Best Practices for The Sales Hiring Process

BY C. Lee Smith
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In the new world order, you want to hire the best possible sales rep. To do that, you need to understand the best practices for the sales hiring process. Too many managers generalize when they hire their reps. If they see that a candidate has done well at another company, they’ll assume the candidate will succeed in their organization, too.

There’s a problem with that broad kind of thinking. First, as a sales manager, you should be hiring reps with the skills needed to thrive in today’s selling environment. Second, the reps you bring in should fit with what they’ll be selling and who they’ll be selling to.

The New Selling Environment

The sales profession requires enormous energy and a positive mindset. And these days, selling takes place on Zoom calls. Your sales reps must possess the soft skills that ensure success. You can’t walk the office hallways to check on how your reps are spending their time. And you don’t have the bandwidth to constantly review their online activities. If you hire reps with plenty of initiative, you won’t have to worry about whether they’re working hard enough.

Most candidates for your open position will insist they have plenty of that soft skill known as initiative. They know that’s what you want to hear. If you want to fact check their claims, ask them to take a sales skills assessment. A good assessment will include a scientific analysis of their work tendencies. If their scores show that taking initiative doesn’t come easily to them, check out their other critical soft skills.

The new selling environment has taught us that business operations have become more fluid. The increased uncertainty will impact your reps in different ways. To cope with the high-​stress selling environment, you’ll want to hire reps who will engage with prospects and customers at the right level. The results of a good sales skills assessment will show you who is likely to pull back and shut down and who is likely to remain friendly and outgoing when the stress ratchets up. Looking for resilience is a good indication that you’re committed to best practices for the sales hiring process. 

Resilience has always been a core requirement for success in the sales profession. Today, resilience must be one of your reps’ superpowers. With little opportunity to meet with prospects in person, your reps are being turned down more frequently than in the past. Your candidates’ assessment results will indicate who spring backs after rejection and tries another approach with a prospect.

The Fit

A candidate may appear to have all the necessary credentials to become a rainmaker. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for your sales department. To follow best practices for the sales hiring process, review their methodology. The popular Challenger sales methodology categorizes reps’ styles such as “hard worker” or “relationship builder.” Your your top candidate may be a hard worker. But you’re looking for a challenger who’s destined to become a high performer in complex sales. In this situation, think twice before making a job offer.

Hiring sales reps may be more challenging now than it’s ever been. But when you follow the best practices for the sales hiring process, you increase your chances of finding the person who exceed quota.