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Recruiting Salespeople
Blog / Recruiting Salespeople / Jun 14, 2018 / Posted by John Golden / 4934

Recruiting Salespeople


How to Find and Recruit the Best Salespeople

Recruiting salespeople can be a significant challenge. It is essential to find someone who fits in with the culture, has an innate set of skills that lend well to selling, and has the experience and track record to prove credibility. This two-part series will explore how to find and recruit the best salespeople.

Why is it so difficult to recruit good salespeople?

There are several reasons why it is so tricky to onboard the right person. For example, most salespeople who are working and winning are happy where they are currently employed. This leaves the task of convincing the desired employee to quit their current job and upgrade their opportunity. Financial compensation doesn’t always drive successful salespeople. Chances are, they are already doing well for themselves. When they are in that position, they are going to be looking for more than just a salary. The hiring manager has to sell the company and the job to the prospective hire.

Additionally, it takes great salespeople to find winning salespeople. People who work in the sales industry are excellent at selling products and selling themselves. They sell themselves in interviews, and can often oversell their qualifications to an untrained or inexperienced interviewer. When the wrong type of person tries to hire the right kind of salesperson, problems can occur. It can lead to hiring an inadequate person or making the skilled person lose interest in the position.

Characteristics of Qualified Salespeople

There are many different characteristics and traits to look for in a potential candidate. 80% of what makes a good hire is in his or her mindset, while only 20% is in her or his skillset. Mindset includes traits such as resourcefulness, communication, accountability, and mindfulness. These traits are more innate and can be challenging to teach. The skillset, whether sales methodology or sales process execution, is also essential but can be taught to the candidate that has the right mindset.

Another useful characteristic is someone who can make something from nothing. A recommended sample interview question is, “can you develop something with little to no budget?” The right candidate will be able to articulate how they would market a product, as well as create a plan to generate clear sales. This kind of question assesses perseverance, creative problem solving, and other valuable traits in a candidate.

Beware of Red Flags

Locating an excellent candidate is difficult. However, there are some red flags to watch for that can help avoid hiring the wrong person. One of these significant red flags is job hopping. When a candidate doesn’t hold up to scrutiny or seems to leave the job when the company goes through difficult times, it shows a lack of endurance and loyalty. An employee that has stuck with a company in the most challenging of climates has demonstrated the ability to persevere.

A recruiter can learn a lot about a candidate based on their interview and interview behavior. In the interview, if the interviewee keeps talking and oversells themselves, it shows poor listening habits. These poor habits are likely to transfer over into sales calls. Following up after an interview with a thank-you email is customary and expected behavior, and neglecting to send one demonstrates poor interview behavior. This thoughtlessness could be a predictor of future performance at the company.

Additionally, the way that a candidate talks about their previous place of employment can foreshadow how they respond to the work climate. Talking about former bosses and employees in a negative light during the interview could suggest that they do not work well with others. Becuase of this, they may not fit in well in a dynamic workplace with varied personalities.

Changes in Sales Recruiting

Selecting a source for candidates can be difficult. The “post and pray” method involves posting a job listing online, and waiting for the right candidate to apply. This technique is often not successful in the sales world, and as a result, suitable candidates get skipped over. To find the best salespeople, create a customized recruiting strategy. It is crucial to search where the top people are likely to be. Identify what kind of publications they are reading, what websites they are using, and how to be where they are.

One company analyzed the last 100 people hired, and 51% of them were sought out and pursued by the company. LinkedIn, Indeed, and other similar job seeker websites are responsible for only 6% of those who received offer letters. As a result, it is clear that hiring and recruiting has changed. More creative onboarding techniques are needed to find qualified candidates.

A Different Approach

An interview assessing sales skill sets is often different from the traditional meeting. Salespeople are usually good at persuading. Because of this, they know how to make a persuasive case as to why they should join the company. Knowing how to interview, and what kind of interview to do, makes a big difference in deciphering the best candidate. It can weed out those who are just good at persuasive interviewing.

With the availability of information accessible to recruiters, it is crucial to research candidates. Exploring further, the hiring process can even mimic the sales process by mirroring the way that a deal closes. Studying the candidates, reading their resumes, being familiar with their backgrounds, and knowing what is needed to entice them shows preparation and interest. Insufficient employer preparation is one of the biggest turn-offs for potential employees, and a significant reason why some individuals decline jobs. In an interview, the recruiter is selling the company as much as the candidate is selling themselves.

Specific Tools for Success

There are specific tactics that can be utilized to tailor a sales interview. For example, including a sales simulation and encouraging the candidate to do a mock sales call. Another technique is to have the interview mirror a conversation. Developing rapport between interviewer and interviewee fosters a positive connection that will make hiring the best person even easier. Furthermore, past performance will always be a good indicator of future performance. However, understanding how each candidate reached her or his performance goals is also essential. The candidate who can explain the techniques they used to get the superb sales record demonstrates something important. They are highlighting the mindfulness and intention they put into the achievement. This is contrary to a person who struggles to explain the techniques. It is more likely that this person stumbled upon sales by luck.


Finally, and perhaps most importantly for recruiters: do not get discouraged. All positions can be filled, with the right tools and mindset. There are excellent candidates out there. They will be interested in working for a good company with a good workplace environment. Sell your company to potential candidates, the way you would like the candidate to sell your product or service to your prospective customers.

Information for this article was sourced from this webinar, hosted by John Golden, featuring the expert opinions of Kim Cole, Jamie Crosbie, and Craig Jones.

About Author

John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist, he has conducted over 1500 video interviews of thought leaders for Sales POP! online sales magazine & YouTube Channel and for audio podcast channels where Sales POP! is rated in the top 2% of most popular shows out of 3,320,580 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.

Author's Publications on Amazon

John Golden, best selling author of "Winning the Battle for Sales" presents "Social Upheaval: How to Win At Social Selling" to explain how every B2B salesperson can add social selling methods to their toolkits, and why it is so important that they do so without…
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FROM THE CREATORS OF SPIN SELLING―TRIED-AND-TRUE STRATEGIES TO ARM YOU IN THE WAR FOR SALES SUPREMACY "I distinctly remember my first VP talking about 'campaigns' and 'targets.' Indeed, successful salespeople have made learning from military tactics an important aspect of their careers. In this engaging…
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