Taking the Time to Hire and Train New Employees
At Friedman's Appliances in Knoxville, Tenn., Russell Greer interviewed up to 80 candidates for two sales positions and then trained them for up to eight months.
Even though Friedman’s Appliances was founded by Arthur Friedman, President Russell Greer thinks it might have been retail sales trainer Harry Friedman (no relation to Arthur) who gave him the idea for his hiring methods. Greer uses an open application process to screen sales candidates personally at his single-store dealership in Knoxville, Tenn.
First, he runs an ad in the local newspaper asking sales applicants to apply in person at the store. “We talked to 80 people before we picked the group we wanted to move forward with,” Greer recalls. “We were able to do that in four two-hour sessions over two weeks time because of this open interview process.”
Candidates would read the description of the position and its benefits, and if they were interested, fill out the job application. Afterwards, they would speak with Greer or his wife – who is a co-owner with Greer but who does not work at Friedman’s – to get their questions about the job answered. Greer uses a test from Profiles International for which he has developed a benchmark that identifies people who are likely to be the best sales prospects.
“Over 10 or 12 years, I’ve taken all my best salespeople, profiled them, figured out what common characteristics they have, and that becomes my benchmark,” he says. “It really improves the likelihood that our new salesperson is going to be the right person. I really don't like to waste five or six months on the wrong guy.”
The process is not inexpensive, but neither is hiring the wrong person. Greer estimates it costs him between $4,000 and $5,000 to hire two salespeople from the 80 candidates. Just the newspaper ad can cost up to $2,000, and the tests for the 10 or 12 candidates left after the benchmark has narrowed down the 80 applicants can cost $150 each.
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