In this article, we’ll discuss steps you can take to avoid hiring lazy sales people.
Few things cause as many headaches as the realization that at some point, you made a mistake when hiring sales people. Seeing the evidence pile up that you’ve picked up lazy sales people can take a while, as most of us are loathe to recognize such mistakes–especially if the person or people in question are otherwise exceptional or charming. All of this leads to one conclusion: you need to refine your recruitment process, so that you’re hiring sales people that will put 100% of their effort to work for you. In this article, we’ll discuss steps you can take to avoid hiring sales people that won’t do their jobs, whose metrics will show an apathy that you’d never detect in that first interview–so hopefully, you won’t find yourself in the painful position of deciding what to do with a lazy sales team.
When hiring sales people, a resume is your first opportunity to see what sort of effort a potential hire puts in to their work. With the presence of spell checkers and grammar checkers in modern word processors, egregious typos should set off warning flags–you shouldn’t necessarily toss a resume in the trash because of usage errors, unless writing is an important part of your sales methodologies, but words that a quick spell-check would have caught denote simple laziness.
You can also see laziness in ‘bare minimum’ applications. If you notice that an application has the minimum amount of experience listed, the minimum number of prior projects listed, no cover letter because one wasn’t mandatory…you might be looking at a lazy application.
References can’t always tell you much when hiring sales people, but you should check up with them anyway. Old employers won’t tell you ‘He was lazy’ or ‘She never met deadlines’, but you can still pick up enough information from references to paint a picture–and flash big red warnings. It takes very little effort to get names and numbers right–if your prospect gets them wrong, they’re not very thorough.
You can tell a lot about the amount of effort a person’s willing to put in to important tasks from the minor details of how they handle minor tasks. We’ve discussed laziness in simple things like resume cover letters and establishing references, but there are other things to check when hiring sales people. Lazy personal hygiene can be a warning sign–a haphazard shave that’s left stray hairs, hair tucked under a hat or back in a ponytail instead of being styled, that sort of thing.
Few things give you as much insight into whether an employee will be lazy as you can gain from getting a bit personal. Talk work values, talk motivation, talk frankly about slacking and being lazy. If you’ve been hiring sales people for a while, it should be obvious when someone is giving answers from the heart or giving those same answers from somewhere else. Combine your instincts here with everything else you’ve learned about them.
So you have a list of red marks against a prospect…no cover letter, typos on their resume, a bit scruffy, sounded awkward talking about how much they value hard work. Directly challenging these issues can give you a lot of insight when hiring sales people. Not just whether they’re truly lazy or not, but how they handle criticism and how they respond to unexpected stimuli.
A final warning to anyone hiring sales people: don’t treat any item on this list as an instant disqualifier unless you have a mile-long list of highly qualified applicants. Everyone makes mistakes here and there, and sometimes even the hardest working genius employee gets a bit lazy with their resume–especially when they’ve been submitting new ones to every potential employer instead of reusing the same one.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.