Top 6 Sales Recruiting Mistakes - Part 2

January 29, 2018

This week's blog post continues the conversation about sales recruiting mistakes that was begun in last week's blog post, Top 6 Sales Recruiting Mistakes - Part 1.

3. Being Too Quick to Schedule In-Person Interviews

When a resume attracts your attention, what's the next step? No, it is NOT scheduling an in-person interview. Instead, schedule a 20 to 30 minute telephone screening call.

What's the focus of the telephone screening call? To determine the candidate's strength (or lack thereof) in each of the 5 to 8 characteristics and capabilities that are "must haves" for success in your company's sales position!

If you complete a telephone screening call with a sense that a candidate has most or all of the critical characteristics and capabilities, it's time to schedule an in-person interview. If you have any doubt about a candidate's ability to conduct a key sales activity, role play that activity with the candidate until you reach a conclusion regarding their level of capability.

4. Having Non-Sales Personnel Conduct Sales Job Interviews

It is perfectly appropriate to include non-sales personnel in the sales interview process if salespeople must interact with them or their organizations on a regular basis. However, the focus of the questions asked by these non-sales personnel should be on the interactions that salespeople typically have with their organizations. It should NOT be on trying to determine whether the candidate can sell… UNLESS the interviewer has a strong sales background. How can someone who has never sold provide useful input on whether or not an individual can sell?

5. Not Determining Who Will Ask What

This brings us to another crucial recruiting mistake, which is NOT determining in advance the questions each interview participant will ask each sales job candidate. This one mistake is actually composed of three separate mistakes:

  1. Not deciding in advance the area(s) of focus for each interviewer

  2. Not writing down in advance the questions each interviewer will ask

  3. Not asking the same list of questions to each sales job candidate

Each sales job candidate should be given the same opportunity to prove himself or herself. If we are going to accomplish this, we need to suspend our own likes and prejudices during the interview process. This will counterbalance our natural tendency to "go easier" on candidates with whom we hit it off (most likely because we perceive them as being similar to ourselves) and "go harder" on candidates with whom we do not resonate right away.

Advance preparation will also make sure that each interviewer asks questions that tie back to their own areas of expertise and add specific value to the sales hiring decision process.

6. Not Including OBJECTIVE Information in the Sales Hiring Decision Process

If you follow the advice provided in item #5, and in particular if you suspend making a decision about a candidate for 30 minutes and truly give each candidate a fair chance, you can significantly improve your sales hiring success rate. However, recognize that you are still making your hiring decisions based solely upon SUBJECTIVE information.

Further significant improvements can be made in your company's sales hiring success rate if you add quality OBJECTIVE information into the decision mix. The best way to do this is through the use of comprehensive sales assessment tests.

Sales assessment testing is a weighty subject that is beyond the scope of this article. The good news is you can find substantial information about sales assessment testing on the MySalesTest website.


Effective sales recruiting is one of the four critical components of building and managing a top-performing sales team. If you implement the suggestions provided in this article, you should enjoy a significant improvement in your sales hiring success rate!