Successful companies all know and recognize the importance of having a strong sales team. According to Salesforcetraining.com, in many companies, 20 percent of the sales force delivers 80 percent of the revenue.
As a recruiter, you’re responsible for ensuring that your company has the right staff in place to achieve these goals. One hurdle that recruiters must overcome is finding the right salespeople who don’t embody the stereotypical pushy nature that tend to drive customers away. But all recruiters know that hiring the right staff is a feat that’s easier said than done.
Sometimes resumes and interviewing skills aren’t enough when it comes to figuring out whether a job candidate would make a great salesperson. Here are a few tips to help recruiters hire good salespeople:
1. Set guidelines and establish a detailed process
The first step to ensure any interviewing process runs smoothly is to establish a detailed criterion of what you will judge candidates on. By identifying what you want in a sales candidate, you will have set guidelines to help you assess each interviewee in a fair manner. This will also reduce hiring mistakes.
It’s impossible to recognize whether someone will excel in a position if you yourself don’t understand the position and what it entails. Learn about the entire sales process from beginning to end before interviewing candidates.
2. Spend time screening candidates
Spend a significant amount of time carefully screening candidates through resume evaluation and brief phone interviews before requesting an in-person interview. By spending more time reviewing candidates’ credentials ahead of time, you save yourself from wasting time interviewing candidates who aren’t qualified for the position.
3. Avoid placing too much weight on things that don’t matter
When interviewing candidates, be sure you look at a balance of qualifications to ensure you’re giving every candidate an equal opportunity. Follow your company’s protocol, but also identify the best person to fill the position. Just because you and one candidate connect over your love of golf doesn’t necessarily mean she’s the right person for the job. Likewise, even if you and another candidate don’t share interest in the same hobbies, he could still be the most qualified.
Focus on what really matters for the job. Never place too much weight on someone’s appearance, background or where they went to college (or if they went to college) at the expense of strengths that exhibit successful selling techniques.
4. Pinpoint strengths and weaknesses
After successfully interviewing multiple candidates, it’s time to analyze each one to determine the best possible fit for your sales team. Measure each candidate against your criteria and against each other. Write down their strengths and weaknesses.
Remember, everyone is not a natural salesperson. Learn how to recognize when an employee is not a good fit for a certain position or customer. See if you think any of the weaknesses you pinpointed can be built upon and improved through training. Look for areas where you may need to allow time for the person to work. Consider the sales training course opportunities and additional support that your company may offer.
5. Inform candidates of your decision
After you’ve thoroughly checked a candidate’s references and have decided who you want to hire, follow through with all the steps for every interviewee. If your company doesn’t have such a plan set in place, formalize a procedure to ensure that every candidate is contacted in the same fashion.
Make an effort to promptly inform individuals who were not hired. Be honest and upfront about your decision. Consider whether you want to give candidates you did not hire the opportunity to apply for other positions that are currently open or positions that may open in the future. How you communicate with future employees or people you decide not to hire is extremely important and can greatly affect your company’s reputation.
Recruiting is a costly and important task that plays a huge role in creating a profitable company. Use these tips to ensure a successful recruiting process.
Kelsey Grabarek works for Dale Carnegie Training, the training company founded on the principles of the famous speaker and author of How to Win Friends and Influence People. Visit Dale Carnegie Training online to learn more about leadership training.