The Rule of 6

Our good friends over at SalesForce Search taught me something very valuable the other day.  It’s called “The Rule of 6”.

“The Rule of 6” had relevance on a recent sales call I had with a prospect who needs to hire a new salesperson.  We discussed the role, and the characteristics of the sales person he would be looking for.  In our practice we use a job benchmarking tool called JOB FIT.  What JOB FIT does is determine what mix of values, behaviors, task preference and selling style the top candidates are going to display.  We are huge proponents of this tool, because these are qualities that are very hard, if not impossible to spot, with a traditional interview.  It takes only 30 minutes to complete.

When I suggested that my prospect take some time to complete this report, along with other members of his management team to ensure that they were all aligned, he responded by telling me he couldn’t find an extra 30 minutes in his day, and would likely forgo the exercise.  “Just send me some candidates to interview.”

This is where “The Rule of 6” comes in.  For every hour of effort it takes you to hire your next sales person, if they end up being a bad hire, it will take six times as long, and six times the effort expended, to terminate them.  When you consider all the extra time spent coaching (above and beyond what a great sales person would take), cajoling, pleading, arguing, listening to their excuses, meeting with mangers to discuss the problems, documenting their performance to satisfy HR’s requirements, not to mention the lost hours of sleep sure to come your way, it’ll probably come close to six times the time and effort spent finding and hiring them.

“The Rule of 6” also applies to cost.  Take your sales person’s base salary.  Now multiply by six the cost associated with a bad hire.  The lost productivity on your part, the missed opportunities to spend more time with your team, the customer issues, the damage to your firm’s reputation, the opportunity cost of not getting sales, the payout.  The list goes on.  And that’s if you fire within the first six months!

So it’s your call.  Invest some extra time now to ensure that you are planning to hire the best available candidate, or roll the dice and do it quickly, but recognize that you will spend six times the time, aggravation, money to fix your mistake.