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The 9 Do’s of Better Hiring: An Alternate Perspective to LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions 9 Mistakes

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 05, 2023

I would like to provide you with an alternate perspective to LinkedIn's article- a list of 9 Do’s you can use when looking for and hiring new talent. Because we specialize in helping companies Sell Better, Coach Better, and Hire Better, my comments will focus specifically on sales but understand that these principles will apply for most hires in your company.  

Linkedin Talent Solutions wrote this article focusing on the mistakes or “don'ts” of hiring talent. The Linkedin Talent Solutions 9 mistakes include:

  1. Your hiring team’s roles aren’t clearly defined
  2. Your job post isn’t clear or compelling enough
  3. You’re not targeting your job post to the right audience
  4. You’re not tapping into your personal LinkedIn network
  5. You’re not revealing what makes your company unique
  6. You ignored red flags during the interviews – the first interview should be based on what they must be great at
  7. You’re not getting to know the candidate
  8. Your evaluation criteria is unclear
  9. You don’t close the loop with all applicants

We have a Hire Better Salespeople program that helps our clients who are working to upgrade their sales teams. We train our clients on how to identify, and understand the importance of, people who are strong in the following areas:

  • Hunting for new opportunities
  • Relationship building
  • Consultative selling
  • Selling value
  • Qualifying
  • Presenting
  • Closing
  • Following a consistent sales process
  • Managing accounts
  • Farming opportunities  

Using the LinkedIn article as a guide, I would like to provide you with an alternate perspective- a list of 9 Do’s you can use when looking for and hiring new talent. Because we specialize in helping companies Sell Better, Coach Better, and Hire Better, my comments will focus specifically on sales but understand that these principles will apply for most hires in your company.  

1. Most companies don’t have a “hiring team”. They have people who, when the moment occurs, participate in some aspect of the hiring process. With that as the most common model, what we strongly suggest you do is:
  • Make sure the same people execute the same role, every time.
  • Make sure the people you assign have the skills required for that role. For example, your interviewer must be willing to ask challenging questions, be able to disqualify candidates, have a great deal of healthy skepticism, etc.
2. Your job post is probably a job description. That is the fundamental flaw. It ties very closely to #5 – revealing what makes your company unique. If you are attempting to position your company as unique in the marketplace, then start with what we call the “job attraction post”. The job attraction post will be compelling if:

  • It works to disqualify candidates.
  • Instead of selling the position, it states what the candidate is required to SUCCEED at rather than have experience doing (You will get people with the experience, but they probably have a failing experience). Have a list of “must haves”- must demonstrate the ability to, has a proven track record of, etc.
  • In the case of salespeople, we would write the following in the job attraction post; “Must have a strong desire and commitment to be highly successful in selling in a very competitive market, selling high quality, high priced, non-tangible business solutions to prospects that are price-focused, difficult to get in front of, and tend to “shop around.” You must be very comfortable working in an environment where you are expected to manage yourself to success, undergo high pressure to hit goals and be coached by your manager to improve skills and change behaviors. During the interview, you will be expected to roleplay your outreach phone call and initial qualifying conversation with a prospect that already has a great relationship with the incumbent.

3. Target your job attraction post to people that have success selling in verticals that you sell to or have great relationships in your market EVEN if they haven’t sold your product in the past.

4. Simply put, it makes sense to reach out to people you know. But make sure they know what you are looking for.

5. Make sure you look at other job postings in your space and commit yourself to writing something that would cause you (if you were a candidate looking for a TRANSFORMATIONAL career change) to think or say: “wow, now that’s a challenge, that’s something I need to investigate.” NOTE: Also, make sure your job attraction post scares off candidates just looking for a bigger payday or an opportunity to negotiate against their current employer. See #9.

6. To help you with RED flags, identify in advance what the candidate must be able to demonstrate they can do. For example:

  • If they have to be great on the phone, your first interview step MUST be a phone interview.
  • If they must be able to close on the phone, make sure they close for the next step during the phone interview.
  • If you expect them to establish bonding and rapport on the first call, make them do that when they walk into the room for your first face-to-face interview. Make them do the hard work.
  • If they must be great at asking questions, take note of the number and quality of questions they ask during the interview process (other than ones about compensation, vacation, CRM, benefits, etc).

It is also critical to identify in advance what you want to hear from your candidate:  

  • I have 30 new appointments a month. I’m passionate about success in sales because I have huge dreams and goals for myself and my… which require a lot of money.
  • When I fail, it’s because of something I didn’t do.
  • I make sure that I know the budget the prospect has before I ever present a solution.
    I call on nothing but CEOs and Presidents.

Next, write down the questions you need to ask to get the answers you are looking for. What you should be looking for (link to sample pre-hire sales evaluation)

  • Will to sell
  • Sales DNA
  • Sales competencies


7. Getting to know the real candidate can be misinterpreted as having a personal discussion with them to find out how likable they are. Too often candidates proceed through the interview process because interviewers “liked them”. Being likable is helpful but not as critical as willingness and ability to:

  • Hunt for new business
  • Qualify prospects by asking enough, and the right, questions
  • Ability to call at the decision-making level
  • Close for the next step
8. Have clear evaluation criteria based on what the candidate must be able to prove they’ve done, what skills they must demonstrate, and how they handle difficult, challenging questions. The best way to do this is to create a scorecard that everyone must complete when interviewing candidates. In addition, use a pre-hire evaluation tool to give you insight into items you can’t see or hear in the interview. I.e.: problems discussing money, uncomfortable making quick decisions, would rather be liked than get the business, etc.

9. “Closing the loop” in our world means making sure the candidate is always closing for the next step. Make sure you completely define your decision-making process (like the one below) and gain an agreement to that process:

  1. Identify the candidate's compelling reason for looking at your opportunity.
  2. What are the monetary, and contractual considerations that have to be met?
  3. Deal with competition: Current employer, other opportunities they are considering, etc.
  4. Present everything there is to know about the opportunity and make sure that it is a career change the candidate would make if the monetary and contractual considerations were met
  5. Allow them to think it over before making your offer
  6. Make an offer that meets their criteria
  7. Ask them to decide once the offer is made

If you would like to attend a zoom meeting webinar to learn more about Hiring Better reply to this post, or email Alex Cole-Murphy, our Hiring Manager, at


Copy of Copy of White and Blue Did You Know Interesting Fact Instagram Post-1


Topics: hiring, relationship selling, Sales Management Training

How Do I Hire a Sales All-Star?

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Jun 17, 2019

Hiring an elite salesperson is tough work.  It's not easy to find a sales all-star and it's even harder to keep them on board if you do hire them.  

In this article, we provide 8 reasons why hiring elite salespeople is difficult and the exact steps needed to hire them in your organization.


8 Reasons Why Hiring Elite Salespeople is Difficult:

  1. It's hard to find qualified candidates - only 7% of salespeople fall into the “elite” category (What elite sales people do differently)
  2. You have other responsibilities
  3. If things are “okay”, you don’t look for someone… until you have an opening and then you feel desperate to fill the seat
  4. Elite sales professionals – those with excellent sales skills – often are not actively looking for new jobs
  5. The resumes all look the same
  6. Personality and behavioral tests tell you how they like to be managed but don’t have any predictive validity for sales success
  7. Your HR (talent-acquisition partners) really don’t understand why hiring salespeople is different than hiring anyone else for a company
  8. It’s not your go-to skill set.

how to hire top salespeople

Step 1: Make sure you know and identify exactly what sales skills make your elite salespeople ELITE salespeople. 

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We just completed a Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA) for the private banking segment of a regional bank.  This is what we know separates the top performers from the bottom performers:

Distinguishing skills and sales traits of top performers

  • Hunter
  • Possess over 50% of required sales skills
  • Strong at getting introductions
  • Get past gate keepers
  • Maintain a full pipeline (convert activity – prospecting – into opportunities)
  • Reach decision makers
  • Develop trust and confidence early in the relationship
  • Present product proposal at the appropriate time
  • Keep prospects from buying too early in the process
  • Not reliant on ‘”educating” the prospect or presenting to get the business
  • Love competing against others

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We evaluate over 125 different data points when using a pre-hire sales skills inventory assessment and what we have found over the years is that there are usually between 20 and 30 variables that separate the best from the rest. THIS is the first step in making sure you are interviewing candidates with sales skills needed to succeed in your organization.


Step 2:  Interview for fundamental skillsOnce you’ve received an application or some notice of interest in your available career opportunity, you send the candidate a notice letting them know you’ve received their information and that, in order to move forward in the process, two steps will take place:

  1. They will be asked to complete the online sales skills inventory assessment.
  2. If the assessment findings indicate that their sales skills match what you are looking for, then a 10-minute phone interview will take place.


Why The Phone Interview

At Hire Better Sales People (White Paper), this is the beginning of Step #2.  In the 23 years of our sales consulting practice, I cannot recall a single client where phone skills were NOT critical to the success of the salespeople being hired.  With that in mind, it stands to reason that the first thing you should look/screen for are their phone skills.  Most of the time, our clients outsource that to us. The reasons for that are:

  • Consistency
  • Lack of a bias towards any candidate

In the phone interview, you want to make sure that this person can conduct themselves on the phone like you would expect them to when talking to prospects.  In order to do that, you must create a similar environment that the candidate will have to react to: 

  • No bonding and rapport done by the interviewer
  • Create time pressure so that they have to react and attempt to take control of the phone call
  • Challenge them on their answers to questions (certainly, prospects will ask them questions on the phone – wouldn’t you want to know how well they react as well as what they say?)
  • Let them know that you will be making a decision about who will go on to the interview step and see if the candidate attempts to “close” for that opportunity. If they fail to close for the next step, they will probably fail to close a prospect for an appointment.


Step #3 – Use the data from the resume, the application and the pre-hire skills assessment.

Top salespeople hunt for opportunities, reach decision makers, quickly establish confidence and trust, love to compete against others, have strong desire and commitment to success in selling, take responsibility for outcomes, are highly motivated for success in sales, and have a high figure-it-out factor.  Here’s some ideas for assessing these traits in potential candidates:

  • Make the candidate bring their calendar for the next 30 days and make them count the number of new business appointments they have scheduled
  • Make them establish the bonding and rapport. Tell them to take a seat, tell them that you’ve scheduled 60 minutes, but it may only take 30, and see what they do next.  If bonding, rapport, confidence and trust are important, see what your candidates do to make that happen.
  • Ask about competitions they have won
  • Tell them to describe in detail situations where they did everything possible to succeed at something especially when they had to change, overcome a difficult challenge and they overcame despite terrific odds.
  • Ask them to tell you about a situation when they faced failure at accomplishing something personally or professionally. (Hint – they need to say “I failed…”)
  • Give them a test of any kind and see how long it takes for them to figure it out or…
  • Create a role-play scenario out of thin air, give them a couple of minutes to figure out how they want to go about the role -play and then role play.

There is certainly no guarantee for any new hire.  You still have to consider cultural and team fit.  Is there synergy between the new hire and the hiring manager?  How about their technical and professional credentials? 

We’re just talking about sales skills here, but, to be clear, it’s rare that someone fails to succeed in selling because they lacked the required technical or professional expertise for the field they were in.  Nope… people normally fail because they fail to generate sales!

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Topics: hiring, hiring better, hiring salespeople, find salespeople, hiring top salespeople


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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