Practical Sales Recruiting Tips - Part 1

January 07, 2018

The MySalesTest website provides a free special report on the topic of Performance-Based Recruiting. The purpose of this (two-part) blog post is to offer specific suggestions for conducting steps 2, 3 and 5 of the performance-based recruiting process described in the special report.

Screening Resumes

When you screen sales job candidate resumes, always have a copy of your sales department's performance-based recruiting ad in front of you. This is because the bullets in the recruiting ad should identify the most important capabilities a candidate needs to bring to the table to succeed in the specific sales position being recruited.

As you review the candidate’s resume and cover letter, keep the following questions in mind:

  • In the candidate’s response (i.e. the cover letter or e-mail), did the candidate specifically refer to any of the capabilities mentioned in the recruiting ad?

  • If not, is it possible to correlate any of the information provided in the candidate’s response to the requirements listed in the recruiting ad? For example, if the candidate mentions selling to the specific kinds of companies and contacts that are target prospects for your company, this would be a positive indicator. If the candidate mentions prospecting in a manner that has proven to be effective for your sales position, this would be a positive indicator.

  • Does the candidate’s response list accomplishments? This can include quantifying how much they grew sales and/or exceeded quota and/or mentioning recognition and awards they received (president’s club, award trips, top salesperson for a specified time period, etc.) as a result of their sales performance.

Conducting Telephone Screening Calls

When you conduct telephone screening calls, once again have a copy of the sales department's performance-based recruiting ad in front of you. This is because your focus during the (typically 20 to 30 minute) screening call is to ask questions to determine whether the candidate can convince you they have key capabilities described in the recruiting ad. Focus on these capabilities because they are the most critical capabilities required to succeed in the sales position being recruited. If the candidate can't convince you they can do these things, there is no reason to invest any more time in them.

Conducting Interviews

During interviews the conversation gets much more granular. When your company prepares a list of suggested interview questions for sales job candidates, the earlier questions in the list should be asked during the telephone screening call. The remaining questions can be asked during the interview, where the focus is to go into greater detail to explore how the candidate does what they do.

Let’s use questions on the subjects of prospecting (in general) and cold calling (in particular) as an example. Here are some questions that might be asked during a telephone screening call:

  • How much prospecting have you done in your previous sales positions?

  • What percentage of your sales leads were you responsible for sourcing?

Then, during an interview you could drill down further by asking these questions:

  • What prospecting activities do you typically perform to build your sales opportunity pipeline?

  • What percentage of your time do you usually invest in each activity?

  • What results have these activities produced for you in the past?

Here are some questions that could be asked to investigate a sales job candidate's cold calling prowess:

  • How much experience have you had cold calling (prospect types)?

  • At what level in an organization are you accustomed to calling?

  • Why are these people willing to talk to you?

  • How do you convince gatekeepers to put you in direct contact with (target prospect) decision makers such as (job titles)?

Next week's blog post will continue the conversation by discussing how role plays fit into the sales recruiting process and how to get the most benefit from the use of multiple interviewers.