There is a process for hiring better sales people. If you are not getting the people that you want, then you should be looking at your process. Think of working with the process like you would work on a jigsaw puzzle. Break it apart, put all the pieces in a bag, shake the bag, pour the pieces out onto the table and start over again!
This is Part III of the process - Screening.
There are 2 parts to the STAR (Sales Talent Acquistion Routine) screening step:
1. Phone interview
2. Pre-hire sales assessment
Let's talk about the phone interview.
An important thing to consider when hiring better sales people is how much time they will need to spend on the phone either prospecting or selling. How important are phone skills to their success? If effective phone skills are critical for success, then evaluating his or her ability on the phone should be part of your screening process.
Regardless of how you meet a potential sales candidate (resume, referral, networking event, etc.), the first "formal" step in your process should be a phone interview. If you receive an interesting resume, pass it along to the the person running your recruiting process (Hint: This should NOT be you!). This recruiting coordinator would then contact the potential candidate, let them know the first step is a phone interview, offer possible time slots, and then schedule the interview. If you meet or are introduced to a candidate, give their information to your recruiting coordinator and again follow the process.
Another hint: Make the process consistent by conducting phone interviews on a regular schedule, the same day the same week (e.g. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 12:00).
Conducting the Interview.
Consider the challenges your sales people regularly face when making phone calls and create the same environment for your candidate. If your sales people have to get past gatekeepers, make the candidates get past your gatekeeper. The best way to do this is for you to email candidates after the phone interviews have been scheduled and instruct them to contact you as if it were a regular sales call. You don't care what they select to "sell"; the main objective is to get past your gatekeeper. Obviously, you direct your gatekeeper to make it somewhat difficult, but to eventually let them through. After each phone interview, you can get feedback from your gatekeeper about the candidate's approach.
Once you begin the phone interview, treat them as if they are a regular sales person trying to sell you something. Be brief, abrupt, ask questions, challenge them on their statements and make them defend themselves/sell you on why they should be considered for a face-to-face interview.
Here are the 3 Major Keys to determine if they get to the next step:
1. Did they attempt to control the interview?
2. Did they ask you questions?
3. Did they "close you" for the interview?
What you should be listening for:
1. They took control of the interview by attempting to slow the interview down and establish rapport. They didn't get flustered with your questions or demeanor, but rather took things in stride and had a conversation with you rather than just answering your questions.
2. They asked questions about what you are looking for, what it would take to be successful, what it would take to get to the next step, and what they would have to say to convince you that they are qualified. Don't get too hung up on the exact questions; just the fact that they would ask you questions gives you an idea that they would do the same if they were calling prospects. (Like they are supposed to)
3. When you are finishing the interview, tell them the next step and let them know that, if they qualify, someone will get in touch with them to schedule an interview. In other words, you are telling the candidate that you want to think it over - just like a prospect might do. If they won't try to "close you", then they won't attempt to close a prospect either.
Next: The Pre-Hire Assessment - Using the "World's Best" Sales Candidate Pre-Hire Assessment!
More information about STAR
Best Practices From MONSTER
Pre - Hire Sample Document / Register for FREE Candidate Assessment