Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the March 13, 2002 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Hiring: Finding the Hero’s Spark
The wizard knows. His NBA player picks will score an
average of 909 points a season. Those he rejects, only 367. His chosen
baseball pros will generate an average of 146 hits this year, compared
with a mere 71 by those players he turns aside. As Orlando Magic’s
General Manager John Gabriel put it, "This guy has saved us
This wizard applies the same methods, with the same success rate,
to selecting the best salespeople in almost any field. How much is
that worth to you?
firm on Mount Lucas Road, has spent four decades in determining the
right individual for the right team. On Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m.
he speaks on "Secrets of Successful Selling: A Program to Ensure
Future Growth" at a meeting of the Institute of Management
(IMC) at the Doral Forrestal. Greenberg will analyze the essential
traits of top sales performers and the optimum environment such
require. IMC dinners are held the third Monday of odd months at the
Doral Forrestal. Cost: $60. Call 908-325-0095 or visit
Greenberg, a man who enjoys his work, begins an interview with a quiz.
"Now," he says with a smile, "I want you to answer true
or false to these four questions:
I answer true to all of the above. "Now, of those four
he continues, "tell me which is most like you, and which is least
like you." This is harder. I take my best shot. He laughs and
after tearing my choices apart with
vice president of marketing, Greenberg explains: "You see, this
way I’ve got you to actually reveal something about yourself."
Multiply that little revelation times 180 carefully-worded questions
and you have the Caliper test, which elicits the content of a
character in a host of very telling ways.
It was Greenberg’s relatively accidental discovery of how to evoke
such information that led him out of academe into his own consulting
firm, which now profiles candidates in offices in more than nine
(U.S. 1, October 29, 1997).
Greenberg grew up in Brooklyn and seemed destined for a scholarly
career. At City College he earned a B.S. in psychology and sociology
and a master’s in clinical psychology. He earned his doctorate at
NYU, and went on to teach at Texas Tech and then at Rutgers where,
in 1960, an executive from the life insurance industry approached
him about psychological testing. Some life insurance companies were
facing an appallingly expensive turnover rate among their sales
and thought pre-hiring screening would lead to better hires.
"I examined the existing tests," says Greenberg, "and
found them barely worth burning. Most of the `sales performance’ tests
were incredibly fakeable. Any applicant could instinctively feed back
to the tester what he wanted. But most of all, they lost sight of
what real selling dynamics were and tested only for related
Frequently such tests searched only for vaguely related traits, such
as affability or sociability, rather than probing for a driving sales
Joining with David Mayer, Greenberg set out to build and market the
newest and best sales screening test. And like so many new
with the newest and best product, they starved. At last, General
Buick division saved Mayer and Greenberg’s new business from total
collapse by offering them a contract to screen their new sales force.
Greenberg says the testing he and his partner did for Buick resulted
in chart topping sales.
Today Greenberg’s staff tests 400 candidates every day for sales and
management positions, and for slots on sports teams. They choose
analysts for Wall Street firms, executives for Japanese corporations,
programmers for Swedish tech companies, and professionals for
Greenberg, Sweeney, and
officer, have written a sales training book, "How to Hire and
Develop Your Next Top Performer."
"The whole trick," says Greenberg, "is to find an
with the right core strengths and competencies." He insists that
employers should separate these natural abilities from the teachable
skills. Product knowledge, specific sales techniques, even dress and
mannerisms, are important, but they can be taught to any person
and willing to learn. Experience, interest, affability, and a glib
tongue also can come in handy. But without the core of selling
the individual is going nowhere. Your next top sales performer will
a hunger. She hungers for that "yes," whether it is closing
the deal on a car, or just getting the customer to listen to her sales
pitch. More than the money, the seller must want to conquer this sale.
She must find in its completion a fulfillment of herself.
and see their hidden agendas. What is this person really seeking to
get for himself with these buying dollars? The salesperson should
be able to probe with humor and get feedback. But in addition to just
absorbing feedback, she must know how to make a tool of this
and use it in making the sale.
laughs Greenberg. "But for every deal I close, at least two fall
through. The greater your ability to toss off rejection, the greater
your potential." He estimates that at least two-thirds of the
population responds to a first rejection in a given field by quitting
and trying something else.
warns Greenberg. If your company is number seven in the marketplace,
then you definitely need that seller with the killer instinct. But
the number one company might be better advised to find more of a
someone who can take orders with a bit of charm. Also certain fields
require certain personalities. In the pharmaceutical business, the
high pressure deal closer is woefully out of place. Instead, finding
a person who can knowledgeably and smoothly talk with physicians will
lead to better results.
for going to the bathroom," says Greenberg. "They need
feedback and praise all the time. Others squirm and scream about
if so much as a word is uttered." If your entire business is very
team-oriented, the independent executive will neither last nor
constantly analyzes and adjusts the Caliper test, which interestingly
remains one-size-fits all. The test administered to the Los Angeles
Lakers’ basketball players and the Maryland Insurance Group’s
team is the same. Greenberg regards this as rather elementary, since
both organizations are looking for the same traits in their potential
teammates. What is more surprising, however, is that virtually no
changes must be made from nation to nation. Japanese computer
notes Greenberg, "may express their empathy differently, within
a distinct set of social customs." But whether Japanese or German,
Canadian or Israeli, every salesperson must have the same core
client, noted recently: "We have found that one of every four
people in the general population has better potential for sales than
50 percent of those already in the profession." Perhaps, as Martin
Luther King and Herb Greenberg suggest, it is time forget the
and to make judgments based on the content of a person’s character.
— Bart Jackson
Writers hoping to sell articles to newspapers and
are told — again, and again, and again — to study the
The same advice applies to businesses that want to grab some ink.
Getting the company’s name into print is not all that difficult for
those who follow the cardinal rule and learn which publications run
what types of stories and when they run them.
On Wednesday, March 20, at 7:30 a.m. at the Nassau Club, the Princeton
Chamber presents "How to Best Market Your Business Through the
Media." On hand to provide advice on placing stories are
Shaffer, business editor of the Times of Trenton;
founder of Business News New Jersey;
editor and publisher of U.S. 1 Newspaper;
ads Public Relations;
No two newspapers or magazines are alike. Even within sub-categories
such as local news, national sports, women’s issues, each publication
has a unique formula. Figure out the formula for each publication
in which you would like to see your story, and you have a much better
than average chance of placing it there.
There are magazines, for example, that publish articles on new
or private schools, or continuing education at the same time each
year. There are newspapers that write about events before they occur,
and others that write about the same events after they have taken
Each publication covers a specific range of subjects in a designated
geographic area. One covers municipal news, while another covers only
business news. One publishes a lot of Trenton-based stories, and a
fair number of stories from eastern Pennsylvania, while another only
rarely ventures that far south and west. Look carefully through not
just one but several issues of each of your target publications to
turn up patterns.
At the March 20 event U.S. 1’s Rein promises to offer participants
some specific examples of great, not-so-great, and just plain lucky
public relations campaigns. And, since journalism is all about special
cases, Rein will tailor his advice to the specific circumstances of
But U.S. 1 also offers some general guidelines that might help anyone
approach any publication. Among the U.S. 1 tips to PR people:
something they can attend. It’s fun to contemplate attending an event,
even if you don’t actually go to it. Rarely do we "cover"
an event that has already happened.
you want to convey to the Princeton community? Schedule yourself to
give a talk somewhere, then send us the three points you think are
most important. People are much more likely to attend a meeting or
seminar when they know that you have something to say.
people live; we care where they work. So when you mention a name or
caption a photo, try to tell us where that person works (job title,
business name, and business site).
but also tell us who you are and why our readers need to know. Send
a photo if you can. Be sure to include a caption and date on the back.
We may be able to use it as an "op ed" piece or a long letter
to the editor.
who, what, when, where, how, why, and your phone number (preferably
day and night). We rewrite the release, so try to give us plenty of
information to choose from. Send backup material if you can.
handed you a receipt, we almost certainly got your announcement. When
it doubt, resend.
letters to the editor may get more readership than the original
to the ad salespeople and count on them to pass it on. Give it to
we’ll print your release. Death, taxes, and advertising are the sure
soon as you know the date. We may be hours away from a deadline that
you don’t know about — the decision on what to use for a cover
story, for instance. For the U.S. 1 calendar, the deadline is late
November of the previous year.
For the paper, delivered every Wednesday, the press release and photo
deadline is at least one week before publication. But if you miss
the deadline, just send it anyway. We may be able to squeeze it in.
And do not assume that any one day of the week is any more relaxed
than any other for a weekly newspaper editor. On the morning of March
20, for example, you might expect to find a chipper U.S. 1 editor
at the Nassau Club. His Wednesday edition would have been sent to
the printer at 1 p.m. the day before and he would have had all Tuesday
afternoon and evening to contemplate the great issues of the Wednesday
But not so quick: On Tuesday evening Rein and the U.S. 1 staff have
to deliver the final copy of the 2002-’03 Business Directory to the
printer. Expect at least one bleary-eyed editor at the breakfast.
Final point of advice:
to do what you want them to do.
It sometimes seems that, if they could make the trip,
the entire world would live and labor in America. This past decade,
nearly 2 million people a year have made that trip, entering legally,
while an estimated 5 million slipped in outside the law. This is twice
the number of new Americans who arrived back in the 1880’s during
the hey day of Ellis Island. Yes, our national parks are lovely and
our equally lofty freedoms are attractive, but most of these people
come here to work.
The employer who seeks to import new workers and strives to find them
some permanent situation with his firm encounters an Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) system both boggling and Byzantine. To
help thread this labyrinth, the New Jersey Bar Association’s Institute
of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) presents its second annual
conference on Wednesday, March 20, at 9 a.m. at the Gateway Hilton
in Newark. Cost: $199. Call 732-214-8500.
This roundtable offers a roster of speakers from several concerned
law firm of Rubin Dornbaum, provides the employers’ point of view.
INS, explains the federal government’s position, while
district director, INS, and
director, cover state regulations.
Service Center answers questions about the East Coast INS sector.
Deloris DeHann, a Department of Labor certifications officer, and
also speak. A substantial portion of the day-long roundtable addresses
"Employers seeking to import talent have a lot more to worry about
from this current recession than the events of 9/11," notes
immigration attorney Dornbaum. With thousands of unemployed American
programmers waiting tables to fight off foreclosure, offering this
computer job to a foreign national comes under heavy scrutiny. Can
you really prove that no American could do this work?
This is but one hurdle in a process that can bog down the hiring of
a foreign-born candidate for up to two-and-a-half years. Dornbaum
ticks off a list of immigrant work requirements that would daunt any
mythic hero trying to wend his way through the underworld.
potential employer must pass through the three-headed gate guardian
of the Department of Labor. It demands three proofs. First, can you
demonstrate that your company or particular business is not restricted
from hiring individuals from this specific country? Second, does the
salary meet the proper regulations, making it comparable with American
wages? Third, and most difficult, could the position offered be filled
by absolutely no American-born worker?
takes a sharp look at of the employing firm. A series of forms and
examinations discerns if the individual can actually perform the work
offered. Also, can this employer pay, now and continually, the wage
offered? Here is where the illegal pipelines get discovered. Shell
companies that import unqualified laborers in to work for a few weeks
before releasing them jobless onto our streets are sometimes found,
and shut down, at this juncture.
to the immigrant candidate’s homeland where, in coordination with
local officials, his work capabilities and citizen status are
Inquiries involving legal problems, labor records, family status,
and political affiliations are made. The more extensive a nation’s
documentation and communication system, the faster this step proceeds.
Because of this exhaustive process, coupled with the fact of
American unemployment on the lower job levels, Dornbaum states that
"it is virtually impossible for an employer to bring in unskilled
labor for his factory at this point. The whole goal of the INS system
is to encourage the hiring of only those top professionals whose work
will promote the hiring of more Americans."
Dornbaum, a native of New York City who took his law degree at Temple
University, has spent the past two decades guiding these very
in a host of fields into United States companies. "It has been
really exciting to aid in the process of bringing some of the greatest
movers and shakers into our nation’s workforce," he says. Dornbaum
has done work for major pharmaceutical companies seeking prime
for new drugs and by several agencies acquiring employees "in
the national interest."
It is Dornbaum’s job to ease their path through state laws, federal
laws, and regulations of a number of government agencies. "There
are 20 categories with over 75 options under which a person can be
brought in to work in the U.S.," he says, "but basically,
work visas fall into three time periods."
Shortest term, and comparatively the easiest to obtain, is the
work visa. Lasting to 180 days, this permit can take longer to procure
than its time of allowance. Even for this visa, a strong preference
is given to professionals with specialized skills.
This temporary visa — a foot in the door — can be extended
to three years, with one renewal, allowing a worker to stay on for
six years if he proves valuable. Under even the best of circumstances,
application for this permit takes 15 to 90 days.
The most difficult, but most gratifying, is the permanent visa,
20 years and up, demanding the ever-elusive green card. Obtaining
one of these, even with expert help, takes two-and-a-half years. The
process provides work for approximately 7,000 U.S. immigration
double the number practicing this specialty a decade ago.
The INS, with its funding severely cut, labors to process a mountain
of applications. "I am amazed at how well they do," says
"but don’t count on the process ever galloping swiftly in the
So if you have your eye on a genius from Syria who would turn your
product line around, take a tilt at the immigration process. But if
you seek just a nice group of programmers, perhaps you had better
take the Department of Labor’s patriotic suggestion and hire American.
— Bart Jackson
For most businesses, the question is not whether a
will strike, but when! It is virtually inevitable that some kind of
crisis will hit every type of business in the next few years."
who heads up a New York City-based media training and crisis
On Wednesday, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. he speaks on "Lessons from
Enron: How to Handle a Crisis and an Ethical Dilemma" at the New
Jersey chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at
Plaza in Morristown. Also speaking is
officer for the organization. Call 973-984-6184.
The terms "Enronitis" and "I’ve been Enronned" have
already entered the vernacular. According to Scudder, every company
had better be prepared for an event that will take some explaining.
In an article posted on his company’s website (www.vs-a.com), Scudder
writes: "Crises come in many forms — natural disasters,
failures, fatal accidents, disabling strikes, and massive lawsuits,
just to name a few. Some are predictable and avoidable, and many are
not. But the way the company reacts in the first hour or two can
how the public perceives the business and its products for years,
or decades, to come."
He suggests that every company prepare a crisis plan —
There is a natural tendency to resist doing so, but, says Scudder,
having a crisis plan is just plain good business, and not having one
is flirting with disaster.
He offers a list of what the media — and its worldwide audience
— wants to see after a business disaster.
is not prepared to respond in this manner. Tip-offs that a company
was caught unprepared, says Scudder, include top executives in hiding,
slow response, little information about the event, defensive behavior,
and an attempt to place blame elsewhere.
Any company chilled by the thought of contracting Enronitis must be
prepared to avoid the slightest appearance of stalling or fumbling
for words should the unthinkable — but all too predictable —
Corrections or additions?
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