Ideal blog

AI for Recruiting: News, Tips, and Trends

Ready to Implement People Analytics? Don’t Forget the Most Important Question

Implementing People Analytics

Michael Cavaretta, Lead Data Scientist (before data science was cool) at Ford Motor Co. crafted a striking article on the fundamentals of analytics. With over 15 years experience, Michael points out the most critical question that is too often overlooked, “so what?”

Many analytics presentations crash and burn because no one answered the question, “so what?” 

We often talk about the power of people analytics and the potential it holds for business large and small. Michael even makes note in his piece, “Anytime you look at business metrics there is an opportunity to use analytics. A hot area right now is the application of big data and analytics to HR processes.”

It’s clear that human resources and hiring are itching for a revolution – but without defined strategy, many firms will fail. Continue reading

Recruitment Revolution: The $3B Business Case for People Analytics

The business case for people analytics

Most recruitment processes are simple:

You send in a resume A human reads it and decides they like the words on the page enough to interview you They bring you in for an interview and have a few people that are not well trained in interviewing, ask you questions The firm makes decisions based on the personality of the applicant and interviewer 1 in 3 new hires leave within 12 months

On the flip side, rejected candidates can go on to become extremely successful, leaving firms sorry they missed the chance when they had it. Continue reading

How Not To Hire The Worst Salespeople

What do people hate about salespeople?

A new survey by the American Management Association found the biggest mistakes salespeople make include:

Being too pushy (24%) Not taking “no” for an answer (23%) Not listening (18%)

Let’s see what the data tell us on how not to hire salespeople who use these ineffective tactics.

Sales mistake #1: Being too pushy

Extraversion – being assertive, enthusiastic, and social – is considered a necessary trait for sales. But salespeople can be too extraverted, which ends up hurting their performance. Research has found that it’s the middle of the pack, the so-called ambiverts, that tend to be most successful in sales.  Continue reading

Hiring? Here’s What Job Seekers Really Want

A recent CareerBuilder survey of 5,013 employees found that 75% were either actively looking for or open to new opportunities. That’s a big potential candidate pool out there.

If you’re currently hiring or thinking of hiring, here’s what you can do to attract the best job candidates.

Job seekers are following the money

CareerBuilder’s survey found the number one reason people look for a new job is “higher base salary.SAP’s survey of 2,872 employees found the number one factor that employees value at work is “competitive compensation.LinkedIn’s survey of 7,530 members who recently changed jobs found the number one reason that would convince them to change jobs is “better compensation and benefits. Continue reading

How The CEO of Zenefits Made My Day By Rejecting A Job Candidate

Yesterday, the CEO of Zenefits, Parker Conrad, made my dreams come true by rejecting a job candidate in a very public – and controversial – manner. Uh, what. Why exactly does this make me happy?

Because it’s a perfect case study of what the research shows are the effects of employer brand: working for lower pay at a strong brand (Uber) instead of a comparatively weaker brand for higher pay (Zenefits) as an investment into your future higher earnings at a different company (Google). As a researcher, I love it when that happens!

In sales and marketing terms, working for a strong brand is the job seeker equivalent of landing a logo.  Continue reading

How To Tell If A Candidate Is Lying In An Interview

One of the biggest complaints about job interviews is that candidates can misrepresent themselves, which can lead to a bad hire. So how can you tell if a job candidate is lying during an interview? Spoiler: You can’t. Not really.

But the research reveals that there are some clues we can use to decide whether someone is telling us the truth.

We’re bad at detecting lies

In a series of experiments, Professor Roulin and colleagues tested how well people were at detecting when someone was lying to them in an interview. Job interviewers were able to correctly detect when a job candidate was lying only 13-22% of the time. Continue reading

Maximize Your Revenue With This Sales Comp Plan

The Harvard Business Review recently published a great article featuring research on the sales compensation that best motivates salespeople. I know how busy you are so I wrote this handy summary for you instead.

The best part? Designing a sales comp plan that maximizes your revenue doesn’t have to be complicated.

What doesn’t motivate salespeople
    Caps on commissions. Research suggests capping commission, a standard feature of sales comp plans, decreases high performers’ motivation and effort. You’re basically telling your sales team: you’re making us too much money, you can stop now. Racheting quotas. There’s a lot of disagreement about whether you should increase a sales rep’s annual quota if they exceeded it in the previous year, but doing so can upset high performers who may view this as unfair.
Continue reading

Base vs. Commission: What Do Salespeople Want?

There’s a common belief that in order to be truly successful, salespeople need to be passionate. While I’m not arguing that’s not true, quite frankly, passion doesn’t pay the bills.

The truth is that compensation still matters, and it matters a lot. While selling can be extremely rewarding and fun, it’s also demanding and stressful. That’s why it’s no accident that salespeople tend to be among the highest paid employees in a company.

So employers: Do you know what salespeople really want when it comes to compensation? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

How much salespeople typically get paid

Although average salaries are going to vary widely based on numerous factors such as quota, the industry, and the product/service itself, we can get a hint at what typical sales compensation looks like. Continue reading

The Opportunity Costs Of Not Hiring A Sales Rep

The costs of replacing a highly paid employee can be up to 213% of their annual salary. For sales in particular, research has found the average cost of replacing a failed sales hire is $114,957.

With such high costs associated with a single hiring mistake, it’s not surprising that people tend to follow the hire slow, fire fast mantra. But what’s missing from this decision is an analysis of the opportunity costs of not hiring.

What do these opportunity costs consist of? The potential sales revenue and market share you’ve lost out on by not hiring a sales rep. Continue reading

Startup Hiring: Do Perks Really Matter?

There’s an oft-repeated statistic in the startup world: More than 95% of startups fail.

Now that we have that cheerful news out of the way, do those crazy perks that startups offer when hiring actually make a difference when it comes to its survival?

A new study aimed to find out.

Why startups offer perks when hiring

Companies advertise their perks when hiring because of the belief that they build a sense of reciprocity between the employees and the company, which motivates employees to perform better and increases their commitment to stay. Offering perks is a popular hiring tactic because it’s perceived as a relatively cost-effective and flexible way for a startup to do so. Continue reading

Brains or Personality: Which Predicts Performance Better?

If there’s one “rule” in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, it’s that intelligence (i.e., cognitive ability) is the strongest predictor of job performance. But there’s a glaring omission in this claim: the vast majority of research has looked at task performance, that is, the behaviors related to your official job responsibilities and duties.

We know that job performance is also made up of two other types: (1) harmful counterproductive work behaviors and (2) helpful organizational citizenship behaviors.

How well does intelligence predict these other two types of job performance?

Harmful CWBs & helpful OCBs

First, some definitions.

Counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) are ones that (1) harm the organization such as theft, sabotage, or shirking responsibility and (2) harm employees such as yelling, insults, or taking credit for someone else’s work. Continue reading

Sales Recruiting In 2015: The Trends You Need To Know

Do you know what your competitors are doing when it comes to sales recruiting in 2015?

LinkedIn recently released their 2015 Global Recruiting Trends report, which surveyed 4,125 recruitment professionals around the world including 300 from Canada and 406 from the U.S.

I outline the relevant recruiting trends that sales leadership needs to know.

Hiring volume & budget

63% of companies expect their hiring volume to increase and 46% of companies expect their hiring budget to increase.

What does this mean for you? There’s a good chance your competitors are hiring (more) salespeople in 2015.

Hiring priorities

Organizations’ top hiring priorities include improving sourcing techniques and pipelining talent. Continue reading

How to Cut through the Resume Noise and Find the Right Sales Talent

Source: The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t, Book by Nate Silver

According to recent data from, the position of sales rep has the fourth highest number of job listings. It’s clear that companies need sales people. With the widespread adoption of automated applicant-tracking systems, applying for job listings is easier than ever. This ease and convenience often means a single job posting can attract hundreds, if not thousands, of job applicants.

What can a person who’s hiring do to cut through the resume noise? A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 21% of employers claimed that “not knowing enough about the job candidates” was the cause of making a bad hire. Continue reading

Sales Hiring Tips: Snobby Salespeople Sell More (Sometimes)

Counterintuitive to everything you think you know about selling— new research from the Sauder School of Business shows snobby salespeople increase sales. What does this mean for your sales team?

In the study, participants had interactions with sales representatives – rude or not. They then rated their feelings about associated brands and their desire to own them. Participants who expressed an aspiration to be associated with high-end brands also reported an increased desire to own the luxury products after being treated poorly.

With a catchy title and unanticipated findings, it’s no surprise the study is getting a lot of attention. Yet, what is truly interesting about this emerging research is the underlying question it asks— does anyone really know what works in sales? Continue reading

LinkedIn Profile Tips For Salespeople: What Shaq Got Wrong

Earlier this week, Shaquille O’Neal created what has been deemed by the internet, the best LinkedIn profile of all time. While the 4× NBA Champion may have reached 500+ connections in a matter of days, it may take you a little longer. Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for both sales and sales job hunting.

What Shaq Got Right: Confidence  “My best asset is that I am proven to lead teams to championships,” he writes. “I mean multiple championships.” A healthy dose of confidence can set you apart when prospective employers and clients are viewing your profile. You’ve only got a few hundred words to sell yourself. Continue reading

Why Job Fit Matters: How to Win (Work) Friends & Influence People

What’s the most important hiring consideration for an employer? When it comes to a job candidate who otherwise possesses the necessary skills, it’s virtually guaranteed to be one thing…

Fit: How well he or she will get along with the rest of the team. In fact, it’s deemed so important that hiring managers will overlook a lack of qualifications if they feel the fit is right.

These findings pair nicely with research by Professors Casciaro and Lobo highlighted in the Harvard Business Review. They found that – regardless of hiring managers’ claims that they hire for competence over likability – people prefer to work with “lovable fools” vs. Continue reading

Top 4 Trends in Sales: Are your Sales Hiring Practices Ready for Them?

Saying the world of sales is rapidly changing is probably an understatement. With the arrival of Sales 2.0, sales reps are facing a whole new set of both opportunities and challenges.

What’s currently rocking the sales world?

1. The (big) data revolution

Sales hasn’t been exempt from the explosion in big data and data analytics. The new metrics being collected include analytical insights into sales performance and effectiveness. Data has long played a central role in sales, but today’s volume and complexity of data collection and analysis requires a higher level of quantitative and interpretative skills in order to translate numbers into actionable insights. Continue reading

Managers: You’re Smart People – Why Are You Still Using SATs in Recruitment?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article exposing some of the world’s leading employers still using SAT scores for pre-hire screening.

For hiring managers and job seekers around the globe, it’s difficult to read. Companies request them even for senior sales and management hires, eliciting scores from job candidates in their 40s and 50s.” Despite all research pointing towards no correlation between SAT score and job performance, candidates decades out of school are being asked to reveal how their seventeen-year-old selves performed in reading comprehension one Saturday morning.

Why? The answer lies in an age-old issue still hindering businesses today: many managers don’t know what is a job performance indicator at their company.  Continue reading

The Eye-opening Relationship Between IQ And EQ in Sales Performance

Last week’s Theory Thursday examined the surprising relationship between extraversion and sales. Today I investigate the interaction between intelligence and social skills in salespeople. Which brings in more revenue – IQ or EQ?

A common perception of a good salesperson places emphasis on personality over brains. However, as today’s increasingly complex market places both cognitive and emotional demands on salespeople, there may be more to the story. In fact, experts like Lynette Ryals and Javier Marcos argue in the Harvard Business Review that today’s sales reps need both relational skills and cognitive skills to succeed.

So what does the data tell us? Continue reading

The Surprising Truth about Extraversion and Sales Performance

What makes someone a good salesperson? Decades of research on sales performance suggests someone who is intelligent, adaptive, conscientious, and extraverted is successful in sales (Churchill, Ford, Hartley, & Walker, 1985Verbeke, Dietz, & Verwaal, 2011Vinchur, Schippmann, Switzer, & Roth, 1998).

So all you need to do is hire the people who score the highest on these characteristics, right? Not so fast. Recent research suggests it’s not that simple.

In 2013, Professor Adam M. Grant of the University of Pennsylvania surprised the sales world with a study that showed a curvilinear relationship between extraversion and sales performance. Continue reading