8 years ago
April 18, 2016

3 Lessons Learned About Sales Mis-Hires

You can improve your chances of avoiding a sales mis-hire.

Rhys Metler

It’s tough to find top-performers for your company. The hiring process is fraught with landmines. It’s time-consuming and expensive, and you never know if your new employee will be an asset to your company or a sales mis-hire. 

You can’t just stop hiring, however, so it’s wise to learn from your mis-hires and do the best you can to hire the highest performers in your industry. Before we get to three lessons you can learn from a sales mis-hire, let’s discuss a few of the problems with the hiring process.

  • Recruiters don’t seem to have enough good candidates
  • Resumes are full of hype
  • Reference checks don’t seem to help much
  • Interviews aren’t very revealing

If you’ve run into these problems before, take heart. There are things you can do to avoid a costly sales mis-hire this time around, and here are three of them.

Sales Mis-Hire Technique #1: Nail Down Exactly What You’re Looking For

One of the biggest problems sales managers face in the hiring process is that they haven’t thoroughly thought about what they’re looking for. They want an employee who can come in and take care of problems, but they haven’t articulated exactly what those problems are and what skills are necessary to fix those problems.

This takes some careful analysis, and you might find that it’s best to get together with other managers in your company to discuss this. Charisma and likability aside, what exact skills, qualifications, and experience do you need in the position you’re trying to fill? Just being able to articulate this will help you to find the right person for the job. It will also help you to write a job description that will weed out the wrong candidates and attract the right ones.

Sales Mis-Hire Technique #2: Develop Networks That Will Help You Identify Candidates

Another way to avoid a sales mis-hire is to develop networks of people who can refer excellent candidates to you. The best candidates are often working for someone else, not searching for jobs just when you need them. The only way to find such people is to know people who know them. How do you develop helpful networks to help you avoid a sales mis-hire?

  • Join LinkedIn and become an active participant
  • Join local industry groups
  • Attend sales-related conferences
  • Talk to people about your business and your open positions
  • Publish articles and then share them via social media
  • Volunteer in the local community

Sales Mis-Hire Technique #3: Ask Intellectually Honest Interview Questions

Managers often make a mistake that leads to a sales mis-hire, and that is asking typical interview questions that allow the candidate to brag about himself without giving helpful information. For example, a manager might ask a question like, “Can you tell me about a time when you were well-organized?” Of course the candidate is going to offer a glowing example of his or her organizational skills, but such a question doesn’t lead to information that helps you to make a decision.

Instead, use more specific questions that force the candidate to be more thoughtful in his or her answers. For example, you could ask, “What accounts did you inherit in your last job and what accounts did you end up with? What happened in between?” This is a very specific question that will help you to understand the candidate’s methods, habits, and mindset, giving you much better information for making a decision.

You can improve your chances of avoiding a sales mis-hire. By nailing down exactly what you’re looking for, building your network, and asking intellectually honest interview questions, you’ll get a much better idea of the kind of person you want to hire. You’ll also have better discretion as you conduct interviews so you can avoid a costly sales mis-hire.

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.