“We hire slow and fire fast.”
I cringe when commercial insurance brokers say this about new sales people (producers).
My reply to this tired cliché: “Yes, I’m sure you will.”
“Hire slow, fire fast” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The “fire fast” part suggests your firm is arbitrary and trigger-happy.
Granted, not everybody will make it as a producer.
Firing can be necessary.
But make a firing decision for the right reasons at the right time.
If the producer doesn’t work hard.
If they don’t care.
If they’re not coachable.
If they can’t meet performance expectations and milestones.
If it turns out to be a career or a firm misfit.
The bigger problem is the “hire slow” half of the cliché.
It’s often stated with false bravado.
As if any firm uses a foolproof method to avoid a bad sales hire.
I’m not suggesting a fast and furious hiring process.
Your hiring process should be smart, thorough and methodical.
But it must be quicker, not slower.
Because if your firm is slow to hire, you will NOT hire top sales talent.
Demand for top sales talent far exceeds its supply.
“Scarcity of talent” defines the sales labor market.
Top sales people get hired by smart, decisive employers.
Employers that move much faster than your “slow hire” method.
The “hire slow” firm hires the sales people that are leftovers.
The leftovers will tolerate your “hire slow” process.
So, you hire leftovers as your new producers.
Soon, your sales hires disappoint with lackluster effort and results.
This leads to you firing them (your “fire fast” mantra).
Then, you “fix” your hiring process — by making it even longer.
“Hey, we need to use another personality test.”
“Let’s add a round of intense panel interviews next time.”
Thus, the “hire slow, fire fast” doom cycle continues.
The 3 keys to great hiring are: urgency, urgency, and urgency.
Firms with a bias to be decisive and quick make better hires.
Be indecisive and meander, that is, “hire slow”?
You will make more bad hires.
5 questions to assess your firm’s hiring sense of urgency:
1. Do you drive the hiring process like you do new business production?
2. Do you maintain hiring momentum with candidates (days between interviews, not weeks)?
3. Is your time-to-hire (from candidate’s first interview to offer) under 30 days?
4. Do you communicate with candidates throughout your process?
5. Will you clear your calendar to meet an “A” timber person tomorrow (or put them off until next week or next month)?
Do you answer “no” to these questions?
You will lose high potential producer candidates to other firms.
You will lose them to other industries too.
Please stop celebrating “we hire slow”.
Please don’t boast that “we fire fast”.
Instead, improve your firm’s hiring process.
Inject more urgency.
Your hiring process will then attract – not repel – top sales talent.