Τable of Contents
CHAPTER 1: MOTIVATION AND OBJECTIVES OF DISSERTATION
1.3 Research Objectives
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 Salespeople motivation (incentives for work)
2.3 Salespeople recruitment
2.4 Salespeople selection
2.5 Salespeople training
2.5.1 The need for training salespeople and training objectives
2.5.2 Modern critical considerations in traditional subjects and modes of training salespeople
2.5.3 Methods of training salesmen
2.6 Traits of salespeople
2.6.1 Personal characteristics
2.6.3 Behavioral characteristics of the salesperson
2.7 Correlation of salespeople recruitment and selection methods with training programs (in the heavy industry sector)
2.8 Suggested Salespeople Selection & Training Process
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY AND RESEARCH LITERATURE REVIEW
3.1 Research Philosophy (Positivism vs. Phenomenology)
3.2 Research Approach (Inductive vs. Deductive)
3.3 Research Types
3.4 Research Design
Preparing the questionnaire
3.5 Sampling methods
3.6 The role of the Researcher
3.7 Validity and Reliability
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS
4.2 Quantitative Research
4.2.1 Aim of the Quantitative Research
4.2.2 Participants and Response Rate
4.2.4 Instrument of Quantitative Research
4.2.5 Method of Contact
4.2.6 Pilot testing
4.2.8 Data Collection
4.2.10 Statistical analysis
4.2.11 Questionnaire Analysis
4.2.12 Sources and attraction methods of salesmen in the Greek heavy industry
4.2.13 Selection methods of industrial salesmen in the Greek Heavy Industry companies
4.2.14 Greek Heavy Industry salespeople training
4.3 Qualitative Research
4.3.2 Participants and Response Rate
4.3.3 Validity / Reliability
4.4 Analysis of answers to questions regarding the uniqueness of the heavy industry with regards to recruitment, selection and training
4.4.1 Profile of salesman at the Greek heavy industry
4.4.2 Greek Heavy Industry Companies and the Industrial Salesman
4.5 Primary research limitations
4.6 Primary Research Conclusions
4.7 Conclusions regarding the correlated view upon the three factors
CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
5.1 Incentives for work and integration of approaches
5.2 Attraction and selection of industrial salespeople
5.3 Training of industrial salespeople
5.4 Industrial salespeople turnover
5.5 Proposals for practical implementation of the results
5.6 Recommendations for further research
APPENDIX 1: QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE RECRUITING PROCESSES OF THE INDUSTRIAL SALESMEN
APPENDIX 2: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE
List of tables
Table 1: Salesmen selection procedure model
Table 2: Salesmen selection tools (Ν= 121)
Table 3: Ability of forecasting staff performance of the various selection tools
Table 4: Reliability of various methods of selection criteria
Table 5: Sales training methods
Table 6: Training time of new salespeople
Table 7: Cost & training time of salespeople
Table 8: Cost of new hires
Table 9: Selection criteria based on the rating of 100 sales managers
Table 10: Hierarchy of personal characteristics as a criterion for recruitment
Table 11: The important personality characteristics for salespeople
Table 12: Benefits of census compared to sampling
Table 13: COMPANY & RESPONDENTS’ PROFILE
Table 14: methods of filling vacant sales positions
Table 15: intervies process factors – greek heavy industry companies
Table 16: time frequency of changing/modifying salesman job description
Table 17: methodology & training – greek heavy industry salespeople
Table 18: Characteristics of the family & business system
Table 19: business – evolution stages
List of Figures
Figure 1 Barchart summarizing the ways the Greek Heavy Industry Companies under study use to find candidate industrial salespeople
Figure 2 Barchart depicting selection methods of Industrial Salesmen in the major Greek Heavy Industry companies
Figure 3 Greek Heavy Industry salespeople required qualifications
Figure 4 Piechart – Integration of salespeople recruitment,selection and training
The dissertation examines the theoretical background of recruitment, selection and training methods of salespeople, and in particular of industrial salespeople. Qualitative and quantitative research data were obtained from a sample of Human Resources and Commercial Directors of the biggest Greek heavy industry companies, to examine how the above issues are applied in practice in the Greek industrial sector.
The results found concerned the following: recruiting and selection in heavy industry companies, follows international practices. However, selection process does not include personality characteristics and it is not sophisticated. Training, on the other hand, is focused on product knowledge rather than skills and the goals of training which are not specific.
Although there is a lot of literature on salespeople there is no definition, worldwide, for the industrial salesperson. In addition, there is a lot of literature in general for salespeople but not for Heavy Industry salespeople.
The present research showed that the definition of the heavy industry salesperson, is a salesperson that possesses preferably technical background and has minimum 3 – 5 years work experience in the heavy industry environment.
The impact of the report on the Greek Heavy Industry sector, is that its HRM practices in Recruitment and Training are studied and discussed for the first time. Furthermore, there is no available literature on these practices specifically for salespeople. Meanwhile, it is the first time that such practices will be studied in the particular sector, since there is very limited literature for Heavy Industry sector, despite its economic importance. As mentioned above, there is a lot of literature on salespeople but not on Heavy Industry salespeople, and in particular the human resources practices implemented to the particular industry.
Furthermore, due to the fact that there is no literature available on Heavy Industry HRM policies, its practices - compared with B2B practices on the specific areas- similarities and differences are discussed. In addition, it has been the first time that issues like recruitment and training are analyzed in combination.
Therefore, the most profound impact of this thesis is that it has added new knowledge for the Human Resources practices in an important industry that has not been studied so far. This new knowledge concerns the implementation of recruitment, selection and training processes in a academically “neglected sector” such as Heavy Industry .
Key words: Recruitment, Selection, Training, Greek Heavy Industry, Industrial salesperson.
CHAPTER 1: MOTIVATION AND OBJECTIVES OF DISSERTATION
In the present study, I have the role of the researcher who is also a professional. At the same time, I have been a lecturer in marketing for British Universities for the last sixteen years, which has enabled me to know theoretically the problems of sales and salespeople. This is accentuated by the fact that all these years I have been teaching for MBA programs and seminars -and many of my students are salespeople. In addition, I worked in the past as a Director of Executive Search responsible for recruiting top level executives on behalf of my clients, among them sales managers and sales directors, for a variety of industries among them Heavy Industry. I have also written numerous articles on sales issues.
Furthermore, I have cooperated with the National Institute of Labour and Human Resources, which is the official Institute of the Greek government for studying and promoting issues such as professional training according to the relevant proposals of European Union. In addition, I am a European Community expert on marketing and innovation for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).
Additionally, I am a certified Sales trainer of Sandler and Dale Carnegie systems and a certified Trainer in Adult education of the National School of Public Administration. Being a Sales trainer for sales people has enabled me to teach sales people from various industries and discuss with them the selling problems they face, as well as the problems their industries face. Teaching sales people enabled me to understand better salespeople training needs. My ex-role - as Marketing Director at Microsoft Hellas- has also enabled me to understand the particular problems sales people face. As a certified trainer in Adult education, I have the opportunity to talk with various public sector executives and understand their training needs realizing, how they construct their training programs. This fact has enabled me to improve further my professional knowledge in training which I found very useful since it provided me with a thorough understanding of training, something that I found particularly useful for my present research.
The reason, I have chosen to study the particular subjects, is that - as a professional- I have noticed weak decisions in salespeople recruitment causes problems in the companies’ turnover and productivity. Furthermore, I have been surprised by the fact that, in many occasions, sales managers, who were not involved in the selection of their sales subordinates and recruitment agencies, were employing young executives specialized in HRM but not in sales and had them responsible for the recruitment of sales people and sales managers. As a result, they did not make the best recruitment decisions.
I have also noticed that despite the fact that the European Union subsidizes many professional training programs, few companies, actually, had training as part of their Human Resources policies. Salespeople were hired and no training in other skills was implemented. Training was usually focused on product training and this was mostly done in industries such as pharmaceuticals, whereas in other industries such as IT, it was very limited. According to my experience as a Sales Trainer, mostly multinational companies used to train their salespeople in other skills apart from product training. I refer to the past, since I do not work as a sales trainer anymore, so I do not have current professional knowledge on the multinational companies training practices.
I have chosen to study the Greek Heavy Industry sector since this is a sector that is well organized compared to other ones, which are not sophisticated in these issues. It has existed for long and its importance for Greek economy is big since Greece is a rich country in raw materials and recent data have proved Greece to have been a rich country in natural gas and petrol (MBendi, 2013)
Greek HRM managers are highly educated and experienced as they have to handle difficult issues such as negotiations with trade unions (Papalexandri et al., 2011).
Recruitment, selection and training of industrial people constitute three factors that companies pay a lot of attention to when refering to their Human Resources (HR) departments. Some of those companies address those three issues separately. However, the continuous and increasing importance of the role of salespeople at both international and local level poses new needs to companies when addressing those three issues. Furthermore, it makes it imperative to study further and investigate the factors affecting the preference in favour of salespeople towards the creation of an effective sales team.
The importance of the role of industrial salesmen for a company performance is big because the largest volume of the trade (75%) of a country takes place in the industrial market (Kotler 2001). Οn the other hand, in this particular market sales constitute the bulk of the budget of a company and an important part of its promotion (Papalexandri et al., 2011).
In the Greek academic literature, industrial salespeople are studied as a whole. Unfortunately, neither special importance has been given to recruitment, selection and training nor have they been studied separately for each by different industries. The study by industry is of great importance because each sector has specific characteristics regarding both the tasks and the characteristics of each salesperson. It is therefore imperative to analyze these three factors combined, which is not done in both the international and Greek literature. More specifically, the industrial salesperson in the heavy industry sector will be studied.
At this point, it has to be mentioned that the definition for heavy industry used in the present thesis is the one given by the Bank of Greece (2012:35) i.e. “ It relates to a form of business that is typically capital-intensive, there are high barriers to entry and transportability is low. The term "heavy" means that the goods produced by "heavy industry companies" are products like iron, coal, oil etc. Nowadays, the term heavy industry also refers to industries that disrupt the environment i.e. by polluting it, deforestation, etc. Industries that are typically considered heavy include:
1. Chemicals and plastics
2. Steel and oil refining, production
4. Industrial machinery
5. Mass transit (railways, airlines, shipbuilders)
Another characteristic of heavy industry is that the companies in this industry sell quite often their products to other industrial customers, rather than to the end consumer. Heavy industry companies are usually a part of the supply chain of other products. Consequently, their stock prices will often rally at the beginning of an economic upturn and are often the first companies to take advantage and benefit from an increase in demand.” (Bank of Greece, 2012:37)
In the Greek context, the first four parts were studied namely chemicals, plastics, steel and oil refining, mining and industrial machinery. Railways were not studied since they belong to the State which has very different procedures in recruitment and training and, furthermore, public sector is not an area of interest - for me- as I focus on the private sector.. Shipbuilders are divided in two categories: the small and medium ones and the big shipbuilders which are Skaramaga, Neorio, Elefsina, Halkida, and Nafsi. The reason why shipbuilders were not selected is that they do not employ salespeople but mostly workers, administrative personnel and naval architects who are not the target group of my study.
The industrial salespeople - in the heavy industry sector, have not been studied at all in Greece and there has been a limited study, internationally (excluding Russia). It is believed that this study will contribute both to the academic literature and to the daily practice of HR managers, Sales Directors and General Managers.
The aim of the present thesis is to analyse the issues of recruitment and training and their importance in the Greek Heavy industry and - at the same time- a research was conducted. The research targets at HRM executives of the major Greek Heavy Industry companies and follows a mixed method i.e. quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative aims at recording the recruitment, selection and training practices applied and the qualitative aims at getting more in depth in these areas in order to find out the unique characteristics of the Greece.
Following up the original analysis of responses to a questionnaire which focused on current practice of the Industry to select, recruit and train its sales people, I have gone back to my original respondents to open up a debate using these questions as a way of enriching my data about what characteristics the salesperson in Greek Heavy Industry. Following up the original analysis of responses to a questionnaire which focused on current practice of the Industry to select, recruit and train its sales people, I have gone back to my original respondents to open up a debate using these questions as a way of enriching my data about what characterises the salesperson in Greek Heavy Industry.
The research questions of the qualitative part of the research are the following:
- What are the critical factors that make a difference to the effectiveness of selling teams in the specific context of Heavy Industries in Greece?
- What is the importance of selection, recruitment and training in making effective salespeople?
- How important are each of these variables in the way companies select sales personnel?
- What are the common practices for attracting salespeople at an international level and in the Greek heavy industry sector?
More specifically, the dissertation will aim at answering the research objectives in a twofold manner. The stages I planned to go through are the following: first, a secondary research was performed in terms of contemporary trends for attracting, selecting and training salespeople at a worldwide level, the reason why companies perform such research separately and the reason why a combined approach could be useful. Secondly, a primary research that a questionnaire is to be used, will target specific responses from Greek heavy industry employees, in terms of how the aforementioned trends can be implemented (in case they are implemented, at all). The goal of the primary research will be to enhance the secondary research findings, so as to result in the final recommendations This way, it is claimed that the current dissertation will attempt to address this issue from a more general perspective and then, from a specific point of view, so as to thoroughly reply to the research questions chosen, extract useful conclusions and proceed also further recommendations.
In the conclusion part, I will discuss the results of the research and make suggestions on how the HRM departments of the Greek Heavy Industry Sector can improve their processes in recruitment and training so as to get better results.
1.3 Research Objectives
The study will meet the following objectives:
1. Review the academic literature on recruitment and training of salespeople more specifically on B2B salespeople which is the most relevant concept for Heavy Industry salespeople
2. Analyze the role of a Heavy Industry salesman.
3. Analyze the benefits of successful salespeople recruitment and training methods.
4. Propose ways of optimizing salespeople recruitment and training in the Greek Heavy Industry.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter includes a thorough literature review on the identification of the most important factors in making successful salespeople. To do so, it it describes the way salespeople are recruited, selected and trained. To investigate the latter, it spans across three axes, namely:
- salespeople recruitment
- salespeople training
- traits of salespeople considered in the aforementioned processes and potential integration
In this respect, the literature review attempts to enlighten the research questions posed in chapter 1, mostly in relation to why an integrated approach could fit and how this can be put into effect from companies. As an integrated approach is meant that recruitment, selection and training should be seen as a whole process i.e. defining the desired criteria/qualifications for the salesperson, select him/her based on these criteria and execute a training program based on the characteristics of the company’s specific salespeople types and needs.
I have been studying the below terms in the international academic literature since 1960’s up to now. The reason I started my search in 1960’s is that, I had been trying to find any possible research on heavy industry salespeople because mentioned bibliography is extremely limited - on this topic-. Then, I had to find anything close to this topic, such as industrial salespeople. I realized that there is also limited bibliography on this term, so I had to look for a broader term that would include the other two, that is to say: Business to Business salespeople.
Therefore, the search terms I looked up were: heavy industry salesman/salespeople, industrial salesman/salespeople, B2B salesman/salespeople, recruitment, training, selection, salespeople. I have searched the above through academic electronic libraries and more specifically the library of Athens University of Economics and Business, University of Wales, University of Glyndwr and Athens.
According to Dessler (2006:61) “Job analysis is the procedure through which you determine the duties of these jobs and the characteristics of the people who should be hired for them.”
Job analysis is very crucial as this is the basis for salesman activities. Job analysis includes what is needed from a salesman, what are his/her tasks and duties.
According to Woods (2006:55) job analysis, as well as job specification specifies clearly what are the required skills and knowledge, required for the position, in the present case, the salesman position.
Brannick, Levine & Morgeson (2007) suggest that job analysis is, actually, a way and a method to comprehend the nature of job activities by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Human Resources departments are responsible for hiring employees and among them salespeople. Recruiting is divided into internal and external recruiting i.e. when the HR department hires e.g. an employee from another division of the organization then this is called internal recruiting whereas when it hires from outside courses then this is called external recruiting . (Wood, 2006: 99-100).
According to Cron & DeCarlo (2009) personal selling is when an organization’s paid representative communicates directly to potential customers. This type of direct communication aims at achieving commercial profitable transactions, account development and customer satisfaction.
According to UPSA (2002) a salesperson is an individual that his/her job is to represent a selling company while at the same time s/he should try to find out and satisfy the needs of customers. This effort should attempt at achieving mutual long-`term benefits for both parties i.e. the selling organization and the customer.
Spencer & Spencer (1993:21) suggest that a skill is the “ability to perform a certain mental or physical task”. A salesperson has to perform mental tasks such as knowing and getting informed about the market and his/her customers, organizing his time, preparing bids etc.
“Training, in the most simplistic definition, is an activity that changes people’s behavior.” (McCleland, 2002:7). Another definition of training is suggested by Sommervile (2007:208) whereas according to Sommerville “Training is the process that provides employees with the knowledge and the skills required to operate within the systems and standards set by management.”
According to Sternberg et al. (1999) sales performance is influenced by practical intelligence, adaptive behavior, expertise as well as tacit knowledge. Furthermore, Bradford et al. (2010) added embeddedness and centricity as influencers of sales performance and believe that there should be more research on sales management, sales team performance etc
Expertise is the most important factor in successful salespeople (Weitz, Sujan & Sujan, 1986). The first ones that mentioned expertise were Schank and Abelson (1977). According to a research by Leong, Busch and John (1989), experienced salespeople deal more successfully with atypical situations than novice, whereas in typical sales situations both had similar success rates.
Beswick & Craven (1977) stressed the fact that, only successful salespeople can last long enough, to gain the adequate experience (Beswick & Craven, 1977).
Following expertise, intelligence is important but not the academic one. In the past IQ tests were quite common in sales selection, however, the test scores were not related to sales success (Weitz, 1981).
In 2000, Sternberg et al. distinguished intelligence into three types i.e. analytical, practical and creative. They developed Sternberg Successful Intelligence which is comprised by the above three intelligence types that, when combined, can be a success predictor within the specific socio-cultural context of the individual. i.e. the individual has to work in a business environment that promotes the above combination or does s/he have to work in an environment that prefers more a certain type than another. According to my personal professional experience in the IT market, the types preferred are analytical and practical rather than creative. Nevertheless, despite of the type of intelligence, intelligence is important for sales success.
A third very important factor as discovered by Weitz (1978) was the salesperson’s knowledge of customer’s needs. Sternberg and Horvarth (1999) found that this knowledge should be adapted into the relevant selling behaviour. This adaptation requires tacit knowledge. Wagner (1987) was the first one that related tacit knowledge to sales performance i.e. the knowledge to achieve short term tasks and long term tasks. In a sales context, the sales man has to understand and prioritize its tasks, distinguish which of them have to be accomplished short term and which long term. It has to do with the salesperson’s cognitive processes as suggested by Szulanski, Cappettav & Jensen (2004).
According to Weitz & Bradford (1999) there are four criteria for selling effectiveness namely production orientation that the salesperson attempts to achieve his/her intermediate goals by giving information and taking orders from the customers.
Sales orientation is the second one. In this case the salesperson should persuade -current and potential- customers to buy the selling organization’s products and services.
Marketing orientation that the salesman actually acts as a consultant and solves customers’ problems. Finally, the most advanced orientation is the one of trusted advisor orientation that the salesperson tries to satisfy his/her customer’s long term requirements and needs.
Since it is difficult for one single person to possess skills - that can satisfy all the above situations- the sales manager should create sales teams that have diverse skills and experience, in order to cover all the different sales situations (Jones,Dixon, Chonko & Cannon, 2005; Moon & Armstrong, 1994).
Modern companies have moved from pure sales transactional activities into more customer centred ones (Jones et al., 2005). Order takers are replaced by account managers, whose role is to find unique opportunities and meet customers’ needs by providing long term innovative solutions (Dixon et al., 2003).
2.2 Salespeople motivation (incentives for work)
Employee motivation is the provision of motives, means and encouragement to an organisation’s employees, tailored to their individual mentality, needs and desires, so as to contribute to the overall organisation’s success, aligned with each employee’s own evolution (Akerlof, 1989; Baker, 1994; Leonard, 1987; Medoff, 1980). This definition summarizes the gist of every aspect that could lead to an organisation’s smooth operation in modern business. However, it seems difficult to realize, mostly due to 2 reasons:
- individuality decreases as the size of a organisation increases
- the alignment of personal success with the organisation’s success seems equally difficult to be achieved.
In addition to the above mentioned, there are also several factors, -that need to be considered when discussing on employee motivation- the most important of which is the way, motivation should be instilled in employees. Should a manager rely upon their employees’ eagerness and good will in promoting a product/service or even getting a simple job done, or should they impose eagerness upon employees, independent of their intentions? Trying to identify the right answers to the questions above becomes complicated, since each employee disposes an individual mentality, e.g. “some have a self-starting approach to every job at hand, others may need an extra nudge to the right direction before results can be expected” (Anderson & Goltsi, 2006:32)
Fortunately however, employee motivation has been proved to be effective - in almost every case- when the right motivation criteria are added into the motivation mix. There are some motivation techniques which are known to motivate employees fast, in particular employees that need to have higher levels of motivation. However, it is preferable to have a structured incentive program that will be based on objectives. In particular, even though employee motivation is traditionally targeted at employees with rather low levels of motivation, even the ones that dispose several facets of entrepreneurship and are self-motivated, tend to respond well to motivation techniques. (Nikolaou & Judge, 2007).
Therefore, the motivation policy that is best applied is global. The key is the creation of a rewards system that is incentive based that will enable employees to achieve high performance (Perry et al., 2006; Stajkovic & Luthans, 2003).
Herzberg et al. (1959) identified that the basic motivations for salespeople lie in the work itself, rather than in the salaries or other objective feedback retrieved from work. More recent research (Uduji, 2013) seem to verify Herzberg’s theory i.e. the basic motivation of salespeople is in the work itself .He extends it further - by the work- it is perceived in different ways [by salespeople ] i.e. some use work as a way for achievement, others for affiliation, whereas others use it for power.
In this respect, it would be of great interest to either verify or just enhance Herzberg’s findings in the area of the Greek heavy industry salespersons.
2.3 Salespeople recruitment
The process of attraction and recruitment is crucial for the final decision on hiring a salesman.
In the relevant articles, there is a trend in separating the attraction processes depending on whether the companies want to hire experienced sales staff which will "pull" the market immediately or apprentices who will gradually integrate in the production process and will be prepared through organized training procedures (Exadaktylos, 1997, Patton and King. 1992). On this basis, companies follow different steps to attract sales personnel.
While in the literature the process and methods to attract salespeople constitute a general process of selecting salespeople, in the present study, they will be separated into two distinct but interrelated processes, having the actions in one part of attracting and selecting on the other so as to analyze both better.
The importance of recruiting the right people seems to be fundamental prerequisite for the corporate success. The human factor is very significant; this has been the widely expressed opinion of numerous researchers - at an international level. In this respect, companies should do their best, in order to attract successful and eager to work employees (salespeople). Furthermore, the process of attracting candidate salespeople to be completed and lead to a correct final selection decision (selection), should clearly define the following (Powell,2001:43): a) Job Analysis, b) job description, c) job specification , d) sources of attracting candidates and ultimately salespeople and finally e) who performs the procedures involved and makes the final decision.
In conclusion, the recruitment of the appropriate salespeople for a company is a long-standing problem of modern management processes and constitutes a main driver towards the successful operation of a company (O’Neill & Allen, 2011).
2.4 Salespeople selection
The selection process (selection) of the sales force is crucial to the business, not only because the costs of selection, recruitment (and training) are large, but also because of the impact of the increased leave rate of salespeople (sales force turnover) in an enterprise. In general, it includes the following stages: job analysis, determining the necessary qualifications for the job, attracting candidate salesmen, the process of interviewing candidates, the final selection, the financial proposal and then the adaptation of newly recruited salesmen and their assimilation in the organization, or in a simpler way it is a process of prediction (of the future performance) in three stages: analysis of the work position, decision of selection and validation of the decision.
Johnston and Cooper (1981) analyzed the process of selecting salespeople in the industry as a sequence of collecting information, each of which results in a separate decision to exclude candidates until the final decision - to choose one or more salesmen- is reached. This process consists of 1) gathering information and recommendations from professional and personal sources, 2) application (application form), 3) initial interview, and 4) interviews and then tests of those who qualified for the procedure.
According to Johnston and Cooper (1981) most industries use this type of sequence and they exclude candidates who are not qualified at each stage.This methodology framework has as a basic characteristic the sequential selection of industrial salespeople (sequential decision theory). They notice that the final decision on selecting the right candidate- saleman, varies depending on whether the process is made by a single decision (single-decision process) or whether it includes the results of each phase (multi-decision process), weighted according to the weight that the industry has set as more relevant to the job (Johnston and Cooper, 1981: 50).
To set an example, Johnston and Cooper (1981) mention that in the one-dimensional selection process, the initial assessment is based on an analysis of the curriculum vitae of the salesperson, the relevance with sales experience plays a leading role in relation to the overall working experience. Instead, the multidimensional evaluation process, after having done the personal interview with the candidate, the parameters of the personality-such as the desire to deal with the sale-are more appreciated by the evaluator in relation to work experience. They, therefore, conclude that the evaluation process should be multidimensional and should determine the factors - that should be taken into consideration- in each phase, and the importance (weight) they have.
A model of a candidate salesmen selection procedure that dominates the literature, follows a synthesis of the one-dimensional and the multidimensional selection process. Initially, a pre-evaluation of the information contained in the CV or an application of the candidate salesman is done, which turns down those who do not meet the basic requirements (one-dimensional selection process) and then the remaining selection methods (multidimensional selection process) follow.
Diagrammatically, this model of process is the following:
Table 1: Salesmen selection procedure model
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Mastroyanni, F. 2010. Salespeople recruitment methods and training. The case of industrial salespeople in Greece. DProf Dissertation.
The salespeople selection tools most commonly used in the industry are shown by a research carried out by Dubinsky and Barry (1982). 121 U.S. industrial firms (74 small and 47 large) consisted the sample and showed the following:
Table 2: Salesmen selection tools (Ν= 121)
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Dubinsky & Barry (1982:93)
Dubinsky and Barry (1982) were among the first that studied salespeople selection tools and their findings on tools and their implementation by large firms. This was taken into consideration into the present research, since Heavy Industry companies are large firms.
The research of Hunter and Hunter (1984) is very interesting because it examines the correlation degree between the various recruitment and selection tools with the performance of the selected staff.
Table 3: Ability of forecasting staff performance of the various selection tools
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Source: Hunter & Hunter (1984: 35).
It is noted that the interview - in which many companies are paying increased attention for the selection of candidates’ salesmen- is the sixth in a row of eleven personnel selection methods with a correlation coefficient of 0.14. Reaffirming that it is not the most reliable tool, as the assessors can only support their decisions whereas tests have a greater degree of reliability.
As the selection of sales staff includes, on the one hand, the evaluation and on the other the decision, it is important to look at the way the evaluators reach their final choice. Patton and King (1992) studied models of human judgement that were used for the selection of potential salesmen. The survey used the judgement of hundred seventy-eight sales directors of companies in USA. The sample consisted of companies that were engaged by 69% in industrial sales and 31% in fast moving consumer goods market. They compared the effectiveness of forecasting models, as the qualifications of each candidate salesperson, also in predicting specific jobs (for trainee management position, trainee salespeople aiming at a sales career, salesperson going directly into work, salesperson with high initial salary).
The models of human judgement -under which the evaluators relied on to predict the future performance of salesmen- are classified according to Patton and King (1992):
1) Linear models: they are based on the gathering of the highest marks/scores.
Additive model: in this model the score that each candidate has taken for each characteristic - desirable for the position- is added to the overall score and the candidate with the highest average is hired.
Weighted additive model: in this model the criteria, which determine the choice are given weighing factors. The candidate who is selected is again the one who has the highest score, but this has emerged through weighing. So the criteria are more important and determine the final selection (e.g. experience in sales to academic education).
2) Non Linear models: non-linear models require the availability of good scores in all criteria. If someone does not score enough to one of the criteria then s/he does not "move on" in the process.
- Conjunctive: candidates who have the lowest score belong to this category. Finally, the best among the worst is selected.
- Disjunctive: in this case, the assessor judges the candidate the highest score on any of the criteria. S/he who is selected has the greatest degree in one of the criteria.
- Lexicographic: the candidate salesperson who will take the highest score in a predetermined criterion, which has been characterized as the most important attribute, is the one that is chosen. If two candidates have an important criterion at the same score, then the one that is selected is the one that has the highest score in the second most important criterion. Present research examines the recruitment/selection processes used in the Greek Heavy Industry. Human judgement models are considered as good predictors of salespeople performance. Being used - or not- by the companies studies in the present research is a good indicator on how salespeople performance is taken into consideration in the recruitment process.
Patton and King (1992) conclude that linear models provide better predictive ability for future performance of each potential salesperson, and they base this on all the qualifications laid down as necessary for the job (overall qualifications). From the non-linear models, the lexicographical shows that it has increased effectiveness when it comes to selection decisions in specific circumstances, even in this case, they are less effective than the linear ones.
As already mentioned the choice of candidate salesperson is an effort to forecast the future performance of each candidate in order to recruit the most suitable candidate for this position. It is also seen that the evaluators have access to plenty of information that they should take into account and according to which, they are asked to take the final decision. The most important development while selecting potential salesmen was the growing confidence in the validity of many selection methods, particularly after the use of meta-analysis in recent research.The existence or not of using many recruitment tools by HRM Managers and Sales Executives in the present research is analyzed.
The comparison of Table 4, below to Table 3, shows that the facts presented in them show the reliability of specific selection criteria and their effectiveness in forecasting the performance of salespeople is concerned. Hunter and Hunter (1982- Table 3) give to test skills reliability 0.53 while Cron et al. (2005- Table 4) range from 0.40 in the personality tests, 0,41 the integrity tests,0,48 to test occupational skills (job knowledge tests), up 0.51 on vision tests (cognitive tests), combined with the perception and integrity tests (cognitive ability and integrity) take reliability equal to 0.65, which is 0.14 more reliable from that comprehension test itself. For the biographical information Hunter and Hunter give credibility 0.37 of the 0.35 of Cron, the experience has the same degree of reliability 0.18 with the academic qualifications to 0.10 to 0.11 for the years of education, to the interests they both give 0.10, while for the age the first give 0.01 to -0.01. This comparison shows that the reliability of specific selection criteria- as assessed by Hunter and Hunter (1982)- remains the same as confirmed by the study of Cron in 2005 - the differences being only negligible. In other words, the specific selection criteria are proved reliable in the past and now which makes them excellent to be taken into consideration. The present research examines the recruitment process of the heavy industry salespeople and examines the type of selection criteria used in the selection process.
Table 4: Reliability of various methods of selection criteria
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Source: Cron et al. (2005)
Cron et al. (2005) categorize the data for forecasting future performance in five key categories: job skills / knowledge assessments, special purpose sales assessments, cognitive ability tests, personality inventories and biodata. The last three are those which according to the authors are widely used as criteria for selecting candidate salesmen.
What Cron et al. (2005) show, is that the combination of tests of professional knowledge and skills as well as perception skills tests, are useful tools, for evaluating and selecting salespeople. Indeed, as it was earlier seen, using tests that combine the assessment of perceptual ability and personality of the salesperson, together they have a confidence rate close to 0.65, which means that they are highly reliable. It would be interesting to examine if the Greek heavy industry companies use this combination of tests for their recruitment process.
Regarding personal inventories, the following were noticed: Personality inventories concern the elements of personality that had been used in selection criteria since the '90s, followed relevant research, which demonstrated their validity as a predictor of the future performance of salespeople (Robertson and Smith, 2001:462). Integrity is one of the four traits of personality, that have an increasing role nowadays, since the legal and ethical issues that exist in business environment require salespeople to show integrity. Integrity as an element of personality makes easier the role of the salesperson since it enables him/her to create long-term relationships of trust with customers, which has emerged as a necessary trait of the new role of the salesman from 1990s up today. Optimism -which was previously seen as one of the basic traits of interpersonal skills- according to Rentz, Sheperd, Tashchian, Dabholkar and Ladd (2002) -, is one of the core traits of personality -which should be assessed - to predict the performance of the selected salesman. According to research, optimism can lead to augmented sales. The social competence is the third core trait of the salesman personality. Social competence is not only the personal communication of the salesman with the customer, but it is also related to a wider network of contacts that the salesman develops both inside and outside the company. According to Ogbuehi and Sharma (1999) the new rold of saleman and the development of salesman’s networking abilities require:
Biographical data (biodata): the biographical data rank third regarding the reliability they have compared to their predictive ability. They characterize the personal history of each candidate salesman and can be gathered through the applications of candidates, their CVs and interviews. They are related to the previous work experience of the candidate salesman, his/her academic education or the marks s/he had acquired during his/her school and university years. The logic behind the collection of biographical data is that past performance can predict future performan. For Hunter and Hunter (1984) its reliability is 0.37 and for Cron et al. (2005) it has reliability 0.35 as selection tool.
Employment Application Form
The candidate's job application form is more systematic than the CV, recording the qualifications and the biographical data of the candidate. It helps the company to create a database of candidates and to process and search rapidly the data of candidates. Through the creation of a job application form, the salesperson will be invited to answer questions that relate exclusively to the needs of the job, allowing the evaluators to make a more objective assessment, comparing the same data for each candidate and not those he chooses to raise through his CV. The information that should be included in an application form for employment are demographics (e.g. age, marital status, place of residence, etc.), candidate’s academic studies (e.g. university education, seminars, etc.), previous work experience and recommendations by business people whom the evaluator may contact. Finally, it is important to provide information related to the personality of the candidate, i.e. self-evaluation skills, the strengths and weaknesses of his personality, for which more extensive information can be given during the interview or during the test. People who show greater self-knowledge should be preferred (Earl et al., 1998:84)
The employment application form can be either printed or electronic (provided by the company’s website). It is more prevalent in large, mostly in multinational companies.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
The CV is used more for an initial assessment of the candidates. It is more a tool for assessing labour supply for the position in the company, but is a good way for business to be in contact with the labour market. A curriculum vitae includes the candidate salesmen’s qualifications (demographics, experience, education, interests, etc.). Depending on how effective the advertisement’s position on the newspaper is, then the larger the number of CVs received from the candidates, who will respond to a large extent to the requirements of the business for the specific position.
The research of Dubinsky and Barry (1982) shows that small businesses use applications and biographical information by 73% - as selection tools of salesmen- while large industrial enterprises by 70%. Neither the application nor the CV can give a very clear picture of the candidate salesperson because they do not enable the evaluator to explore information relating to the candidate’s skills and personality. It is characteristic that references -to the curriculum vitae that contain self-assessment (e.g. the statement "I am a person who achieves its objectives and have proven track record of success in my work)- cannot be checked in advance for their correctness, but they have very positive impact on the evaluators even if they are not related to the requirements of the specific job.
Therefore, someone with more valuable skills and personal characteristics that match the job more closely can be removed from the beginning of the process if s/he does not meet criteria that are related to the more relevant experience (Arvey and Campion, 1982:740). All in all, if there are some positive elements in a resume or job application, applicants should go to the next stage of the interview, that there is the ability of greater investigation. The research of Hunter and Hunter (1984) concerning the predictability of staff performance shows that the correlation coefficient given in the biographical data is 0.37 (although it is ranked third in the series as a tool). This shows that biographical data are not so reliable for predicting staff performance. The evaluation of training and experience, the academic qualifications, the experience, education, interests and age (they are quoted because they are elements that are always referred to the biographical notes and or applications) take the correlation coefficient from 0.18 to 0.01. This again shows a low rate of reliability for predicting staff performance. Their use, however, is particularly popular as they are an economical solution for companies and do not require a very long time to execute them.
The personal interview is the most widely used method of selecting sales staff. It occupies a large part in the selection process, and it usually gets at least 2-3 interviews before final selection. Basically, the first is a screening interview; the second is the evaluation of candidate shortlist vendors and third is the final proposal.
The types of interview are many. Their use depends on the objective the evaluator could achieve the best, through the interview. The most common are: unstructured interview, structured, semi-structured, situational, behavioural, and other types such as telephone interviews, stress interview and computer interview. A brief analysis of the most common ones follows (Gitomer, 2010).
Structured interview is better for initial salespeople screening but it is not suitable in case more in depth information needs to be collected. This type of interview is preferred neither by the professional interviewers nor the applicants. The unstructured interview needs a highly skilled interviewer and since applicants feel uneasy with, it is not used for a first interview.
The semi-structured interview can be customized to each individual applicant and it is the type of interview mostly preferred by the applicants.
It is the most commonly used type of interview in salespeople recruitment since it is easy to use. It is, also, suitable for experienced interviewers and allows to get more in depth information which is necessary for experienced salespeople as the ones required by the heavy industry sector.
Stress interview, on the other hand, was used in the past for sales people recruitment but it is seldom used now. Stress interview is when the applicant is placed in an uncomfortable and stressful situation, so as the interviewer sees how the person is coping with stressful situations in selling. Nowadays, interviewers prefer not to place applicants in stressful situations during an interview, since they have found that the applicant becomes defensive and communication is harmed. It was also found that the way an applicant handles stress during the interview is not correlated with the way s/he handles stress in real job situations. Furthermore, stress interviews worsen the company’s image and talented individuals are not attracted to companies with negative image. In addition, there may be tension in the relations of the sales manager, who uses this type of interview and the newly hired (Gusdorf, 2008).
According to Johnston and Cooper (1981) the (interviewer judgement) can be affected by three factors: interviewer characteristics, the decision-making process and variables related to the situation according to which the interview is done (situational variables).
The authors recorded the influence of the characteristics of the "interviewer" in the whole process, however, research concluded that the personal characteristics of the "interviewer" do not have a significant influence on the process of the interview.
In the decision making process, the variables related to the situation where the interview is taken, the content of information obtained from the candidate and selection methods affect the whole process. It is found that every evaluator rates the various candidates with great consistency, resulting from the fact that each evaluator has a certain candidate stereotype. But the same result did not appear to exist among the "interviewers" for the assessment of individual candidates. From this discrepancy,it is concluded that each evaluator gives weight and combines factors and information in a different way (Johnston and Cooper, 1981:55).
Even when there were answers carefully structured in advance, consistency was not ensured in the assessment for each candidate by different evaluators (Hakel, 1977:445). The order in which each candidate will be assessed plays a relevant role in the event that a moderate candidate follows a very good candidate and vice versa. Information obtained in the middle of the conversation, did not play a role in the decision, as opposed to those acquired at the beginning or end of the discussion (primacy-recency effect).
When an early positive/negative evaluation derives from a specific characteristic that the assessor attributes to the candidate, the halo effect appears. The halo effect and the primacy-recency are affected relatively more by information that have a negative content, as it is evidenced by a series of research. The positive impressions are built more slowly than the negative ones that had more immediate response to the judgement of the evaluator. This explains the phase that exists among professional interviewers, whereby the positive attributes of the candidate do not always ensure good performance, but the negative characteristics can guarantee his/her failure.
Significant attention should be paid to the fact that it takes about four minutes on average to reach a decision by the assessors in the context of an interview, which shows that there is a halo effect and primacy-recency effect from their part. Indeed, the whole process is characterized by an attempt to draw information that will verify the first impression they have gained. This is explained from another research which showed that the "interviewers" feel a little more confident of their decision when this was based on negative information (Highhouse & Gallor, 1997).
Johnston and Cooper (1981) finally summarize their findings based on previous literature on the subject-which are important and should be taken into consideration during the organization of the selection process through interviews-in:
- Non-verbal communication as for example the smile, the movement of the head or eye contact, play a role in the final selection decision during the interview.
- The race, sex, attractiveness and general personal characteristics of candidates, have little influence when combined and assessed together with other factors.
- There is no evidence for a direct link between the personal characteristics of the evaluators and the final selection decision during the interview.
- Different "interviewers" evaluate the same candidates differently, unless there is among all assessors a common stereotype of the candidate salesperson.
- Negative information has proportionally more weight than positive information.
Moreover, 91% of small manufacturing companies in the U.S. use interviews as a selection tool, as well as 96% of the large companies. The literature, however, and the scientists and researchers in the area of Marketing and Human Resources give a low degree of reliability and validity, which is supported by the research of Hunter and Hunter (1984) that attributes a correlation degree with staff performance 0,14. It is important to examine - in the present research- the degree of using interviews in the selection process although, as stated in the relevant literature, as a tool it has a low degree of reliability and validity.
The problem according to Randal (1990) is that the interview is used incorrectly as a method and it is usually done from inexperienced "interviewers" who talk too much, do not listen to the candidate and ask wrong questions. To overcome this problem, the use of experienced and certified "interviewers" together with the use of an in-depth structured job analysis and a standardized method of choice were studied. The study found that after two and a half years the certified evaluators showed 45% fewer departures of newly recruited salespeople (salesmen turnover), compared with the non-certified ones (Daum, 1983: 57-59).
Another technique according to Randal (1990) that gave good results was the technical description of behaviour (behaviour description technique). As described above, the evaluators draw through the biographical information of the candidate vendor critical incidents related to the job and which are intended to ascertain how he reacted. It was found that those "interviewers" who use the classic method of interview were able to predict the performance of vendors by only 8%. Unlike those who were trained and used the technical description of behaviour were able to predict future performance by 48%.
Finally, in the same article, Randal (1990) supports that there have been several proposals to improve the reliability of the interview process, such as creating an interview guide, giving enough time to the candidate to develop his/her positions and his personality during the interview to overcome the problems caused by the first impression, the use of evaluators who are familiar with the requirements of the job. The effort should be geared in whether the interview should identify some specific skills of the candidate or simply be a tool for initial "cleansing" (screening). However, the use of the interview, when combined with other tools and methods can be very effective.
In a comparative view of a series of studies by Robertson and Smith (2001), it was concluded that the interviews record primarily data -like social skills, extroversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, job experience and knowledge.
According to Faris (1986) the obligation of the sales supervisor regarding the interview of candidates is to be prepared so as to a) prevent the repetition of questions, b) not forget to ask some important questions, and finally c) not to lose the opportunities that will be given during the interview to discover the actual self of the candidate.
In conclusion, the interview itself is not a sufficient and reliable tool to get the evaluator to select a candidate salesperson due to its low levels of reliability and validity although a lot of recent research has attempted to improve these factors (McFarland et al., 2004; Taylor & Small, 2002). It should be used as part of a sequential multivariate process of weighted evaluation of candidate salesmen, which will be monitored for its effectiveness and will be updated when new requirements arise for the job of the salesperson and the needs of the business. The present research examines if interviews are selected as the sole selection tool or as a combination of a multivariate process since this process improves the effectiveness of the selection process as suggested by the relevant literature.
Selection through tests
It was discussed earlier that tests dominated the selection of salesmen in the '80s and later there were IQ tests. It then appeared that the intelligence was just a small parameter affecting the performance of the salesperson and ultimately lost ground as the dominant tool of selecting potential sales force. Then several tests were developed that measured several aspects of personality associated with high performance salesmen. The tests used for the selection of salesmen are mainly three types (for personnel selection in general, there are more) and are the following:
IQ tests (intelligence tests): these tests measure the level of intelligence of the candidate to see if they have the mental capacity to perform work that s/he will be given to accomplish. Through a series of questions involving numerical exercises, texts or shapes the candidates' salesmen capacity in analytical thinking, creative thinking, comprehension and speech, the perception of space and last the emotional intelligence are recorded. IQ tests are widely known and they give an idea of the IQ of the candidate. Hunter and Hunter (1984) showed that the tests generally have the highest correlation coefficient with a yield rising to 0.53, while the list of Cron et al. (2005) gives to IQ tests (cognitive tests) a reliable selection method equal to 0.51. These coefficients show that IQ tests are highly reliable in relation to the salespeople capacity to perform the work they have to accomplish.The paradox is that despite the high credibility enjoyed by the tests compared with other selection tools vendors, the research of Dubinsky and Barry (1982) shows that only 22% of small manufacturing companies in the U.S. use the test as a tool whereas large industrial companies in the U.S. use it by 32%. This is probably related to the costs for conducting the tests, but they should be re-audited since twenty-six years have passed since this study was done and many things have changed both in the environment of sales and consequently of the frequency of use of the industrial salesmen selection tools.
Test of skills and knowledge: In these tests evaluators measure the abilities of candidates salesmen that are innate or are acquired during their lives and enable them to adequately perform the tasks that they will be given to them in the future (such are the knowledge tests on the job, job sample tests, or tests of learning capacity). The tests were implemented by Cron et al. (2005) and had a confidence level of 0,48 (job knowledge tests). A fact which special attention should be paid to the use of such tests is that by measuring the skills and knowledge that the candidate had in the time when the test was realized, is the danger of excluding candidates that would have been successful and could acquire these skills through their training. For this reason the reviewers should state from the beginning of the creation of goals for selecting salespeople, whether they want salespeople who will be trained and form the next generation of executives or salesmen who need to go immediately to the field (Cron et al. 2005:350).
Personality Tests: The personality of the proposed salesperson is one of the most important parameters for the selection of sales personnel. The personality tests allow to measure the data list of personality (personality inventory) which according to Cron et al. (2005) is one of the three major predictors of future performance. Their coefficient reliability according to Cron is 0.40 (less than the other tests). The coefficient reliability shows the credibility of personality tests as a selection tool. There are also the less well known evaluation tests of honesty and integrity of character with a degree of validity / credibility given by Cron 0,41 in other words they are shown to be quite valid predictors of performance (0.41 is considered to be an acceptable level of validity) and are used as a criterion for a variety of types such as performance, team work etc. However, in comparison to other predictors such as assessment centres, simulation and cognitive ability tests, they tend to be less valid (Hough & Oswald, 2010).
There is some evidence that the assessors should take into account to exploit the maximum reliability of different test types. First, they are a tool that can give remarkable results when used in conjunction with other tools but not when they are used alone. The study of Ingram and Laforge (1989:360) notes the following points where special attention should be given:
- The development of tests should be performed by human resources specialists.
- The standards of the American Psychological Association should be met.
- They should be based on the needs of the work position, as reflected by the job specification.
- To have the safeguards and the necessary internal controls to exclude false or favourable answers.
- There should be established methods of verifying and checking the accuracy of tests used in the future performance of candidates.
- The tests should be part of the selection process and not the sole criterion.
The above concern the use of tests on the side of the company (Ingram and Laforge 1989:360). On the side of salespeople, the tests could be a valuable tool to differentiate themselves in the field of labour supply. A company would appreciate to a large extent a prospective salesperson who will submit with his CV and his assessment by an assessment centre (Churchill et al., 1985:400). This assessment will contain the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, personality characteristics, skills and knowledge, since these were proved by accurate and reliable tests. Today, as competition in labour supply and the majority of employees do not differ substantially in qualifications (education, experience, etc.), the personality traits can not be perceived by the application forms and resumes, it will be a big advantage for a candidate if s/ he has had such certifications. It would be a competitive advantage from the proposed salesperson to produce a certification from a valid body for his/her personality, intelligence and skills.
Recommendations and Checks of candidates
Reference checking by internal employees and external partners for a future candidate salesman was seen as a source of attracting candidate industrial salesmen. It was discussed by Aamodt (2006) reference checking can be internal (from internal employees, executives of the company) or external from the wider professional and friendly group of evaluators (e.g. former colleagues). As a selection tool, it is associated with the possibility for the evaluator to gather information from previous employers regarding the real professional achievements and contributions of the candidate salesperson in the previous company, but it can also provide information regarding the personality of the candidate and the control of his/her reliability, comparing what the candidate said and what derived from the contact with the candidate.
Dubinsky and Barry (1982) report a tool for selecting potential sales force the recommendation letters which are taken into account from the small industrial enterprises by 70% and by 62% in large companies. It is also known that a large proportion of vacancies is not disclosed to the outside world and is covered either internally or from internal and external recommendations. But someone must be very careful in the collection of information both in how s/he collects them (ethical issues emerge) and on how to assess and use them because the element of subjectivity emerges to a large extent. This can be seen from the Hunter and Hunter (1984) survey where the recommendation letters take a correlation coefficient of 0.26.In particular for sales and marketing, Liz Murphy’s article (1987) is remarkable. This article is related to an investigation to the KBI company whereas data showed that sales candidates lie about their careers three to four times more than candidates for other positions.
They mainly lie in matters relating to salary and duties by 45% for education by 30% and a 5% using counterfeit cards such as driver's license. It is concluded from the survey that the nature of the salesperson’s job leads someone to exaggerate when 'selling' oneself. Since 1986 when the particular research was, there have been a lot of changes regarding the traditional role of a salesperson, so the research requires a re-evaluation at least concerning its conclusions on the causes of this phenomenon. To avoid ethical and legal issues, the candidate should be asked first whether and who can be contacted by the assessors. According to a research by Burke & Schramm (2005) HR Managers take several precautions to prevent false information on the side of the participant. First of all, they notify candidates that if they provide false information they will be dismissed if hired. 92% of HR Managers reported that they provide a notification of this kind. In addition, 80% of HR Managers reported that they ask candidates to sign an official application form. The purpose of it, is to give an official tone in the application form so this can act as a deterrent to the applicant who is willing to provide false information. These are low cost actions that increase, however, the level of veracity to the information provided. Another tactic mentioned by the HR Managers to prevent lying is reference checking by a past employer (69% of HR Managers) replied that they use it as a tactic. Another 19% of HR Managers replied that they actually ask from references from the current employer of the candidate. However, this is more difficult since there may be employees that do not want their company to know that they search for another job and this is probably the reason that many HR Managers ask from references from past employers. Some businesses actually offer a so called conditional offering i.e. the candidate gets the job under the condition that a good reference is taken from the current candidate’s employer.48% of the HR Managers reported that their company policy is that no candidate will be offered a position until a sufficient number of good references is obtained. This kind of policies help the organization handle a situation whereas an employee can be hired before obtaining references and then the information provided turn up to be questionable.
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- Fotini Mastroianni (Author), 2014, Salespeople recruitment methods and training, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/346697