Improve Your Odds When Hiring the Right Salesperson

BY Tim Londergan
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How’s your track record at hiring good salespeople? Optimistically, you’ve had great experiences and are enjoying the benefits of a solid team of professionals. Luckily, these sellers possess skills that complement each other and add to your corporate culture. Likewise, you may be coveting a list of prospective candidates who could fill the shoes of any employee who would take leave. However, closer to reality is that your hiring has been hit or miss. So, when it comes to hiring the right salesperson, how do you improve your odds of hiring well?

Cast a wide net when hiring the right salesperson

Such is the advice of Rebecca Schalm, who has a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. Sharing her views in an article titled, “Ten Strategies to Improve Your Odds Of A Better Hire,” she laments that many worthy candidates are overlooked simply because of fear. For example, human resources and recruitment firms are afraid of broadening their search beyond the restrictions of experience guidelines. She suggests sales managers ask for candidates that are likable but not necessarily the perfect fit for the opening. Consequently, these improbable applicants may spark some creativity and bring something new and different to the role.

Dismiss your preconceived notions

As a manager, you cannot know the true expectations or motivations of your candidate at the outset. Importantly, through interviews and discussions, you will have a degree of insight, but take care not to make assumptions about what drives your applicant. As Dr. Schalm states, “Careers are increasingly less linear, and people feel more freedom to follow their own path.” Therefore, when hiring the right salesperson, keep an open mind and remember that livelihoods are comprised of many and varied experiences.

Use selection tools

One of the author’s 10 strategies is to take advantage of selection tools that provide valuable insight. Admittedly, these tools cannot replace a series of interviews and reference checks, but they can ensure that a candidate is a good fit. Likewise, when hiring the right salesperson, an assessment of personality traits can give you a preview of how they will blend with the team. For instance, a targeted pre-​hire questionnaire can reveal a candidate’s natural curiosity or their ability to bounce back from rejection. Additionally, a simple survey can establish your applicant’s attention to detail or their open-mindedness.

Is your workplace ready?

This is an important question. Today’s tight labor market places new demands on companies that compete for sales talent. As a result, when hiring the right salesperson, you need to be assured that your company measures up. Authors collaborating on an article for Harvard Business Review cite 11 underlying trends that will shape workplace volatility in the coming year. Here are just a few:

  • The challenge of a fair, equitable and flexible hybrid workforce
  • Offering wellness programs that cover mental, physical and financial well-being
  • Policies that support diversity, equity and inclusion

The sales hiring game has changed. Learn how to play the NEW game

Recent disruptions in our world have made it clear that there is no normal. However, one thing that is assured: Hiring success depends on critical decisions. Unfortunately, the game of hiring has new players, new rules and new tools. When hiring the right salesperson, you need to take advantage of all the information and tools available to you. Widen your playing field, cast off prejudice and use tools that provide precious insight into your applicant’s personality traits. In addition, your workplace needs to meet new standards that attract top sales talent and allow you to retain the best members of your team.

Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash