There are two ways to find great sales people—either they come to you (“active” candidates) or you approach them (“passive” candidates). In this article, we will first look at the process of responding to a candidate who comes to you. They are actively seeking your opportunity.
General job boards such as Indeed, Monster, Career Builders, The Ladders, and LinkedIn, are often utilized to search for new hires. Those can certainly be useful, but it is important not to neglect industry-specific boards when such exist. You should list your job opening on all these boards, not just the general ones. Then, follow these steps:
1. First, you need to put in place an assessment tool to filter out the individuals who do not possess the skills, mindset, and behaviors you’re looking for.
2. Next, you will want to conduct a preliminary interview, done by telephone. There are a few purposes to the phone interview, including:
- Assess how the candidate sounds over the phone. Good phone communication is important in sales.
- Assess how well the candidate handles slight resistance. In sales, they will frequently interact with customers who are less than eager to talk to them, and they need to be able to navigate such situations skillfully.
Try to do all your phone interviews in one day. Tell the candidates you will get back to them by the end of the day; do not give them an indication of your first impression yet—even if you really like them. Wait until you have talked with everyone, then follow up with the ones who impressed you the most.
3. Those who impress you can move on to the next step: a face-to-face interview. This interview is a chance for you to learn more about them. Do not expect them to know everything about your company yet. Get to know who they are.
Again, even if a candidate seems amazing in that interview, don’t jump the gun by making an offer. Take time to be reflective, review your notes, and assess potential red flags. If you still feel strongly about a candidate after that, proceed to the next step: the second interview.
4. The importance of a second interview is underestimated; never offer a candidate the position after just one interview. The purpose of a second interview is designed to focus on the candidate’s first 90 days. In particular, what is the candidate’s perception of what will happen.
Remember, if they have been in sales before they should have a sense of what it will take for them to get acclimated and ramped up in a new company. Their presentation doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be thoughtful, realistic and demonstrate their insight into your industry and/or your company. Let them explain what they think will be most helpful, how they think, and how they see themselves. It gives you an idea of whether they’re “on the right track” and whether they would be a good fit for you.
These 4 steps are great for filtering candidates who come to you (active candidates). Join us for the next article, where we will discuss the process for filtering out great salespeople whom you contact—those who are still passive.