Don’t Make the Top 5 Hiring Mistakes

A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new salesperson.Why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes:

1. Looking for new employees when one is leaving. We all know the value of a good employee. If you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a well-oiled machine: “Get the right people on the bus in the right seats,” goes the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That said, why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one? You always need them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking, so look all the time.

Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We often hire “the best of the worst” to fill a need. When we feel pressure we often make a decision not for the “best person” but the “best for right now person.” This will hurt you in the long run every time.

2. Hiring off of a resume. I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I mean is being impressed by the background candidates have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important than qualities like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.

3. Hiring in your image. This means allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of who is the best candidate. We like people that are like us, who we relate to – but in hiring that doesn’t work. We all make decisions emotionally – deciding on things in our gut by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough, but in hiring someone to help grow your business, there needs to be much more.

4. Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all the good things we offer. So we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things to do in an interview is ask good questions and listen for the answers. It’s called an interview for a reason. Don’t get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties, the company benefits, etc.

5. Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience.” The idea of hiring someone with experience is understandable. It seems like a good idea to have someone who can fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone, it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way.

The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you they look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. So don’t do the same thing. Your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time.

Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to and sign up for “GretaNomics”, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to

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