Is the process for hiring salespeople working for you? If it is not, you’re not alone. Many employers and sales job candidates think the process for hiring salespeople is broken.
Even though companies spend a lot to recruit, hire, and train folks for sales positions, the industry turnover rate for salespeople remains abysmal. Industry experts report the turnover rate for salespeople is often more than 25%.
Here are ten signs of a damaged system for hiring new sales staff and tips on fixing the issues.
Sign #1: Your Job Postings Bring in Mostly Unqualified Applicants or Get No Response
If you are not getting any response to an ad, the ad or the audience is the problem.
Is your posting copy compelling? Do you make your job sound authentic, or does your posting sound like everyone else? Do you use cliché phrases such as: “seeking a self-starter”? Does your post mention compensation, or do you write “salary commensurate with experience”?
Use the posting to make your job a reality. Talk about the good, the bad, and the opportunity. If you need to learn how to write a job post that attracts great sales applicants, get a free copy of our Guide to Hiring the Best Salespeople for Your Company at this link.
Also, make sure you are going beyond the standard job boards to get your message out. To see more about where to place posts for open sales positions, get a copy of our free Hiring Guide at the link above.
If you’re skirting the salary issue in your post, you are making a mistake. Candidates do not want to spend hours completing online applications only to learn the compensation is too low.
ZipRecruiter says, to handle the salary, you can list:
- A lower compensation to attract only applicants that are interested in the job
- The highest possible amount (with the phrase, up to) to capture a broader range of applicants
- A range to get a little leeway in making a final offer (We recommend this approach.)
- No compensation, which gives you the most negotiating power but does not attract as many applicants
Sign #2: You Use Resumes as the First Critical Step of Your Hiring Process
We have very little faith in resumes. Research shows that an applicant’s resume is only 18% successful in predicting job success. In its 2016 survey of 2,100 employers, CareerBuilder reports that 77% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume.
Skip the resume. Instead, ask applicants to take an upfront assessment. See below.
Sign #3: You Do Not Conduct an Up-Front Assessment of All Sales Candidates
One of the best tools you can use to hire quota-busting salespeople is a well-designed and sales-position-validated psychometric test. We think these tools are the key to implementing a successful process for hiring salespeople.
Developers of these tests design them to measure the candidates’ suitability for a sales position based on required personal characteristics and aptitude. You want to ensure you get a predictive test, which the developers have validated on a sales applicant population. You should not use a test that only measures personality.
To find the best sales assessment test to use in hiring your salespeople, request a free copy of our Guide for Selecting the Right Sales Assessment for You.
Your ideal assessments will use at least three components to triangulate the applicant’s ability to perform in your sales position. Experts say the best results come from a combination of tests measuring:
- Sales specific skills and knowledge, and
- General mental ability
Sign #4: You are Losing Your Best Candidates Mid-Way Through the Hiring Process
If you are losing top sales candidates in the middle of the hiring process, odds are your process is taking too long. Some companies promote a hiring process that takes as much as 40 hours per hire. In today’s fast-paced world, who has that much time?
In its 2017 survey of employers, Glassdoor reports it took U.S. employers about 23.8 days to hire a new employee. How do you stack up? We have two infographics that depict the length of the ideal process for hiring salespeople:
Sign #5: Your Interviewers Use Random and Non-Standard Questions
If you want to hire quota-busting salespeople, you must use a structured interview. In a structured interview, you ask the same specific questions of each candidate in the same order.
With this type of questioning, you reduce your interview bias and focus more on questions related o the applicant’s job-related skills. You should also develop a score for the range of answers to each question. By scoring typical responses in advance, you minimize the chance for “false” answers.
At this link, you can read more about structured interviews.
For a complete description of conducting a structured interview, get a free copy of our Hiring Guide.
Sign #6: All Sales Applicants Answering Interviewers’ Questions Sound the Same
If you hear the same answers from all applicants, you are not asking probing questions. You want to ask questions that allow you to get to know the candidate. We believe that Grit is a perfect indicator of sales success.
It would be best if you ask open-ended questions that encourage the applicant to demonstrate or explain their sales Grit.
Here is an example of a Grit-related question:
“Top performers do what the average won’t do. Give me a couple of examples where you were willing to do what others weren’t, and tell me what motivated you.”
For more examples of Grit questions for salespeople and a sample scorecard, request a free copy of our Guide to Interview Sales Candidates.
Sign #7: Chosen Candidates are Rejecting Your Offers
Glassdoor reports that candidates typically reject job offers for three reasons:
- Your salary and benefits are not competitive – Make sure you know the standard salary and benefits package for your industry. If you do not meet the standard, you will need to work very hard to sell your company to candidates.
- Your firm has bad online reviews online – Job applicants will research potential employers. Great sales candidates will pass on the posting if posts on job websites (such as Glassdoor) are consistently negative. The best folks have many options, so monitor how people talk about your company. It would be best if you watched the online comments about your workplace. If the negative reviews are accurate, you should fix the problem and own it with applicants. You can visit this link to learn more about how to respond to bad Glassdoor reviews.
- Your hiring process is a poor experience for applicants – Take care to make an excellent first impression. Keep applicants in the loop and explain your process and next steps. If you promise a response in 2 days, make that happen. Get feedback and make corrections if you are concerned that applicants are turning you down due to a flawed selection process.
You can also get a free guide from Glassdoor on closing job candidates at this link.
Sign #8: New Well-Qualified Hires Flameout (or Quit) Quickly
If your top hires fail to succeed or leave relatively soon, correctly set expectations in the hiring process. You should also carefully review your onboarding process.
A successful onboarding program reduces the attrition of your new hires.
Most companies do not onboard salespeople correctly. Sales is a tough job, and new hires need help to get a good solid start. Onboarding is a process that continues through the first six months to a year.
In a good onboarding program for new sales hires, you prepare your sales recruits with the knowledge, skills, and tools to succeed in sales at your company, even if they have similar industry and product experience!
If you need help with onboarding, get a free copy of our Guide for Successfully Onboarding Salespeople.
Sign #9: You Do Not Communicate with Candidates During the Hiring Process
Most companies do not communicate well during their hiring process. CareerBuilder reports that only 14% of candidates feel that potential employers kept them well informed throughout the entire hiring process.
Don’t leave applicants in the dark. Outline your process for hiring salespeople and the length of time it typically takes for you to make a selection. If all applicants must take an assessment before an interview, tell them. At each step, describe the next step. If applicants don’t ‘make the grade’ at a stage in the process, let them know you will not consider them for this opening.
By keeping candidates informed of their progress, you create a much better overall impression of your company. With a well-run process, you don’t burn bridges. You never know that second-choice candidates could be the ideal candidate for a different job.
Sign #10: You Have Not Changed Your Hiring Process in Years
You are stuck in the past if you have not made any changes to your hiring process.
Are you still pouring through resumes to schedule in-person interviews in the first part of the selection process? If yes, you are losing ground to more up-to-date employers.
You should adopt the latest best practices and utilize new technology to make the interview and hiring process easier for you and the applicants. You can use technology such as applicant tracking, online testing, and video interviewing (if appropriate) to help you improve on your existing process.
Contact us if you need help evaluating your process for hiring salespeople.