Key considerations in hiring and training

Home Column Key considerations in hiring and training

Many of my coaching clients are single entrepreneurs. They run their business either by themselves or with one other salesperson, a warehouse person and installers. They know they should hire someone else, but they drag their feet until they are desperate and ultimately forced into hiring the next person who comes along. It’s like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry.

As one of my clients recently said, “I know I need to hire another person, but I‘m not sure what to train them on. Then, how do you find the time to train them? It’s just easier to do it myself.” This mentality goes back to your mother saying, “If you want it done right do it yourself.” What she should have said was, “If you want it done right, you should learn how to delegate.”

All of us have at one time or another been guilty of the “do-it-yourself” type of thinking. I get it—hiring can be an arduous process and painfully slow. Even if you get applicants to come through the door, the question becomes: “How do I know if they’re right for my business?” and “How expensive will it be to train them?” As my client later told me, building a training program is an upfront investment that will give you a return, so you must think this way.

The key to success is to learn how to work ON your business instead of working IN your business. Doing everything yourself is a trap to keep you indentured to yourself. Owning a business should give you freedom, not more frustration.

Here are some things to consider when hiring and training:

  1. If you’re the high seller in your small business, make a list of what you do and how you do it. This will give you a way to define a training program and measure if the person you’re hiring has the right skills. What are the things you do to be the top closer and what have you done to make this happen? Possibly you learned product knowledge and how to use it to close a customer; if so, they will have to learn this and someone will have to teach them. You also must define it so it’s measurable.
  2. One trap that people fall into is hiring someone because they feel comfortable with them and like them; they’re just like them. Remember, a salesperson’s job is to first “sell you” on hiring them. What you need is someone who listens, is creative and can think on their feet. You can give them a potential problem and ask them how they would handle it. This will help you understand who they are.
  3. It’s also wise to have them interviewed by other people in your business—this includes the person in the warehouse and maybe an installer. Team camaraderie is extremely important and so is watching how they treat other people on your team. Do they seem aware of how their behavior affects others or are they oblivious? What does the team think?
  4. If you have the time, take them to lunch, see how they treat the server and their overall manners. Are they kind? Do they have basic manners? Do they know how to treat people who are in a subservient position? Moreover, do they know how to say “please” and “thank you.” These are indications of how they might treat your customers.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at

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