5 Secret Tactics for Hiring Sales Rockstars

The art of hiring sales reps involves finding professionals who have mastered complex selling, business alliances, partner management and soft skills like collaboration and EQ. The challenging fact is these talents are sometimes difficult to assess in a traditional job interview. This guide breaks down three winning strategies to avoid the mistake of spending time and resources hiring the wrong candidate.

Assess Their Soft Skills

Let’s face it, an experienced sales professional can deliver in a job interview. To separate candidates with superior soft skills like resilience, EQ and collaboration you need to test strategically. There are sophisticated assessment tools now available that leverage the power of predictive analysis using artificial intelligence (AI) to assess soft skills.

One example is Koru; who offer a 20-minute survey conducted online that ranks applicants for a job against an ideal profile. The assessment tools include questions to determine a sales rep’s level of confidence, teamwork, resilience, responsibility, and curiosity.

Challenge Them on Business Processes

Provide your candidates with a scenario detailing a flawed business process and ask them to identify problems and recommendations. A good example is a scenario involving multiple business units. Look for candidates who are quick to identify improvements to how the business units collaborate and how the relationship could be strengthened to achieve a better outcome. Extra points for specifying how communication could be improved either by style or through better use of technology.

Secrets to hiring a good sales person

 Test Their Personality!

The CEO of Charles Schwab, Walt Bettinger tests candidates in a job interview in a unique way. The candidate is invited for breakfast with Walt. Before arriving for lunch, Walt asks the waiter to bring the wrong plate of food to the candidate to discern their reaction. A reaction of politely requesting the right order is a good sign. However, accepting the wrong plate of food or a rude reaction could raise red flags.

The intention behind Walt Bettinger’s approach is to observe how the candidate responds to an uncomfortable situation and how they treat other people. Engineering a scenario which throws the candidate off balance can be easily incorporated into the interview process and is highly beneficial.

Give Them a Pre-Interview Assignment

A pre-interview assignment is useful for assessing non-verbal skills such as research, business acumen and how seriously they take preparation. An example is providing the candidate with the profile of a real prospect and giving them a day to prepare then present a strategy on approaching the prospect. You will gain the most accurate assessment of performance potential by using a task they would perform on the job. This also helps the individual understand what is expected if accepted for the role.

Surprise Them With a Sales Engagement Test

The third strategy of spotting great sales people is to see if the individual can think on their feet and pay attention to detail. During the interview provide the candidate with a prospect scenario and have them role-play a prospect meeting with you. The intention is to observe how they handle working with limited information which is a common challenge in B2B selling. The scenario should include:

  • Your company overview, product/service offering and value proposition
  • Target account overview
  • Information on the prospect from their social media profiles
  • Interactions the prospect has had with your company (e.g. has downloaded an eBook, past pitches, lapsed account, etc.)

According to research from LinkedIn the #1 reason why B2B buyers don’t engage with sales professionals is because the product or service isn’t relevant to their company. Great sales professionals will use all the tools at their disposal to gain insight into the prospects pain points and listens before providing the solution.

In summary

Sales leaders need to evolve the strategies they use to identify top sales professionals and go beyond traditional hiring processes. The traditional job interview is ineffective for assessing the soft skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive sales industry. Leveraging the power of predictive technology and assessing candidates in real-life scenarios is the best approach to predict future performance.

If you would like to talk to one of our consultants regarding sales recruitment whether you’re a jobseeker or a client looking to fill a sales team, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 02 9188 0311 or if you're in Europe on +31(0)02 520 6836