“Am I about to hire James Bond or Johnny English?...”
The title of this blog is what a VP of Sales said to me just before approving an offer letter!
In reality it’s 3 to 6 months before you know if the person you’ve hired or promoted is the right one and is performing as expected.
Is time really the only option to find this out?
Isn't there a way to have more insight into someone before an offer is made?
There is a challenge – especially in sales, where leaders are looking to hire James Bond, but often end up with Johnny English.
OK, I'm not talking about you hiring or promoting the contacts in your little black book. The ones, which you know of old and are the first you call upon. The situation is when you’ve exhausted your network and those around you, and you’re fishing in the open seas of potential talent.
Your hiring scenario probably resembles something like this…
You NEED “Bond… James Bond”, or a team of ‘Double O agents’ to help realise your goals, targets and mission
You create a job description, which likely resembles a bunch of cut and pasted experience requirements interlaced with some generic responsibilities and educational standards
You post said job description on the web
You or your recruiters trawl Linked In, etc. in search of Bond
Someone with a profile that resembles his applies, or you and your recruiters find a profile that looks like Bond’s
Their CV/ resume also reads like his
The candidate interviews and presents themselves like Bond
Their references seem to infer they’re Bond-like
You make them an offer
They haggle with you
You hire them
3 – 6 months pass, and you realise you’ve not hired James Bond, but the reality is more like Johnny English. Likeable but inept.
Amongst other things, this leaves you with…
Less time to achieve your goals/ targets or mission
The rigmarole of having to repeat this process, albeit now, much more quickly, as time and targets wait for no one
An idea of what great doesn’t look like, but only after it's too late
If you’ve read this far, then I presume there is more than a germ of truth in this scenario.
So, how do you get upstream of the problem?
A philosopher once said, “The beginning of wisdom, is the definition of terms.”
What this means is you stand a much better chance of increasing your odds of hiring a Double O agent, you need to accurately define how James Bond actually operates AND compare candidates to that. This is all before you get to the point of making them an offer. Let me explain further...
Explanation - Chances are the person you had to ‘let go’ (lets call them Johnny), on paper and in the interview were a great fit.
The reason they didn’t cut it? Is likely the way they actually went about things was quite different to what they said.
Likely their attitude; persistence; intensity; pace and how they applied themselves to the situation.
But what you looking for though was more likely someone who is driven self-directed; controlled in how they work; opportunistic; inquisitive; empathetic and assertive.
The above behaviours and others are relatively easy things to describe, but it's really difficult to identify these in a short space of time i.e. during an interview process.
"This is all very interesting", I hear you say, but what do you do now?
From experience, you have three choices:
a) You Keep Calm and Carry On doing what you've been doing, assuming it’s giving the results you need?
b) DIY - You describe, define and identifying the must-have behaviours and skills of top performers, AND do your best to identify these in candidates. All BEFORE hiring them.
c) Or…get in contact with us and we'll arm and educate you on dramatically increasing your ability to find James Bond.
We help companies increase their chances of hiring or promoting James Bond whilst avoiding Johnny English. This doesn’t involve a poison-filled pen, an ejector seat or an underwater jetpack...but what I can do has been described as developing an in-house equivalent of ‘Q Branch’.
What happened to Johnny English?
He's fine, but in this scenario Johnny’s just not a good fit. Chances are, he has a more natural inclination as a consultant or subject matter expert, which is another fascinating topic. As the world and expectation of selling is changing.
Watch this space for that article.