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Graphic Arts Management 101: Before Your Hire, Get A “Proof”

Posted on October 20, 2011 under Graphic Arts Managment.

In the printing business, it’s still pretty much standard operating procedure to show the customer a proof and have them approve it before a job goes to press.


The customer knows what they want; the customer also knows what will work for them. It would obviously be a huge waste of time and resources to have to reprint a job simply because nobody took the time to look for and find errors ahead of time (ever heard the expression “never enough time to do it right, always time to do it over” in your plant?).

Imagine the time that would be wasted, profits lost, production schedules ‘thrown into chaos’, and customer relationships compromised if “proofing” wasn’t part of how our industry does business. Ink, plates, paper, wages, overtime, potential lost revenue (for the printer and his client), postage, freight, etc., etc., etc.,………….with margins being squeezed daily, not showing a proof is a risk we simply cannot afford to take.

We may not be hiring or promoting a lot of people these days (although I’m hopeful this is beginning to trend in a more positive direction), have you ever stopped to consider the potential cost of ‘spoiled work’ or ‘errors’ in the  process?

Most problems that businesses have to deal with today are a direct result of the gaps that exist between the skill sets that jobs require and what the people in those jobs bring to them.

A hiring mistake (or having the right person in wrong seat on Jim Collins’ bus) can adversely affect levels of customer satisfaction, reduce individual productivity and team morale, escalate recruiting and training time and costs, and negatively impact sales.

So here’s a ‘good news/bad news’ scenario for your consideration.

The bad news is that like every print job that runs through your plant, job applicants and members of your current team need “proofing” .

The good news is that by incorporating a pre employment testing/talent inventory system into your hiring and promoting policies, you are able to:

*determine whether or not applicants have “errors” you can’t live with (before you invest the time and resources necessary to train them)
* create a talent inventory of your existing employees (including your sales team) that turns your human resource information into a corporate asset
* evaluate and correct poor relationships that exist between employees and their managers (a folder operator and a bindery manager for example)
*identify specific patterns of skills, attitudes, and values required for success in any job in your plant and allow you to match applicants (or existing team members) to available positions.

The cost of “spoiled work” in the hiring or promoting process can dwarf the costs of rerunning a print job.

A hiring mistake can top 30% of the employee’s first year salary. Pre-employment testing and the creation of a complete inventory of your ‘human capital’ can in most cases be performed for less than the cost of an hour of press time.

“Gut” decisions based on exaggerated resumes, distorted applications, personal references, or an interview where you do most of the talking (sales candidates interview great don’t they?) are usually mistakes.

Why guess when you can have “proof” instead?

Want to learn more?  Visit

As always, thanks for being here, be memorable, and remember:    There are sometimes good reasons to be secretive about your age. People tend to assume things when they know how old you are. “Oh, he’s turning 60,” they might say, for example, “probably full of cranky self-lacerating aphorisms that he thinks qualify as wisdom.” 

Have a great day! 

 Craig McConnell, President, PrintGrowPro/SalesGrowPro

“Great selling is a process artfully done.”  

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