Hiring Employees With a High Sense of Urgency – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Learn how to identify applicants with a sense of urgency and responsiveness.

Instant Hiring Tip: Hire Employees with a High Sense of Urgency

A common trait of highly productive people and companies is a high sense of urgency. A high sense of urgency drives individuals and the organizations they work for to work harder than their peers but more importantly their competitors. Most employers realize the benefits of hiring employees with a high sense of urgency but how do you go about identifying those applicants with a high sense of urgency?

You can gain a lot of insight about how an employee will perform on the job and assess an employee’s sense of urgency during the application process. During the application process, one question you want to keep in the back of your mind is: how quickly does the applicant respond to your requests for information and other details?

For example, let’s say you call an applicant to schedule an initial interview and they aren’t available so you have to leave a message on their voicemail. How long does it take them to get back to you to set up an interview date? Does it take an hour or two? Does it take a day? Does it take multiple days???

Any hiring manager can probably relate to the frustration felt when dealing with an applicant who seemingly has all the time in the world and takes their sweet time in responding to requests. Unfortunately, this isn’t just frustrating but it’s also generally a future indicator of that applicant’s overall responsiveness and sense of urgency. And that can be a critical flaw if you’ve already concluded that a high sense of urgency is one of the necessary traits of your future employee.

The bottom line is that an applicant who does not display a high sense of urgency about getting a job (particularly in this job market) will most likely underwhelm you with their responsiveness should you choose to hire them. As the applicant takes their sweet time in responding to your requests, picture them working for your organization and being in charge of an important project with a looming deadline. How will you sleep the night before the project is due?

If you’re a hiring manager on the lookout for employees with a high sense of urgency and who get things done promptly, you’ll want to make a note of those applicants that respond quickly to your requests as they will have a higher probability of performing similarly on the job.

8 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring Your Next Salesperson

Sales Personality Personality TestWhen it comes to assessing a candidate’s fit for sales, one size definitely does not fit all.

Traits like assertiveness, criticism tolerance (ability to take a no), and resilience may be good enough to have when “getting past the gatekeeper”and “closing a sale” are the two most critical skills required. But selling complex products or differentiating a company’s services from its competitors require consultative and relationship selling skills that many salespeople do not have.

For example, transactional sales, especially those based on primarily on price, depend upon the ability to get people to accept your call, negotiate the best deal, and close quickly. More complex selling opportunities require extensive product knowledge, broad competitive intelligence, excellent relationship management skills, and resilience. Years of experience and a decade’s worth of President Club awards are not necessarily transferrable from one industry to another, one company to another, or even one territory or product from another.

Before hiring or promoting your salesperson, here are eight questions you must ask before interviewing and assessing candidates.

1. What product or services are you selling? Success in selling requires a lot more than a few years of experience and the completion of a sales skills training. Adding value and differentiating your company from the rest of a crowded market requires finesse and advanced skills.

2. To whom are you selling? Selling promotional products to a retail shop owner compared to selling an enterprise wide human resource information system require very different sales skill sets.

3. How competitive is the market place? If you are the only game in town, or at least considered the industry leader, salespeople can lean on the company’s reputation for credibility. But what if your company or product is unfamiliar to your prospects? The most important skill a salesperson might need is the ability to build endorsement.

4. Is this a new territory or a mature one? Similar to the competitiveness of the market place, developing a new territory or working a mature market require different selling styles and skills. You are likely familiar with “hunters” and “farmers.” It’s much easier to introduce yourself as the new account manager when a customer down the street has been doing business with your company for several years than trying to get the prospect to take a chance on an unknown.

5. How long is a typical sales cycle? The longer the cycle, the more skills are required. The longer the selling cycle, the more the salesperson will have to have a process and system in place to track and follow leads and referrals. The salesperson must be patient and resilient and equipped to stick it out for the long haul. Products or services will long selling cycles often have bigger rewards but many salespeople are more motivated and skilled at shorter cycle, faster rewards. That leads us to the compensation question.

6. How do salespeople get paid? This is a complex and complicated question. But the more commission based the compensation, the more money management skills the salesperson must have to deal with the ups and downs of income, especially for longer selling cycles. Few hiring managers take this into consideration before hiring the high potential candidate. Unfortunately many sales failures have nothing to do with sales skills but the short term income to pay the mortgage and put food on the table while waiting for the big commission check.

7. Who is responsible for lead generation? If developing new business is a requirement for the job, then assessing the sales candidate’s track record or potential for identifying new customers, cold calling, qualifying them, and developing new relationships must be part of the hiring equation. For the company that has a steady stream of warm leads, finding qualified candidates just got a lot easier. Do not assume however that the ability to contact warm leads and qualify them is a predictive indicator of the ability to identify new customers and cold call them.

8. Who is responsible for writing and presenting proposals? The ability to write and present are critical communication skills in today’s marketplace. Unfortunately few salespeople have mastered these skills at a level necessary to compete effectively.

Asking these questions is one thing. Getting this information quickly and accurately is another. Sales pre-employment tests are an excellent way to complement and enhance the interview and reference check process. The right combination of assessments can confirm if a candidate has the potential to learn or meet your job requirements as well as the resilience and motivation to persist through good times and bad.


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.



Focusing on Job Applicant Behavior for Better Hires – Instant Hiring Video Tips

Discover the “red flags” that can alert you to future problems from job applicants.


If you want to give yourself an idea of how an applicant will behave once he or she is hired, do yourself a favor and pay some attention to their behavior during the hiring process. Keep in mind that an applicant should be on their very best behavior during the hiring process so anything other than that should be a red flag.

In particular, beware of people who are creating problems for you during the application and hiring process. For example, they are not following your directions when it comes to submitting the appropriate paperwork; they’re difficult when it comes to setting up a first or second interview claiming that their schedule is so busy that they can’t fit you in.

Other red flags can be applicants who deliberately create challenges and obstacles for you during the application and hiring process. Some hiring managers think it’s a good idea to have applicants fill out an employment application to see how thorough they are at filling it out. If you have to reach out to an applicant to get a hold of critical documents or information that should’ve been provided beforehand, chances are that applicant will require a lot of hand-holding and supervision as an employee as well and who has time for that?

Applicants should be jumping through hoops to meet any requirements you’ve established for the position. After all, they’re the one looking for a job right?

In my experience and in my client’s experience things only go downhill when poor behavior is exhibited during the application and hiring process.

People are generally on their best behavior during the hiring process so it should be a red flag when you see anything other than that. An applicant that gives you grief during the application process will probably also give you problems should you choose to hire them. Generally speaking, you can expect their behavior to get worse and deteriorate over time.

For better hires, keep an eye on an applicant’s behavior during your application and hiring process and don’t be afraid to trust your gut if you start to see some red flags.

What Jobs Should The U.S. Be Creating?

The news about jobs is getting better. The unemployment rate dipped for the fifth straight month to 8.3 percent. The number of jobs being created has been rising at a rate of 200,000 each month, topped by 243,000 jobs added in January alone. What Jobs Are Being Created In the US

That is great news for the economy and fuel for a surge on Wall Street, where the Nasdaq hit an 11-year high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a peak not seen since 2008.

Does this mean the U.S. economy has found a cure for the recession or a strategy to relieve and mask the symptoms of a deeper, more serious problem? The truth is that it’s likely a little of both. Unfortunately that means that sooner than later the problem will resurface, much like an untreated cancer eventually weakens and destroys the functions of the body.

Much of our unemployment since the recession has been the result of massive layoffs in construction and manufacturing. Creating new jobs in manufacturing, according to many politicos, bureaucrats, economists, and executives, are the key to our recovery. With more people working, more consumption will take place and more homes will be built and purchased, putting millions of unemployed construction workers back to work. That all makes sense.

Except (you likely knew that was coming)… that the manufacturing jobs we need to create aren’t the manufacturing jobs that existed pre-2008. We don’t need workers to just make things. We need workers who make the things that make things and then make those “thing-makers” work in seamless integrated systems.

And that’s the problem. We have a lot of people who are really good at making things. But so does the rest of the world…and they are willing to work more hours for less money. That’s one reason why the U.S. economy is struggling to create jobs. To compete, many of the old manufacturing jobs are gone forever. If those jobs exist, they have been automated, requiring maybe one worker to do the job of five or ten workers just a few years ago. In other words, we could have our manufacturing output humming at record levels and still employ a fraction of the workers that did the same job 10 years ago.

What the U.S. does better than anyone else in the world is make the things that make things. Unfortunately we don’t have enough of those skilled workers or the workers who can service those thing-makers. We need workers who can spot a faulty circuit board, not count nuts and bolts. We need workers who can design, troubleshoot and repair a defective robotic arm, not manufacture the components of the robot.

For politicians and especially low skill workers, that situation places job creation at a painful crossroad. For millions of workers over the past few decades, low skill jobs were the ticket to the middle class and upward mobility. But that has all changed. Good paying careers dependent on low skill workers are gone. That leaves tens of millions of past and future workers stuck in jobs that offer at best bare bone living wages and no future.

To create jobs that ensure workers can earn a living wage and entertain the possibility of moving up requires answers to three interrelated questions:

  1. What products should be made and supported in the U.S.?
  2. What jobs can and should be created that provide good living wages, upward mobility, and still keep the U.S. competitive?
  3. What needs to be done to train and re-train millions of low-skilled and under-skilled U.S. workers to do these jobs?

The order in which we answer the questions is critical. We first must determine what products (or services) should be made in the U.S. Unfortunately we seem to be attempting to solve the job creation problem in reverse order. We want to train and re-train for many jobs that might be obsolete or become low-paying in the very near future. And not all jobs that might be created help the U.S. become or remain competitive.

The U.S. is at the proverbial fork in the road. What road should we take? What products and services should be make and support?

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

Checking References – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Learn a simple and quick technique that maximizes the quality and quantity of information that you get from job applicant references.

Tips for Checking References

If you’ve ever had to check references on an applicant, you probably already know how much of a hassle it can be and just as important how unproductive it can be as well. Either the person on the other end doesn’t want to talk to you, doesn’t have the time or is severely limited in what she can say about past employees due to restrictions from the legal department.

For example, have you ever called to check on a reference and asked the person on the other end,
“How was Mary Smith when she worked for you?”

And they give you a lukewarm response after hemming and hawing for a second or two like:

“Ummm… She was ok, she was alright. She was a good employee.”

Well, unfortunately, that basically tells you absolutely nothing and was essentially a huge waste of your time. You’re no closer to knowing if Mary will be a good hire for you or not.

Here’s a tip on how you can hire better employees and get more out of the time you spend checking references. By making small tweaks to the questions you ask references, you can extract a lot more information out of them and better assess if the applicant will be good hire or not.

General questions like, “How was Mary Smith when she worked for you?” tend to generate canned responses and that’s obviously not what you’re looking for so instead consider asking more specific questions. More specific and detailed questions also tend to take people out of “canned response” mode since they have to think about the question to answer it and now you’re getting closer to the type of information you need to make a good assessment on an applicant.

So instead of a vague and general question, consider asking something like: “Compared to Mary’s peers, describe to me Mary’s ability to deal with change?” Now this is a pretty specific question that you’re going to get an answer to one way or the other. The key now is to listen attentively to both the response and how they respond. Often, it’s not what a reference tells you but how they say it and what they don’t tell you that’s more important.
And the key to getting the most out of references is asking the right questions.

“What are the right questions?”

Check out my post and video on How to Define Job Expectations. You should already know which key skills, characteristics and traits will make for an ideal employee… The right question is any question which elicits a response from the reference and helps you determine whether or not the applicant has the key skills you’re looking for.