making hiring mistakes with salespeople

They Aren’t Who They Appeared To Be in the Interview

The third biggest complaint I hear from business owners and sales managers about salespeople is that they aren’t who they appeared to be in the interview. If you hire the wrong person it is your fault not theirs. Everybody is going to be on their best behavior in the interview. Any salesperson with an ounce of skill will probably try to bond with you so you like them. The good news is that this problem is totally fixable. But the problem lies with you as previously stated. Frequently we see leaders who are hiring salespeople approach the matter like they would for other positions and salespeople are the hardest to hire. They will bond with you, they might be friendly and cause you to like them, but I urge you to realize a few facts:

  • 90% of all hiring decisions are made from the interview

  • Traditional interviewing is only 14% accurate

  • More than 30 million people have secured a job by lying on their resumes

Regarding the last point, I know a recruiter who believes EVERYBODY lies on their resume, so my statistic might actually be low. And, I find that owners and leaders who have made mistakes in this area or a little gun shy about having to do it again, so they live with mediocre or poor results too long and then complain that person wasn’t who they said they were. But you can fix this. Here’s how:

  1. Assess all candidates using an objective tool designed specifically for sales. I choose to use the #1 rated tool on the market offered by Objective Management Group. Sample candidate assessment.
  2. Assess them as early as feasible in the process so you don’t waste your time on candidates that won’t work out. Also, by assessing early and eliminating those candidates that won’t work out you won’t fall in love with them in the interview and then disregard the assessment findings.
  3. If you don’t have someone in your company who is skilled at recruiting salespeople, strongly consider hiring this service. You do not want to choose the best of the worst pool of candidates and most people inside middle market and small companies do not have the expertise to recruit salespeople even though they may have success with other types of positions.
  4. Take more of an audition approach in the early stages of interviewing sales types. Do not make them feel comfortable and wanted. Make them show you how they would bond with prospects who aren’t that excited about them.
  5. Use good behavioral questions to uncover what they actually know how to do and what they have done.
  6. Pick apart every claim they make on their resume to determine if they are who they say they are and also to determine how similar their experiences are to what they will find with your company. They don’t have to be from the same industry, but you want to determine how well their history has prepared them for what they will need to do to be effective with you.
  7. Have a killer 90 day plan to effectively onboard them.

If you struggle with effectively hiring sales talent, you are not alone, but when you hire the wrong salesperson, not only is it frustrating, it costs your company somewhere between 3x and 5x their annual compensation. Don’t blame the bad hire. Make a commitment to fix your process so you don’t do it again.

Five Most Common Complaints About the Sales Team – Part One

Five Most Common Complaints About the Sales Team – Part Two