As a 25 year plus veteran in the industry, I am a big believer that hiring is one of the most important things you can do in your business. Having practice and discipline around who you hire and why can make a big impact on your success. The hardest part of interviewing is that there are many ways to game an interview. Some people exude confidence which can be misconstrued for the success in practice you are seeking. Develop your own competencies where you will not compromise.
I have three deal breakers that I look for when hiring talent. You should develop your own but this may be a start when considering business development people for your practice. Below are my main criterial with some suggestions for your consideration that could help identify the right person.
Integrity is one of the hardest things to discover in the interview process. In a regulatory driven world, You want your team members to want to do the right thing when nobody is looking.
“Tell me about a time in your life where you overcame something difficult”
“How do you view your responsibility in this role?”
“Give me an example where you didn’t agree with your boss- what did you do?”
“What do you think of the current regulatory environment?”
# 2 Drive
In a sales environment, we face rejection daily. Many people romanticize a sales job because “they like to help people”. The reality is, in a pure business development sense you need to create urgency where none exists. The candidate needs to be able to face rejection regularly and be self motivational.
“Besides relationships, what do you like about this business?”
“When are you most successful? And why?”
“Tell me about a time when you failed?”
“What was your longest sales (cycle/time) win and what did you do to close it?”
In an industry where you need to have intelligent people face off with practice owners, clients and savvy investors you need to have intelligent investment experts.
Additionally, you need someone who courageously assess the situation is able to move the process forward and close business. Finding the right person with the necessary balance of both competencies is difficult to do.
If the person is to analytical, you can experience “analysis paralysis” where they overthink what needs to be done and over prep for sales.
If the person is too salesy, they may tend to underprepare or “shoot from the hip”. The could come off as disingenuous in the sales process.
“How do you assess whether someone is a good prospect?”
“How do you manage the sales process?”
“How do you define your pipeline, and when do you know when to advance them in the process?”
While there is no silver bullet with questions, you need to trust your gut on the candidates response.
Do they look you in the eye? Are they nervous? What is their body language saying?
Remember, if your instinct tells you to be hesitant, there is probably good reason and you need to spend more time uncovering the issues. While no candidate is perfect, the perfect situation is one where you as the manager fully understand the candidates strengths and weaknesses, and are confident that you can coach them to success.
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