Ron Kaufman, a friend and writer with whom I have shared a podium on occasion, provided some sage advice on what to look for in hiring. “If you want aggressive sales results, hire those with an energized ‘can-do’ approach. If you want to give great customer service, only hire people who will run the extra mile.”
Sales staff applicants might be led on a scavenger hunt of sorts. He says to arrange for job interviews at one location, but leave a note there directing the applicants to another site several blocks away. Repeat the ruse at the next location, but move the interview a few doors down. Applicants who arrive energized by this process, rather than upset or complaining about the inconvenience, have demonstrated the stamina to pursue sales leads and succeed.
A friend shares the story of how he hired one of his best sales people. He agreed to do a “courtesy interview” for the daughter of an acquaintance, even though he had no intention of hiring anyone. At the end of the interview, he thanked for coming and apologized that he really didn’t have the authority to hire her. Undaunted, she asked, “Who does have the authority to hire me?” She was hired because she didn’t go down in defeat, an essential trait for any salesperson.
I am especially intrigued by Kaufman’s approach to filling customer service jobs. He advises you to conduct interviews on Friday at 8:00 p.m. When the applicant arrives, ask for help packing a last minute customer order before the interview begins. A prearranged “customer” should then call, and you spend a few more minutes on the phone. Watch the applicant’s mood as all this transpires: Is he or she as patient as you are? That will tell you whether that candidate understands the importance of going the extra mile for a customer.
This post is from my book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door” and it is filled with more tips, secrets, and advice that no one else will tell you.