3 years ago
January 6, 2015

Sales Managers: You Don’t Hire A Resume

As the sales manager, invariably you will be part of the sales hiring process. This generally means looking through hundreds of different resumes and

Rhys Metler

sales managers don't hire a resumeAs the sales manager, invariably you will be part of the sales hiring process. This generally means looking through hundreds of different resumes and along the way you’ll see a variety of resume types. While it is important to make sure that the person you are hiring is qualified for the job, never forget that what looks great on paper may not be great in person. You’re hiring a person, not their resume.

Today’s sales recruits are well versed in what it takes to put together a good resume. Unfortunately, it is not possible for a sales manager to interview every single person who applies for a job, and sifting through resumes is the most natural way for a sales manager to weed out those who might not be good fits.

While you are sifting for candidates, categorize them into three piles – very strong resumes, okay resumes and those who have absolutely no experience in sales — that pile can be put aside for now. While you may find a diamond in the rough in that one, your qualified candidates are most likely going to come from the other two piles.

The Interviewing Process

Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to start interviewing. As the sales manager, you have a unique perspective on the type of person you need for the job. Instead of letting someone in HR take over this part, it’s important as a sales manager to be present and to make sure you have a great deal of input in the hiring process. Not everyone “gets” sales and if you want highly qualified employees, this is something you definitely do not want to delegate to someone else, particularly if they have no experience in sales.  

Start with the resumes from the “okay” pile first and schedule these interviews before the others. You will undoubtedly find that many of these candidates are actually viable prospects for the position, they may just not be as skilled on paper as they are in person. The obvious thing to look for in the sales recruitment process is who best “sells” themselves as a candidate for the job?

Some of the other qualities you are looking for that won’t appear on a resume, but are incredibly evident in person are:

  • Outgoing nature
  • Hunger for achievement
  • Extreme self confidence
  • Good sense of humor
  • Great interaction skills (ie: listening, eye contact, smiling and encouraging)

If a candidate can’t sell themselves for the position in person, if they can’t make you believe they are the perfect employee incarnate, they may be lacking the confidence that is needed to be a good sales person. While it’s a nerve wracking experience to apply for a job, especially in front of a sales manager, the candidates you’re looking for should be able to surmount their nerves and convince you that they’re right for the job.

Keep Looking

Now, let’s say that you’ve gone through your two best piles and you still haven’t found that right person. It’s time to start looking for that diamond in the rough. While someone who has never had experience in sales is going to need a lot more training, there is something to be said for being able to shape them from scratch. As a sales manager, you know that the most important qualities in sales people are typically innate and if they impress you in an interview and come across as someone who has sales in their blood, don’t let their lack of experience on their resume put you off. 

Resumes are great, don’t get us wrong, and they are definitely a vital tool for a sales manager to use as part of the sales recruitment process. However, sometimes a sales manager need to look beyond the paper and base their decisions on first impressions and overall abilities. These qualities just don’t show up on a resume.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.