Monday, January 25, 2010

Hiring Report: New Technician, New Sales Guy

I've written many articles about how much I hate the hiring process. Well we just did some serious hiring. In November we went through the new hiring process I outlined here in November. Basically, the process consists of these instructions:

1) Do not send a resume

2) Send a few paragraphs about why you're passionate about this industry

3) Send a link to your Microsoft transcript

This turned out to be a great pre-screening tool and we hired an excellent technician.

Then in November and December we went through the frustrating experience of Hiring a Sales Person. That was more of a standard hiring process, although I was rigorous about multiple interviews and figuring out the math and logistics of actually paying someone without going broke.

Thanks to Josh Peterson of Taylor Business Group and Erick and Rafael from MSPU for their input on all this.

Anyway, it has not been a full month since we hired the sales guy so I thought I'd give an update on the year so far.

In many ways the Christmas season is the best time to hire a sales person. The first month is a lost cause for sales and all the focus is on training. As a result, you might as well get all that done when there won't be much sales activity anyway.

Today I am happy to report that the new tech, Mike, has performed spectacularly well and is about half way through his 90 day probation period. He's studying for exams and emerging as a leader in the tech bullpen. He is exactly what we were looking for with our revised process. He is passionate about the industry and customer service.

As for sales, Jerry's the new sales guy. He is super full of energy, very good at what he does, and a quick learner. He has made some small sales and is poised to make a big one this week. He is also a good strategist and has a very quick mind.

In fact, both Mike and Jerry have similar personality profiles to mine. The result is that the three of us can move at very high speeds, picking up where the others leave off, totally focusing on one job and still able to switch gears as needed.

I expect we will reach warp 1 in another month or so. It's a great environment for me.

Bottom Line

So the bottom line is that the slow and sometimes painful hiring process has produced a couple of real gems for us. We're continuing to build a great team. Next we need to focus on delivery and execution. Sometimes the hardest part of management is to maintain good processes and culture as the company grows.

We will probably hire another technician soon. I can't have Jerry signing new contracts and no one tuned up to deliver the service.

So far 2010 is headed in the right direction.


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  1. Based on past experience, I would recommend being very strict about the sales person hitting his targets. If he isn't paying for himself after 6 months then you need to decide what to do but don't let him keep milking the cow.

    Good sales people can "sell" themselves to you and keep themselves on the payroll long after they should have been gone. There are always going to be excuses for not making their goals but excuses don't pay the bills.

    As my coach says: "hire slow, fire fast."

    Good luck!


  2. OMG Jake. Believe me, I know that lesson! The reason we had such bad luck before is that *I* am easily sold on sales people. We needed a process to keep me from hiring the first smooth talker who walked in the door.

    And thanks to Josh we have a great 30/60/90 day written plan for performance.

  3. Karl, you have no idea how timely this post is for me! We just hired a sales person (our first!) in January. And we are having to hire another tech person. I think you are definitely right about the rigorous process. Rushing through interviews comes back to bite you.

  4. Just so you know: The current stats on the most recent posting of the tech ad are:

    10 people did what we asked

    16 just sent a resume

    2 people sent me nasty notes about what a horrible human being I am


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