5 tips for hiring and recruiting top sales reps

No matter what stage your company is in, there’s always one question that’s top-of-mind: how do you attract and select the right talent for your company?

There are endless webinars, books, websites, lectures, whitepapers, and more on the topic — and the advice is often contradictory. Do you negotiate salary for the right candidate, or do you stand firm on a figure? Do you ask what they consider their greatest weakness, or do you spend your time on more meaningful questions? How do you evaluate a “good” answer anyway?

1. Keep it simple

Ideally, you shouldn’t have a candidate coming to meet your entire team — you want the interviewees to meet with a small handful of relevant people at the company. Be mindful of their time. If they get a hard pass from you, there’s no need to have them continue a lengthy process. Sure, it takes a village, but you also want to avoid a “too many cooks” situation.

2. Focus on their work ethic

It may be tempting to chase down candidates with years of experience over someone newer to your sector (or even sales entirely), but it may be helpful to also remain open-minded and hone in on the candidate’s dedication to their work.

What lengths do they go to in order to see a job through? How do they deal with roadblocks? Sometimes, how hard they’re willing to work to be successful trumps direct experience.

3. Dig into their decision-making process

Ask questions that will reveal something about the thought process of the candidate, rather than focusing on the answer itself. One example proposed at the Sales Management Roundtable by Sean Kester, VP of Product Strategy at SalesLoft, is to ask why the candidate chose to attend their college. Were there specific programs that stood out to them? Did they have a checklist of important factors? Or do you get the impression that they attended because they were simply given the option to? Evaluate whether this thought process would help or hinder their work.

4. Ask about what they want

And honestly reflect on whether your company can provide that for them. The entire process is a waste if there’s not a fundamental match — and this street runs both ways. As much as you’re interested in finding someone who will be well-suited to the role and the company, you also want the company to be a good fit for them.

Hiring isn’t unlike dating in this way, noted Carolyn Betts, Founder/CEO of Betts Recruiting. Similarly, Taft Love at PandaDoc likes to ask candidates to describe their ideal manager. Carefully consider whether this response is representative of the experience they would have at your company.

5. Sell longevity over fun

Particularly in Bay Area tech culture, it seems that many companies have endless amounts of fun perks, ranging from foosball tables to happy hours and more. While a fun environment can contribute to a happier workforce, make sure that you’re also laying out what really counts.

Take the time to discuss financial factors such as funding and stability. In the long run, building a sustainable business is more important than ping pong tables.

Have additional tips or want to learn more? Leave a comment below!

Anna is a copy, content, and communications professional living in San Francisco. Her portfolio may be found at annawestendorf.com.

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