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Liar Liar - Take Care When You Hire!

Many of our clients are in the final stages of wrapping-up their strategic planning for 2014 and setting their sights on execution. For most organizations, hitting growth targets will require hiring more salespeople and replace underperformers with those with the potential to hit the number.

Hiring sales reps is time consuming and risky. According to Manpower’s Talent Shortage Survey, Sales Reps are the second hardest jobs to fill. This difficultly, and a sense of urgency to cover an open territory, might tempt your hiring managers to work around your process to expedite hiring. However, research published last year from Accu-Screen, Inc., ADP, and The Society of Human Resource Managers reveals some shocking statistics:

  • 53% of resumes and job applications that contain falsifications;
  • 46 % of employment, education and/or credential reference checks conducted revealed discrepancies between what the applicant provided and what the source reported;
  • 78% of resumes are misleading
  • 21% of resumes state fraudulent degrees
  • 29% of resumes show altered employment dates
  • 40% of applications have inflated salary claims
  • 33% of resumes have inaccurate job descriptions

Consulting firm Marquet International compiled this list of the top 10 lies.

  1. Stretching dates of employment.
  2. Inflating past accomplishments and skills.
  3. Enhancing titles and responsibilities.
  4. Exaggerating education and fabricating degrees.
  5. Unexplained gaps and periods of “self-employment.”
  6. Omitting past employment.
  7. Faking credentials.
  8. Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment.
  9. Providing fraudulent references.
  10. Misrepresenting a military record.

How To Make Better Hiring Decisions

Hiring is an important process, and with so much riding on your need and ability to make good hires, it is a process that should be optimized, trained to and followed.

Your process should start by clarifying the different sales jobs you need to fill, and updating job descriptions and competencies to reflect the objectives you need people in the role to achieve. The hiring process should specify how you will go about advertising the position; recruit, screen and interview candidates; make your conditional offer of employment; conduct pre-employment your due diligence such as background and reference checks, as well as any other checks such as drug testing references; and ultimately, onboard successful candidates. Establishing a fair hiring process and following process should also protect you from hiring-related lawsuits.

We encourage the use of valid, reliable and predictive pre-hire assessments to support your screening and decision-making process. When used correctly, these assessments can reveal more and better information about a candidate than most hiring managers could uncover during the interview process. For example, pre-hire assessments can tell you the type of job a candidate is best suited and how they are best motivated.  This insight gives a hiring manager more focus and direction to dig deeper in an interview. For example, our TalentGauge™ assessment generates an interview guide to really help a hiring manager cover their bases.

We can’t overstress the importance of using a reputable assessment that is both valid and reliable. Reliability determines how consistently a measurement of skill or knowledge yields similar results under varying conditions. If a measure has high reliability, it yields consistent results. Validity or face validity is defined as the degree to which the instrument measures what it’s supposed to measure. If an instrument is not reliable over time, it cannot be valid, as results can vary depending upon when it is administered. An instrument can be neither reliable nor valid, reliable and not valid or both reliable and valid. However, an instrument must be reliable in order to be valid. That’s a mouthful, but the bottom line is that creating your own assessment in SurveyMonkey or using an assessment, such as Meyers-Briggs, that cannot be validated for hiring can get you into a lot of trouble. There’s a very comprehensive guide to pre-hire assessments published by the US Department of Labor

While a good hiring process and valid, reliable pre-hire assessments help make better hires, none of this happens without the involvement of people. While there is no set formula, the assessment results should be taken into account with a candidate’s relevant experience and what you learn in the interview process. Interviewing is a skill that takes some training and a lot of practice to do well.

A good hiring process with the right tools and skills will help you hire faster and with less risk.

About the Author

Richardson Sales Performance is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations. Our methodology combines a market proven sales and coaching curriculum with an innovative and customizable approach to learning that ensures your sales teams learn, master, and apply those behaviors where and when it matters most — in front of your customers. It’s our job to anticipate change in your industry so that your sales team can focus on fostering long-term relationships, becoming indispensable partners for their buyers.

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