• Mike Poledna

3 Keys to Choosing a Candidate for Your Open Sales Role

Updated: Jan 13

It all comes down to this. You’ve run the right assessments. You’ve conducted all of your interviews. It’s time to make a decision on your next sales hire.

At this point, it would be valuable to get together with any other hiring managers who have had a hand in the process. If you’re the only manager involved in the decision, make sure to allow enough time to review all of the materials you’ve accumulated throughout the course of the interviews like scoring rubrics or notes.

As you do, keep in mind these keys to sales hiring success:

1. Beware of the “decent” candidate.

Many of us complete a mental checklist when interviewing, and when a candidate can

check all of the boxes, the tendency is to consider them a quality applicant.

This is dangerous, as candidates who check off your boxes might not be exceptional but just meet the minimum requirements. The absence of negatives is not a positive. You want a candidate who exceeds your requirements for the role.

2. Don’t waste time seeking mediocre prospects.

If there are other qualified candidates beyond the first applicant, ensure that you interview them within 3-5 days. But if your first candidate is ideal, and you don’t have other qualified applicants, make the offer.

Wasting time interviewing and considering candidates that you are not – nor were you ever – enthused about puts you at a disadvantage, as many applicants are actively seeking employment in many places, and drawing out the process can put you at risk of losing him or her to another company.

3. Administer final screening.

Depending on the values of your company and the needs of the position, you might have the candidate complete, at the minimum, a criminal background check. This has less to do with the candidate and more to do with the risks your business runs if you hire someone with a criminal record who then commits a crime on the job. Similarly, if your company has a drug policy, have them go through a drug screen. If the position entails control of a company vehicle, conduct a driving history check.

There a variety of pre-employment checks that can be administered, so make sure to choose the ones that will serve your purposes. These are usually associated with fees, so make sure you have narrowed down your search to the most promising candidate before committing.

Making the Decision

When you’re ready to hire, rely on the tools you’ve used throughout the process to support your decision. Don’t rely on your gut at the last minute, and avoid taking a chance on someone who didn’t meet the qualifications mapped out for this role.

Remember the goals you had in mind at the beginning of the process, and choose the candidate who will help you build your company and grow your revenues. If you don’t, you could find yourself repeating the interview process all over again sooner than you’d like.

Review Sales Interview Best Practices

If you need a refresher on the best practices for sales interviews we’ve already addressed, check out the previous posts in our series:

Get everything you need to execute a productive sales interview. Our ebook, 3 Essential Resources for Interviewing Sales Candidates, has the tools to make it easy.

You’ll get an outline for the perfect interview, a list of questions to ask (and ones to avoid), and a candidate evaluation form to make sure you and your team make the best hire.

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