The sluggish economy and tight budgets have forced many sales managers to hire relatively inexperienced college grads. While college grads come cheap, have tons of energy and don’t need prima-donna coddling, many are increasingly turned off by employers' hiring practices.
Dramatically underscoring the frustration felt by today’s young job applicants is the recent experience of Taylor Grey Meyer. The 31-year-old with a master’s degree in sports management had been trying to get a job with the San Diego Padres baseball team. After being rejected over 30 times for jobs ranging from inside sales to selling tickets, Meyer was invited to pay $495 to attend a "Combine” hiring fair, where she would get the opportunity to apply for one of 50 jobs the Padres needed to fill. For Meyer, it was the last straw. “I felt like, in this market especially, that employers - the Padres - were preying on job seekers who were desperate for jobs,” said Meyer. Her response to the Padres email was so harsh, it made the news.
Trent Hazy, CEO and Co-Founder of MindSumo, suggests that too many employers force new grads through a gauntlet of “hoops” that have little to do with the job description. Typing tests, personality exams, and duplicate paperwork foisted on them by “square pegs” HR people can be a turn off for talented candidates.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, well over half of hiring decisions are made during the first 4.3 minutes of the interview. Making a decision that quickly and simply, based on interviews, case studies or personality tests, won't allow a candidate’s other, equally important attributes to reveal themselves—things like creativity, honesty, leadership and the ability to play well with others.
Instead, Hazy suggests conducting non-traditional interviews. Take candidates on a brief site tour of your operation before the actual job interview. Invite them to lunch to get them talking about themselves and their career goals. And instead of a typing or personality tests, give them a real-world trial assignment that tests their sales and marketing skills. Let them show off what they’ve learned in school or in previous part time sales jobs. A fast typist or someone who looks good on a personality test may turn out to be a terrible salesperson.
Remember, too, to treat your student candidates with respect. Hazy suggests employers tone down the condescending emails and eliminate long waits before giving applicants an answer. He reminds employers that applicants who begin their career in their industry may become successful and be valuable as top producers down the road.
To hire the right candidate for sales jobs (or any job for that matter), sales managers need to treat recent grads with respect and courtesy. Subjecting candidates to meaningless tests and endless back and forth emails without a face to face interview can be counter productive.
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