A sales candidate who comes to us with substantial industry experience and/or a great book of business can seem like a dream come true. Considering the potential for leveraging the candidate’s experience and contacts, it may even be tempting to shortcut the testing and interviewing process. Make no mistake, experience is critical, especially when we need the salesperson to start producing quickly. However, a careful vetting process is still essential. In particular, we need to answer three key questions:
- Does the candidate have experience at a similarly-sized company? Candidates from companies of a different size than our own may have difficulty adapting to the unique challenges of our sales cycle and brand recognition level. For example, a candidate with experience at a larger company with strong brand awareness and a short sales cycle may have trouble moving to a smaller, younger company with a longer cycle.
- Why is the candidate looking for a new position? Is it a performance issue, or are they simply looking for a new challenge? Look at their previous job moves as well to assess longevity as well as other consistent patterns of behavior behind their moves.
- Will the candidate continue to bring the same effort to bear for you? If we are looking for a hunter, we need to be sure the candidate will continue calling on new accounts, rather than relying only on their existing book of business. This is where a Drive-focused sales assessment test and interview are critical.
Experienced sales candidates are essential for many positions, particularly those with a short ramp-up time. As hiring managers, we need to dig beneath the surface to determine the quality as well as the quantity of that experience.
What do you look for in experienced sales candidates? Please let us know in the comments below.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales assessment test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. To experience the difference of the DriveTest, contact us today!