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Archive for September, 2006

Anecdote – REALLY Out of the Office

We send out a quarterly electronic newsletter regarding hiring topics and new products here at Select Metrix (click here if you would like to subscribe). This past Tuesday (Sept. 26) we sent out our Q3 newsletter. As always, I received many out of the office notifications. I usually breeze them but I did read this one and I am glad I did (changed the names and numbers):

I will be out of the office starting 09/22/2006 and will not return until 09/28/2007.

Jane Doe is no longer with XYZ Corporation. Please contact our main HR number at 1-111-555-1234

Apparently Jane’s absence will be a bit longer than she originally expected. Just to be clear, she did not work for Radio Shack – the “termination-by-email” corporation.

Niche Job Boards

Google led me to this article from – Niche Job Boards Provide the Best Value For Employers. The niche job board topic is one of great interest to us. We typically spread our ads around to different sites including the main boards that everyone knows. Our experience with niche boards has not been as productive.

This article is an opinion piece from the founder of Niche so consider that fact. Yet, this stat was a bit surprising:

As an example,, which serves the transportation and logistics industries, attracts 80 visitors per job ad over the course of a month. In comparison, CareerBuilder draws only 15 visitors per job ad.

Our focus is primarily upon sales positions and the big boards have been quite good for our sourcing activities. We have not found the niche boards to have remarkably higher quality candidates, but that may have more to do with sales as opposed to other positions.

For now, we’ll continue to rely on the big boards but continue to sprinkle in niche boards as an ongoing test.

Technical Difficulties

Our apologies to our readers – we have been in the process of moving our website to an upgraded server this week. Unknown to us, we have had some delay issues with email and now our blog is going Hal9000 on us. Some posts are missing from Thursday but I think we can repost them.

Thanks for hanging in there with us and we promise to have a faster website and blog. Soon.

Sales Traits Series – Evaluating What is Said

Many people believe the preeminent ability required to be successful in sales is a good speaking ability. Verbal graces are beneficial in selling, but the ability to listen will always be more effective. Good salespeople are good listeners.

Evaluating What Is Said
This capacity is based on a person’s openness to people and their willingness to hear what the other person is saying – not what they think they should say, or are going to say.

A salesperson with a strong aptitude in this capacity will be able to objectively evaluate feedback and hear the concerns, intentions or opinions being stated as opposed to inserting their own feelings or opinions.

A salesperson with a weak aptitude in this area often results in a person subjectively perceiving what they want based on prejudged opinions or preset ideas as to what they think is happening.

How Managers Rate Themselves

From CareerJournal’s article Managers Rate Themselves High, But Employees Are Tough Critics:

While 92% of managers say they are doing an “excellent” or “good” job managing employees, only 67% of workers agree. An additional 23% say their boss is doing a “fair” job, and 10% find their manager is doing a “poor” job, according to a survey of 1,854 U.S. workers by Rasmussen Reports LLC

Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark. I did so well at statistics in college that I got to take it twice. However, I believe a 25% spread is what statisticians term “statistically significant.”

A solution later in the article:

Let workers play a part in manager evaluations.

Interesting idea and certainly one that would be beneficial to improving communication between managers and direct reports. However…

But just 26% of workers surveyed said their company lets them evaluate higher-ups. Still, maybe workers do understand just how tough their bosses have it: Of the 41% who said they would likely be offered their manager’s job if he or she left the company, just 54% want that job.

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to be a Sales Manager at a young age (27) and I still remember to this day what my father told me – “You’ve never seen problems until you have had to manage people.” I chuckled about the statement and remained quite confident I knew what I was doing.

I lasted 2 years in the role before being fired. Let me now invoke the battle cry of the terminated – “I learned a lot.”

An important statistic at the end of the article:

Meanwhile, 26% of managers said they don’t get enough training to handle their responsibilities, the survey found.

“Managers are saying, ‘I need help to do my job and to manage people more effectively,'” Mr. Morgan said. “I see this happen all the time. You promote someone who’s one of your best employees, maybe your best salesperson.

“Well, what does the organization do to support that person in that transition? It’s a whole different set of responsibilities.”

We can help.

An Open Letter to Sales Managers

Time and time again we see a similar process play out to the detriment of a company. XYZ Company determines that they need to hire a new salesperson and the sales manager is going to spearhead the search.

A problematic approach.

The primary focus of most sales managers is to coach, motivate and hold the sales team accountable. Part of these responsibilities includes some direct selling and some organizational tasks (sales reports, meetings, etc.). Hiring is usually not a weekly sales manager activity unless there are larger issues inside the company.

So where does this menu of responsibilities leave running a sales search? Larger companies have HR personnel to place ads and sort resumes. Some go so far as to perform initial interviews. But sales managers always enter the process to interview the candidates.

In smaller companies, much of the entire process becomes the sales manager’s responsibilities.

This approach can become a fatal flaw.

The sales search is pushed to the margins of their day. The sales manager’s focus has to remain on revenue-generating activities that occur during the typical 8 to 5 work day. This approach means that strong candidates, who are actively pursuing other opportunities, are often left twisting in the wind. We have seen this error frequently over the past 9 months. The landscape has shifted back to an employee’s market. Letting a candidate sit for 3, 5 or even 7 days without an update is high risk.

Part of what we do is stand in the gap between the busy sales manager’s day and the candidate’s active search activities. We get caught in many discussions trying to qualify the candidate’s next move and determining the sales manager’s decision. If you are running a process yourself, please consider using an outside resource to handle the tedious activities that lead to hiring success.

We often advise sales managers to focus on what they do best – grow the company’s revenue and let us filter the candidates down to the top 2 or 3 salespeople. And when you find a strong candidate, don’t let the process stall out while focusing on other activities.

Jobseekers & Sites – Take Two

About a month ago I posted on an article from Weedle’s regarding job boards & recruiting. In their latest newsletter, they have surveyed 1,063 people on how many times per month they visit an employment site on the Internet. Here are their finding’s:

35% visited a job board 13+ times/month, 20% visited such sites 5-8 times/month, 18% visited them 2-4 times/month, 17% visited job boards 9-12 times/month, 8% visited these sites 1 time/month, and 2% said they visited job boards 0 times/month.

As you can see about 72% visit job boards at least once per month, 55% visit them about twice a week and 35% visit the sites roughly three times a week. Now if we tie this information into their previous newsletter which showed people spend at least twenty minutes per visit viewing the site that would mean that over 50% devote more than one hour per week on the job boards.

So what does this mean? Even though you may feel your people are happy working for you, chances are that half of your employees are looking at job postings, researching companies, updating their resume or responding to employment ads.

Top 10 Tips for Effective Goal Setting has an interesting management article regarding goal setting that I wanted to pass along. They have 10 quick steps in helping the goal setting process become more effective for managers. Their 10 steps are:

  1. Allow Your Employees to Own Their Goals
  2. Set Deadlines
  3. Make Sure the Goals are Measurable
  4. Have Your Employees Write Their Goals Down
  5. The Goal Post
  6. Schedule Regular Progress Meetings
  7. Limit the Number of Goals
  8. Base Goals on Company Values
  9. Provide Positive Feedback
  10. Make the Reward Worth It

Older Workers on the Way Out?

According to Management Issues Ltd., an online site devoted to management and leadership, 70 percent of bosses in the UK say in a survey that they see no value in employing experienced older workers.

This seems to be the complete opposite of what we are seeing here in the US. Many companies have initiatives around hiring and retaining the baby-boomers looking at retirement in the next few years. Even though there is much evidence stating that their will be a workforce shortage in the next few years, more than half of the UK companies surveyed said that employing those 65 or older will trigger health-related issues. And even though 3/4 of the employees expressed a desire to work beyond retirement, only 17 percent of employers are actively seeking older workers.

Now lets shed a little light on this information. In Management Issues reports, age-discrimination experts contend that some of the U.K. companies are firing older workers in anticipation of new anti-age discrimination laws that take effect on October 1st. Yikes! Nothing like culling the herd before it becomes a legal inconvenience.

Top Paid HR Leaders

The Workforce Management newsletter arrived this morning in my inbox and I came across a startling article. I was shocked at the compensation of the top 30 HR leaders in the US. The top 10 HR executives’ compensation is between $2.5 million to just over $6.6 million a year. If you are interested in viewing the list, here is the link: The 30 Highest-Paid HR Leaders.

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