“So, you are the best salesperson in the company, and you just got promoted to lead a sales team of ten?” I asked.
“Yes, our company is growing fast,” Miguel replied. “Don’t get me wrong, the orders don’t fall in our laps. We have to work hard for every contract. Our sales cycle is about two years. We have to work with individual administrators and selection committees. There is a lot of data collection. Often, the buy-decision process isn’t well defined and can change in the middle.”
“And now, you are the leader of a team of ten?”
“Worse. There are seven of us, one is going out on maternity leave, so, my manager said the first thing I have to do is hire four new rookies.”
“So, what’s the problem?” I chuckled.
Miguel did not share my sense of humor. “HR is sending all these people to interview. As HR goes, they mean well, but they really don’t know much about the kind of person I need.”
“What do they have to go on?”
“Not much. Candidates are responding to an ad they posted on some job boards. I mean, the candidates have experience in our industry, but not the kind of experience that will be helpful.”
“So, who is the hiring manager?” I wanted to know.
“Well, I am. I will be their manager when they come on board,” he nodded.
“And you will be accountable for their output?”
“So, it is in your best self-interest to help HR send you better candidates? How are going to do that?”
“I don’t know,” he shook his head. “I am really just a salesperson. I mean, I closed $2 million in sales last year, so I know the job.”
“Why don’t you start there? Sit down and clearly define the steps in the work. Without that, HR will continue to send you the luck of the draw. HR can be helpful, but once the candidate is hired, they are not accountable for the output of your team. It’s up to you, not HR.”