July 30, 2010 by Bob Hill
Posted in: communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, sales management
There are tons of eager job candidates out there these days. Here are five ways to ensure you’re really hiring the best person for your next Sales opening:
- Drill down deep into the resume. Regardless of how well-dressed candidates are or how effectively they sell themselves, the resume still tells the real story. Be sure to review it prior to the interview and prepare a list of follow-up questions for anything that raises a red flag (e.g., lapses in employment, shuffling of jobs, whether the candidate simply lists responsibilities, instead of accomplishments, awards and accolades). Try to verify as many facts as possible to ensure the candidate is on the level.
- Check for any online presence. The world is a fishbowl these days, and recruiters need to use that to their advantage. Before hiring someone, it may be helpful to do an search online to see if he or she has a personal website or blog. It may tell you a lot about the person’s interests and work ethic. Social networking profiles may be able to tell you a lot candidates aren’t willing to share during an interview. Candidates who have a strong online presence can be a major plus for the company, because it’s a sign they’re internet savvy. As a caveat, don’t immediately dismiss a candidate based on something you found on a social networking profile or blog. Everyone has a personal life outside of work, and those that know how to maintain a healthy balance can actually be a tremendous asset. Plus, the ability to be social is a very valuable skill in the sales world. In fact, having no online presence whatsoever may be a red flag in and of itself.
- Put as much weight on their questions as you do your own. It’s a very stiff job market out there, and employers can generally tell a lot about how a candidate approaches the opportunity based on the questions he of she asks. Asking no questions may signify a lack of interest (unless you’ve answered all their questions during the course of the interview). As a general rule, the questions candidates walk into the interview with (or jot down during the process) provide a strong window into why they’re applying for the job (and what they hope to get out of it).
- Request specific references. Obviously, it’s smart to talk to a candidate’s past employers or supervisors to find out about past work history and whether or not the employee left on good terms. But you may also want to request one reference from an organization or activity the candidate pursues on his or her own time. Those types of references can speak to a candidate’s integrity and passion.
- Emphasize the cover letter/e-mail. The days of the boilerplate cover letter are over. If a candidate really wants a position with your company, he or she should be willing to reach for it. That means taking the time to write a job-specific letter that lays out all the reasons why they’d be an ideal fit for your sales team. If the candidate submits a generic “Dear Potential Employer” letter, chances are yours is one of 10 or more letters they’ve sent out that day. While that speaks to aggressiveness, it also may be a sign that they see the position you’re offering as a dime a dozen.
What strategies do you use to find top salespeople? Let us know in the Comments Box below.