because YOU will be responsible for his success".

My concerns is : he has no experience of hiring and managing. So he feels that hiring "a copy of himself" will insure success because himself has a lots of success in sales.

At the same time, I don't want to influence too much the decision because I want him to make the decision and take responsibilities !

I would appreciate your comments about this situation. Should I give him more arguments, or should I let him decide alone ? Even letting him do a mistake or loose time by looking for what does not exist ?

Thanks.

wendii's picture

Hi Cedwat

Whenever I have a problem like this with my hiring managers I try to take them through a process of making a rational decision, rather than an emotional one. If they can tell me why, rationally, with evidence, they don't want to or do want to hire someone, and they can tell me that they know, understand and can deal with the pitfalls, I let them make their own decision. Most times they end up agreeing with me!

Firstly, I'd go back to the list of skills and experiences you made when you decided you needed this person. You did make a list didn't you? :-) If not, quickly make one now. Then together with your direct go through the list and mark this candidate 1-5 against each skill. You need to talk through the evidence together to get a mark. So it might sound like:

Customer Focus. Well, he gave an example of the customer who had had a bad experience of the company and didn't want to buy. He had three conversations with that guy and got an order, followed through with delivery which made sure the order went well and the customer has since bought $1M from them. I think that's a really good example - shall we mark him 5?

Your direct might come round after this thinking. If not, stage 2 is to play devils advocate to all his negative reasons. For example, your direct doesn't think this guy knows your culture. Well, that's true of anyone you bring in, did the guy show signs of understanding cultures of his current company or his customers? If he is aware, then he will probably adapt.

He's different to you? Well, group think can be a really bad thing, different people bring different ideas, different approaches which can solve some of the problems you have currently, your direct already deals with Bill in finance who's really different to him, and they get on fine.

And so on. If this doesn't work then there's stage 3 - manipulation!

You know, if you don't take this guy we have to go through all this again, and you'll be on your own covering all the customers for another 3 months. Recruiting wisdom says take a 75% fit. But direct, it's up to you, and I'll back your decision.

If he really doesn't want to take him, has made a rational decision, then I wouldn't force him. If it doesn't work out, and it probably won't because he'll approach it negatively from the start then you've damaged your relationship with your direct. Sometimes, it's better that they learn the lesson themself.

I hope that's helpful.

Wendii

cwatine's picture

Wendii,

Merci beaucoup, for this long answer. I liked your 3 stages approach (except stage 3).

We already went through the rational process (your stage 1): the guy clearly fits the job, on paper and experience.

So the only "no" we have are not rational or factual ... In fact, there is no clear "no". If there was one, I would have stopped the process.

My (future) manager raises some "and what if ?" or "perhaps" or "I have a few doubts about ..."
To be more specific, his doubts are : "here, we sell with creativity", "in this business, what maked a difference is the capacity to improvise ...". "This guy could be too rigid", etc.

I also went through stage 2 : devils advocate, because I really think this guy could be a good addition to the team, and he seems to have a capacity to adapt.

But if I continue to play the devils advocate, I will go to stage 3 (manipulation) : and I DON'T WANT to go there.

Why ? Lets imagine my (future) manager finally says "Yes", there are chance he'd say so because I wanted him to say it.
And ... If there are some difficulties after ... And there WILL be difficulties ... He will not feel responsible for that !

So maybe the best way should be to help him making the decision by asking :
- "what are your points against this hiring ?"
- "how can you overcome them ?"
- "do you think we can find another guy with as much good points, and none of those bad points ?"

It is not manipulation, is it ? :oops:

wendii's picture

Hi

I get the feeling you don't like the term 'manipulation'! I'm sorry, I was trying to be funny, and maybe it doesn't translate as well to the page. I see it as trying to help him make a good decision.. but you are right, I wouldn't go as far as having him say yes to please me. When I normally work with hiring managers they are way way way senior to me, so feel no need to make me happy!

I would go through stage 3 as you describe it, in a way that makes you comfortable, but let him make the final decision. Good or bad, he has to make it, the lessons we learn from our mistakes are the most important we make.

Wendii

Mark's picture

First off, that's not manipulation, it's persuasion. The difference is in purity of intent.

MY thought is that in THIS situation you are delegating an enormously important company decision to someone who has never done this before, and that's ineffective. Saying you won't hire someone he disagrees with means he is the ONLY decision maker, particularly if it goes on longer.

This person is YOUR company's hire...it's your call. You've got more work to do with your direct before giving him veto authority over your company's future sales. Hiring his twin is NOT the right answer.

Mark

cwatine's picture

[quote]I'm sorry, I was trying to be funny, and maybe it doesn't translate as well to the page. I see it as trying to help him make a good decision.. [/quote]

Don't b sorry, Wendii ! I know I am over sensitive about the "manipulation" topic ! This is something I have always on the top of my mind ...
Thanks.

cwatine's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]MY thought is that in THIS situation you are delegating an enormously important company decision to someone who has never done this before, and that's ineffective. Saying you won't hire someone he disagrees with means he is the ONLY decision maker, particularly if it goes on longer.
This person is YOUR company's hire...it's your call. You've got more work to do with your direct before giving him veto authority over your company's future sales. Hiring his twin is NOT the right answer.
[/quote]

Mark-

Man, You are sharp ... I knew in the back of my mind that you would says something like this !

I now realise I naively thought that giving responsibility to my sales responsible would automatically make him able to handle it.

I need to find a way to get out of this situation in the best way. I would not like to not keep my promise of letting him decide.

So I feel my only possibility would be to influence his decision by giving my arguments for the hiring.
I would also make his decision easier by giving him some "garanties" ("I will help you", "we all know we only have a 75% chance of success on any hiring", etc) to show him we share the responsibility.
Then I can tell him I realised I gave him a very difficult decision to make and that I will coach him on managing the new recruit.

Would it be your advice on that case ?

Thanks for your help.

Cédric.

sklosky's picture

Cédric,

From your writings, I get a sense that your sales person is a high S type.

Hiring is a risk-taking operation and in this case, it looks like it is causing the "aim, aim, aim . . ." type effect.

I think the "How to use the DISC model to be more effective every day" doc has some good pointers for this situation.

Then again, maybe this fellow is not up to the task.

Regards,
Steve

Mark's picture

Cedric-

I think your approach is VERY good. I would add that you might need to introduce the issue of TIME to your direct: show him the cost of waiting. Right now he is saying that there are negatives to this new guy... fine...but we need to give him some OTHER negatives to compare those to... and one of those is NO ONE in the role.

I like the way you are thinking.

Mark

asteriskrntt1's picture

I am wondering if it would be appropriate for Cedric to offer his direct someting like the following in order to "take back" his promise and move forward on the hire:

Direct,

I apologize. It was wrong on my part to fully delegate this responsibility to you. It is your first hire and you don't yet have the experience or perspective to do this. I want to relieve this burden and work more closely on this process with you so that next time, you will do it better and quicker.. etc>"

Lovin' the learning on here

*RNTT

cwatine's picture

Done ! :D

He has decided to go for a trial with the guy. Your advices helped me a great deal. Especially the negative about waiting more ...

Thanks for that.

Mark's picture

BRAVO!!!

We are eager to help more, and to hear how it goes. Don't wait for your direct to bring issues to your table... be proactive about helping. Push forward a little all the time.

Glad we are helping you, Cedric!

Mark

cwatine's picture

Thank you.

I will keep you posted on that.

I know that I wil need to coach him very closely. I especially have to make him understand that a he needs to get authority by permitting this new recruit to grow up, not by demonstrating his power upon him.
You don't have authority because you are the chief ... You are the chief because you have authority !
This will be an impassioning work for me and him to do !

I have to tell you that since I have been listening to your casts and advices, the results begin to show on my teams. I see my directs growing ... I now know better how to help them.