8 years ago
April 18, 2016

How to Prevent Hiring the Wrong Sales Rep

Here are some tips on how to avoid hiring the wrong sales rep.

Rhys Metler

Hiring a new sales rep is an expensive process. On top of the salary and benefits you give them you’ve also got expenses such as equipment, training costs, and office space to think of, not to mention the amount of valuable time it takes to bring them on board and get them running. All this means that hiring the wrong sales rep can be an incredibly expensive mistake, not only will you have spent a lot of time and money on them but you’ll also suffer the opportunity cost of losing sales you would have got with a better candidate.

1. Know what you’re looking for

If you don’t know exactly what qualities you’re looking for in a sales rep you are unlikely to find someone who is a perfect fit. If you’re busy and desperate for new staff you may be tempted to hire the first person who sounds right, only to later discover they lack certain skills or personality attributes that you need them to have. Make a list of all the qualities you would need to find your perfect candidate and use that as a starting point for writing a great job description. The more you know about what you’re looking for the easier it will be to spot it when you see it – and equally the easier it’ll be to spot a candidate who looks good on the surface but is unlikely to be suitable in the long term. Your list should include all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that your ideal candidate would have.

2. Display your job description where top talent will see it

You’ll now have a great job description for your perfect sales rep and will need to use it to attract talent and the more people that can see your job description the more likely someone who is perfect for the job will apply. The places where you put your job description will have an effect on the quality of applicants that apply, so if you’re looking for the best possible sales person you need to be advertising nationally and not just locally. The internet has made this a lot easier but don’t dismiss advertising in relevant newspapers, magazines, or journals since these are likely to be read by high performers.

3. Interview potential candidates effectively

An effective interview process is key to avoid hiring the wrong sales rep. Ideally each likely candidate will be interviewed by more than one person in the organization, by having more than one interviewer you can build up a more accurate picture of how the sales rep is likely to fit into your team. During the interview, you are looking to find a candidate that has the knowledge, skills and attitude that will match your job description and while it may be tempting, you shouldn’t settle for someone that only has two of these. Skills and knowledge are great but without the right attitude, the sales rep will create more problems than they solve.

Start on a trial basis

Unless you are certain that your chosen sales rep is the perfect candidate it can be prudent to start on a trial basis. A two-three week trial will give you an opportunity to see how they fit into your team and respond to your training and procedures; you’ll also be able to observe how they interact with other people on your team. There will likely be a few small issues you want to discuss with your chosen sales rep so a trial also gives the opportunity for a review period where you can discuss with them how they are fitting in to your team and what you’d like to them to work on and improve. If you’ve followed the previous three steps well your trial should be a success and both sides can continue in the working relationship.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.