Written by Kimberley Startup | August 4, 2014
There could barely be a more important task for a hiring manager than getting the right sales professional. Don’t be casual or unprofessional about it – instead, ask the questions necessary to ensure your new sales recruit is a good listener, as well as handy at asking questions themselves.
The next time you launch a sales recruitment campaign, consider the below tips.
1. Don’t emphasise appearance too much
Sure, appearance and a good first impression count for something in a candidate, but it’s more important to listen to what they do and say. The right skills and experience are so much more vital than a sharp suit, robust handshake and bright smile.
2. Ask about what research they’ve done
Great salespeople do their research in advance, and they’ll certainly do the same for your sales recruitment interview. Ask them what they know about your company and your values and objectives. If they haven’t done this basic research, they’re unlikely to be effective at selling.
3. Avoid standard questions
Do you know what the problem is with standard questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” They’re too easy to plan for. Don’t ask the candidate to talk about a recent sale – instead, make them think more by putting them in hypothetical situations. How would they have dealt with a particular recent sales challenge in your business?
4. Probe their sales experience more
Make sure their CV isn’t misleading you, by asking about the exact nature of their selling experience to date. Have they been selling over the phone, or face to face? What have been the values of their sales so far, and the length of the sales cycle? What was their quota, and how did they perform against it? If the candidate hesitates or is unspecific, be concerned.
5. Get the opinions of others
Arrange meetings between your candidate and a couple of other directors and senior managers – one of your salespeople, too. They might notice things that you missed.
It’s one thing to appoint someone just because of a favourable first impression, but this offers no guarantees of finding someone who can sell. The above simple techniques can make all of the difference to your sales recruitment.