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Archive for April, 2010

Legalities Of Employee Blogging offers up a timely article regarding employee blogging and the different pitfalls for companies who allow it.  Honestly, I haven’t put as much thought into this topic as the writer.  I did find these 10 points interesting (thought I don’t follow them):

1.    Remind employees to familiarize themselves with the employment agreement and policies included in the employee handbook before they begin blogging.
2.    State that the policy applies to both blogs for the company and personal blogs.
3.    Blog posts should not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to the company.
4.    If an employee comments on any aspect of the company’s business they must clearly identify themselves as an employee in the blog posting and include a disclaimer.
5.    The disclaimer should be something like “the views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of (your companies name).
6.    Blog posts should not include company logos or trademarks.
7.    Blog posts must respect copyright, privacy, fair use, financial disclosure, and other applicable laws.
8.    Employees should neither claim nor imply that they are speaking on the company’s behalf.
9.    Corporate blogs (located on your company website) require approval when the employee is blogging about the company and the industry.
10.    That the company reserves the right to request the certain subjects are avoided, withdraw certain posts and remove inappropriate comments.

Blogs open up a new liability for companies in that the information is disseminated to a large audience in an almost uncontrollable media.  Clearly employees are restrained by their potential termination if they cross a line.  I always think of the recently terminated employees – the restraining thought of termination is no longer in effect.

That leads to some interesting posts…to say the least.

Good Sign, Bad Sign

As is so often the case in this economy, the market is sending mixed signals.  From one article on

The economic strength, both in U.S. and international markets, plus cost cuts, higher rates and fuel surcharges led to a 33 percent increase in first-quarter profit. UPS boosted its full-year outlook when it pre-released its earnings two weeks ago.

And one paragraph later:

UPS Inc., also known as United Parcel Service, restructured its business over the last 18 months, cutting jobs in the process. The shipper doesn’t plan any significant hiring anytime soon, at least until the recovery is on more solid footing.

Jobless recovery anyone?  The difficulty is that hiring is a lagging indicator and it does appear that 2010 will be a slow hiring period in spite of a potential recovery in process.

A Good Employment Sign

From the blog:

For the first time in 2010, our Job Market Competition report shows all major metropolitan areas have fewer than 10 unemployed persons per job posting – a notable lessening of job competition since our last report.

Washington D.C. has only one unemployed per job posting, maintaining its first place position as the city with the least competition for jobs.  At the other end of the scale, Detroit moved up one place from the bottom position: it now has nine unemployed per job posting, an improvement from 13 earlier this year.

The post contains the top 5 and bottom 5 metro markets based on number of unemployed per job posting.  No surprise that D.C. is number 1 considering the ever-expanding government.  Did you ever think we would be at a point where moving below 10 unemployed people per opening was improvement?

Spam Sourcing

How is this for a spam approach to applicants?

You have been accepted for a high paying work from home job.

Click the link below to get all the information:

Click Here


Hiring Manager

p.s. Please claim your position today or it will be given to the next applicant.

The “p.s.” line is fantastic.

Big Personalities In Selling

We’re an assessment company so you can imagine how adamant I am about assessing candidates (not just for sales positions either).  However, in sales it is crucial to use assessments to cut through the sales candidates’ well-developed social skills.  Unfortunately, many assessment tools focus on personality only which is not a reliable or repeatable predictor of sales success.

My experience has been that most people focus on big personalities when it comes to selling.  If the person is a good talker, tells funny stories, lights up the room, etc., then they must be a good salesperson.  The bigger the personality, the more they will sell.  Ok, I grant you that is oversimplifying it, but you get my point.  I have encountered it for years when working with hiring managers.

The issue becomes more pronounced when these same hiring managers employ a personality assessment only.  Now they look for big personalities with highly extroverted assessment results to confirm their gut-level decision to pursue a boisterous candidate.  Sales is a listening profession – asking the right questions, gathering information and directing decisions are the core competencies of sales success.

I always tell prospects who are using personality assessments that it is good they are using assessments.  They do tell you something of the candidate’s style that hiring managers can use in interviewing.  But if you want to know how they will perform in the role, you have to measure their skills, aptitudes and motivations.  These items are predictive of success and provide a detailed view of a salesperson’s abilities.

Product vs. Service Sales

I’ve been seeing this distinction first-hand among salespeople I have encountered of late.  I’m not sure there is a clear-cut sales ability towards product vs. service sales, but I do know that certain salespeople have skills and aptitudes that support one over the other.  In that vein I give you a quick breakdown of sales traits that come from these two forms of selling.

Product Sales
-Quantity-focused – the approach is to close frequently and success is measured in total numbers
-Speed first – fast, frequent closing is their approach, 1-call closes are their ideal
-Off-the-shelf – typically they prefer to sell a pre-designed solution
-Discount – their drop-close is to discount

Service Sales
-Quality-focused – the approach is to find the bet fit solution and success is measured by customer retention
-Thoroughness first – details are the key to closing here as they have to qualify need in depth
-Custom – most sales involve crafting a solution from existing pieces, but few are truly off-the-shelf
-Include – their drop-close is to add pieces to the solution for same price

Ok, it is a quick list, but you get the idea.  My vision is that successful salespeople need to harbor abilities from both product and service sales.  However, there are salespeople who are engrained towards one side or the other.  This hardening of the categories becomes evident when they wander over to the other side of the sales tracks and try to succeed there (yes, I mix metaphors).

I know of one salesperson who is presently attempting to cross this divide and it is not pretty.  His entire approach is rooted in the other format which has led to bad decisions, poor strategies and limited sales.

When hiring salespeople, the first indication is the candidate’s experience.  The second indication is their sales approach.  Make certain these are two tools you use in your hiring process.

End My Hiring Misery

Here is a good read from on improving your hiring process.  The pull quote for me:

In my opinion, one of the reasons people do such a poor job in hiring, is that they just want to get it over with,” Matuson says. “Really take your time, do it right, and ask yourself the question, constantly, ‘is this person good enough? Is this really the right person, or am I just trying to end my misery?”

Umm, yes, I have seen that first hand on many occasions…from my customers!  Anyway, there is some good information in the article along with some cliché advice.  Here is some of the good:

So, in addition to a summary of the position, detailed bullet points describing the job’s main tasks and the minimum education and experience requirements, great listings incorporate behavioral characteristics. For instance, instead of a bullet point reading “10+ years experience required,” consider something along the lines of “Team player with strong leadership skills and 10 or more years of demonstrated ability to manage effectively.

I prefer skills and success over tenure and you should too.

In sales hiring, we see hiring managers often focus on hiring salespeople from their industry.  I realize there are some benefits to this approach (know the competition, understand the pace of the sale, etc.), but it is better to hire the right skills and talent no matter what industry background they possess.  One of the allures of industry-based hiring is related to this excerpt from the article:

Especially if your company lacks an HR department or a formal training program, managers should make it a priority to schedule face-time with a new employee within the first day or two. Making it a point to give detailed instructions on tasks at hand, coupled with pointed questions about how the new hire is feeling and what they think would help them out in their job are keys to making them feel comfortable and useful.

I often see managers who want to simply plug in a new salesperson and expect them to ramp up to revenue themselves.  BIG mistake.  Even experienced salespeople need a structured onboarding (we call it onramping for sales) process with face time with their sales manager.  Failing to spend this time with your new hire delays the ramp to revenue and invites unneeded/unintended stress into the new relationship.