Sales Recruiting By The Numbers - Part 2

February 11, 2018

Let's continue the "how many of what" conversation that was begun in Sales Recruiting By The Numbers - Part 1.

5. Conduct Telephone Screening Calls

My experience has been that 1 out of 10 to 1 out of 15 recruiting ad responses are strong enough to warrant a telephone screening call. If you receive between 60 and 100 responses to a recruiting ad, there should be somewhere between 4 and 10 responses that warrant a telephone screening call. Telephone screening calls (the purpose of which is to determine whether a candidate is interesting enough to warrant an in-person interview) usually take 20 to 30 minutes per call.

When I conduct a telephone screening call, my focus is investigating the top three to five capabilities required for success in the sales position. This often includes asking questions in several of the following areas:

  • Does the salesperson have existing relationships with people who have certain job titles in certain types of companies that they can leverage to book appointments?

  • What is their approach to prospecting?

  • How much prospecting are they accustomed to performing?

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

  • Why are they successful convincing target prospects to make the time to speak with them?

  • What is their process for sales opportunity qualification?

  • How do they ensure they qualify for opportunities across their company's entire portfolio of products and services?

  • What is their process for rapidly learning how to find and qualify opportunities for a broad portfolio of, and/or for complex, products and services?

  • What is their process for managing product demonstrations and presentations?

NOTE: There are many other capabilities that may be critical for success in specific sales positions. This is just a small sampling of possible telephone screening call questions.

Because I was so exacting when screening resumes, my experience was that approximately 80% of the candidates that I invited to participate in telephone screening calls did well enough to warrant advancing to the next step in the recruiting process. Depending on the client, this next step was either an in-person interview or sales assessment testing.

6. Conduct In-Person Interviews

During an in-person interview you will want to drill deeper into each candidate's experience and capabilities. Ask the questions on your list of Screening and Interview Questions that were not asked during the Telephone Screening Call. Put the candidate through role plays and other types of "situational" interviews to see how they respond to real-life sales scenarios. This is also a good time to ask questions intended to determine how good a fit the individual is with your management style and/or your company's culture.

7. Assess Finalists

Next, I recommend that you gather objective information by assessing your sales position "finalists." This is another lengthy topic that is beyond the scope of this article, but the information is available on the Sales Assessment Tests page of the MySalesTest website.

8. Conduct Additional Interviews and Extend Job Offer(s)

Your recruiting process may include additional interviews for a variety of purposes. These include asking questions that were raised by the individual's assessment results and giving other individuals in your organization a chance to interview candidates.

If you do involve people outside the sales department in your sales job candidate interview process, make sure these other interviewers have a clear understanding of their role in the sales recruiting decision process. Ask them to be consistent in their dealings with interviewees. What specifically are they trying to uncover through the questions they ask? Do their questions relate to capabilities and characteristics that are critical for sales success?


Don't be surprised if the sales recruiting process described above produces more than one desirable sales job candidate. You will now have a (happily) difficult choice - will you hire just one salesperson, or more than one?