Interviewing Sales Professionals, How to Minimise the Risk!


by Herman Benade

2 months ago


Hiring sales professionals is very different to hiring most other roles, as most other roles are fairly ‘black and white’ in terms of identifying a good profile, and in most cases other roles have an immediate effect on the business. Sales professionals only start showing a return on investment between 6-9 months after starting, with a larger sales cycle, this can extend to as far as 18 months. Obviously, that’s a long time to wait for a return and hiring the wrong person can be detrimental to any organisation, especially if you are an SME.  Conversely, if you don’t have good sales people in your organisation, you won’t grow your business and you will be eaten up by your competition.

Now there is no full proof way to ensure you are hiring the right people into your organisation, sales or any other role for that matter.  But there are definitely some things you can have a close look at and shouldn’t budge on, when it comes to sales professionals.  Here are some points to consider: 

  1. The most obvious one is likeability, basically ask yourself the question. “Would I go for a drink with this person if I met them outside an interview environment?” Sounds strange, it’s not.  In a very competitive market, people still buy from people, before the product in most cases. 
  2. Psychometric testing. If you’re not doing it, you should be. There is enough science out there around this. I’m not saying that you will get the best in the market through doing this, but you will protect yourself from hiring someone who isn’t suited to a sales role. 
  3. References, a given? Don’t accept the names of the two referees the candidate provides.  In sales, more than any other role, you want to make sure the candidate provides a referee for every single sales role they have ever had, providing its relevant. This will give you so much insight into how this person actually performs, as well as how to get the most out of them.

Use the services of a Recruitment Consultant. Sound biased and it probably is! The fact is, the best sales people are currently working and not registered on a job board.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t run your own processs, you 100% should.  But get a comparison point on what the passive market looks like, compared to the active market.  

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