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“Quality of Hire” Gap? Blind Spot?

According to an article from the Society of Human Resources, “about four in 10 (39%) of nearly 4,000 corporate talent acquisition managers from 40 countries agreed that quality of hire is the most valuable metric for performance…” Getting managers the people they need to get their job done is a big deal. Yet, few CEO’s and corporate leaders would argue the existence of the sizable gap between HR’s efforts to serve their business unit partners and HR’s ability to actually execute. Truth is, it’s not HR’s fault since they’ve never been faced with a market like this…but they can learn from those who have. And that’s the point of this article.

Perfect Storm

Let’s first look at where we are. We have the perfect storm because the worlds of Talent Management and Sales Management are colliding unlike any other period since the beginning of the industrial age.

Talent Management and Sales Management share the exact same priorities and challenges yet their focus is diametrically opposed.

Balance of power shifts from company to candidate

Talent Management’s focus is on the needs of the Company and Hiring Managers even though we’re experiencing arguably the greatest candidate-driven market of all times. Screening candidates through a variety of interview schemes, assessing candidate skill-sets with sophisticated tools and thorough reference checking all preclude recruiters’ interest in appealing to the individual candidate. A hiring manager may be saying, “Well, of course they focus their attention on screening candidates for me. That’s their job.” Yes, to a large extent, screening candidates is an integral component to the process…just like qualifying prospects is an integral part of the sales process. But in this hyper-competitive talent market where candidates hold more power than ever, this sort of misdirected focus is perhaps one of the most profound causes of the “Quality of Hire” gap.

Sales Management, on the other hand, has been managing these priorities and challenges far longer than HR. After battling the forces of increased commoditization, price sensitivities and an uber-informed consumer, sales teams are finally recapturing lost ground by shifting their focus to the buyer. Upgrading to the latest and greatest CRM doesn’t cut it. Even though tools and technology are essential, Sales teams have learned to change the way they talk with their customers and prospects. Features and benefits and corporate superlatives have been replaced by trust-building questions intended to reach the heart of each individual decision maker’s goals and needs. Make no mistake, these sales reps are qualifying their potential buyers to make certain these prospects fit. But they’re not qualifying first and building trust later…like a traditional interview.

Should Finance make a sales presentation?

Again, this is a candidate-driven market. There’s more transparency of talent so the days of interviewing in a vacuum are over. We’re seeing competitive pressures unlike any other time in history. Now is the time to rethink how you interview and recruit candidates by learning from the Sales teams.

The HR blind spot? HR teams, even their recruiters, don’t know how to sell! There is an expectation, almost a reliance, on HR to teach team leads within the company how to interview and recruit. It’s as though interviewing is fundamentally different than selling. Is it? Think about it, should the Finance, Compliance or Marketing teams run sales presentations? Of course not. Corporate branding, employee referral programs and gamification strategies are excellent initiatives created by HR in an effort to attract top talent much like how Marketing strategies try to attract prospects. But like Marketing, those tactics simply aren’t enough to get the prospect to actually buy.

In today’s hyper-competitive war for talent, to recruit is to sell. And to sell is to rethink your interviewing and recruiting tactics where the actual buying takes place.

Driving successful Quality Hires requires a change in focus

Seeing the perfect storm, organizations can now gain a huge competitive advantage by melding sales principles with their talent management tools. One such approach is Intentional Interviewing™ which is the first major disruptive candidate attraction strategy. CLICK HERE to download the Intentional Interviewing™ model and infographic.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 where I’ll provide a more thorough explanation of this timely approach to interviewing. Until then, I hope this sheds some light on how your firm can improve quality of hire performance by adding a comprehensive sales component to your recruiting and interviewing efforts.

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