The standard sales hiring process is one that has been the same for what feels like eons.
As a Sales Hiring Manager, you likely have a routine you follow when hiring new employees, which most likely looks similar to the following:
- Create the job posting
- Advertise the position
- Review resumes
- Verify references
- Conduct basic interviews
- Make a hiring decision
Is it just us, or are you tired of this antiquated way of approaching your hiring? Especially when that hiring process has a failure rate of 20% (the typical turnover in sales).
This is likely even truer when you learn that the average cost of replacing a telesales employee can cost your company as much as $90,000.
If you are like other Sales Hiring Managers looking for a way out of this dark hiring hole, you are in luck. We have the tips and tricks you need to make drastic changes to your sales hiring process that will improve your sales hiring in every way.
The 5 Best Ways to Improve Sales Hiring
1. Get Specific in Your Job Description
Sure, you need to hire a salesperson. But what type of salesperson are you looking for?
Are you looking for someone who will dive right in and act as a hunter to find new leads? Or are you looking for someone who can nurture and close existing leads already in the pipeline?
Hiring for a general salesperson is one of the key ways to ensure you will be hiring again to replace them soon.
Instead, improve your sales hiring process by getting specific about the job you are looking to fill. Be sure to list exactly which sales strategies you want your new salesperson to perform.
2. Create an Internal Company Referral Program
Relying on job boards to attract applicants can get exhausting and can honestly be a waste of your time.
So, why not go right to the source?
Look to the best salespeople in your company to have them help you find new top salespeople. Chances are good they have friends or previous colleagues who are sales superstars and could be a good fit for your position.
The best way to do this is to establish an internal referral program. In order to make this worth not only your time but your current employees’ time, you need to be prepared to offer employees worthwhile incentives – whether that is a financial incentive, additional vacation days or even prizes, such as an iPad.
By offering incentives to your current salespeople for quality referrals, you improve your chances of finding top-notch potential new sales hires.
3. Don’t Place Too Much Value on The Resume
Though the resume is a key part of the sales hiring process, it is not something you should rely too heavily upon.
Why is this?
Because resumes alone are not the best indicators of how well a salesperson will do for your company.
Resumes do a great job of highlighting the candidate’s past experience — his education, previous jobs, etc. However, they fail to really paint a picture of how that translates to the specific position you are looking to fill. It is important to understand a candidate’s past experience beyond what’s listed on their resume to determine if they will be a good fit for your open position. We’ll get into this more later.
Another reason you do not want to rely too heavily on a candidate’s resume is that many people lie on their resumes. In fact, a study conducted by HireRight found that a whopping 85% of applicants falsify information on their resumes.
With statistics like that, you have to be paying close attention to potential red flags on someone’s resume. Here are some of the top ones:
- Inflating job titles
- Unknown (or nonexistent) colleges
- Vague job descriptions
- Gaps and inconsistencies in employment
- Name dropping overkill
If any of your potential sales hires seem to be doing one of the above, you may want to reconsider hiring them. Resume falsehoods are often indicators that this candidate is likely to continue lying, or at least overstate facts.
4. Assess Candidates with a Sales Personality Test
Resumes are not the only thing candidates can fake in the sales hiring process.
So how do you know if your potential hire really has the ability to be a promising salesperson for your team?
And, this cannot be any general personality test you found online — it needs to be an assessment that tests for one specific thing: Drive.
Drive is comprised of three non-teachable traits:
1. Need for Achievement.
This means your salesperson will never stop pursuing excellence and will never be okay with being idle in their work.
You need a salesperson who always strives to win and who never likes to lose. Competition keeps them moving and motivated, and they love playing that competitive game.
Rejection is inevitable in the world of sales, even for the best salespeople.
Thus, you need someone on your team who is going to push through and remain optimistic despite the “no’s” they may receive. High-Drive salespeople will accept that missed opportunity and forge on to the next one, knowing chances are good it will be a success.
The DriveTest® is the only sales personality test on the market that objectively assesses candidates for all three traits that make up Drive.
5. Get Creative with Your Sales Interview Questions
We have all been asked the same interview questions a hundred times.
“Why do you think you are the best person for this job?”
“Describe a time when you were faced with a challenge. How did you overcome it?”
“What is one of your biggest weaknesses?”
Because these interview questions are expected at nearly every interview, candidates take the time to practice the perfect responses, in the hopes they can wow the interviewer.
However, rather than asking a potential candidate the questions they are expecting, opt instead for questions which dig deeper.
Asking specific behavioral questions requires your candidate to give specific answers, which allows you to have a better understanding of whether he or she will be the right fit for your open sales position.
We recently shared 51 specific sales interview questions to help you improve your sales interviewing skills. Here are some of the highlights:
- How much time do you spend nurturing customer relationships vs. looking for new clients?
- Have you taught yourself something lately? If so, what was it?
- How have you turned around a streak of bad calls?
- If we had a magic wand and could improve three things about your previous job, what would those three things be?
- Name a time you received criticism and how you handled it.
These are just a handful of the questions you should be asking your potential candidates to gain more insight than you would from traditional sales interview questions.
To improve your sales hiring process, step away from the ineffective, outdated approach and incorporate new, modern-day strategies including:
- Getting specific with your job descriptions
- Creating an internal referral program for sourcing candidates
- Taking the resume at face-value
- Assessing all candidates with a sales personality test like The DriveTest®
- And asking unique behavioral interview questions that candidates are not likely to expect.
This more in-depth approach to hiring will enable you to weed out potential sales pretenders and will leave you considering only high-potential sales candidates for your open position.