How Do You Find the Right Sales Candidate?

You know the definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  That’s how most companies approach hiring salespeople.  They use their experiences from doing it incorrectly to project the results they would get if they did it the right way.

Today a CEO said, “we have no confidence that we’d get any candidates if we use your service because we aren’t getting any candidates now.”  Of course they aren’t.  They’re using a display ad ($$$) in the wrong section (hmm) of the newspaper (dinosaur), to attract candidates for three positions (what?) including engineering and production.  The ad itself?  It doesn’t say much more than there’s a sales opportunity at the company.  How could they do any worse?  But since that’s their experience, they’re skeptical that a process and tool they don’t understand, that’s out of their comfort zone, would be any more effective.  It won’t if they don’t use it.

A big part of the recruiting process is to get the ad right – that includes identifying the specific experiences a candidate must have succeed in and writing the killer ad that gets the candidate to self identify with it. Another part is knowing where and where not to place the ad and how to use the various job sites so that they work for you and not against you.  Even can provide a great number of quality candidates if you know the insider tricks to making their site work.

That brings us to assessments. As I’ve previously written, the most predictive, sales specific assessment in the world is only as helpful as your pool of candidates so if you don’t have much of a pool or your pool is the same lousy pool you always have, about the only thing the assessment will do is prevent you from making a mistake.  However, if you have a good sized pool of quality candidates, the assessment will weed out the folks you won’t want to waste your time on.  Interestingly, these are not the same candidates that most managers weed out by looking at resumes.  Managers suck at going through resumes and identifying the candidates to consider. When you execute the process effectively, the assessment will identify the candidates you’ll want to speak with by phone and later interview.

There are some very powerful, effective methods for identifying, attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring and retaining great salespeople.  They won’t work if you don’t try them.