Hiring the Right People for Your Sales Department

Ever hired someone who you thought would propel your company to success but slowly realised that they are not a good fit? They probably “wowed” you during the interview, promised many things and when the time to deliver came you realised that they’re not the right person for the job.

Many employers face this problem. They spend so much money on the recruitment and hiring process and get disappointed when a candidate does not match their expectations. Although there is no sure way to ensure a good fit, there are some things to look for that will help you to make the right decision.

Employers need to stop hiring based on gut feel and small talk. You are hiring the person based on their ability to deliver said requirements and the ability to fit in with the company.

Candidates will always put their best foot forward during an interview because they need the job. Your duty is to weed out all the chance takers so that you may be left with the candidates who best fit the role.

Here are general characteristics you should look for when hiring:

  • Honesty
  • Attention to detail
  • Hard working
  • Motivation and passion for life

When it comes to sales, there are even more characteristics that you should look out for. Excelling at sales is a unique skill that not many possess. I would say it is an inborn skill.

Here are distinct characteristics of people who excel at sales:

They are active, not passive

Sales people generally work on commission and if they do receive a basic salary it is usually a small amount. The passionate sales person knows that every action they take should contribute successfully to their income and they work to meet their targets. They don’t wait for the boss to tell them what to do, instead, they approach the boss with ideas and strategies to move the company forward.

You can test this skill during the recruitment process by putting the candidates in a group environment and giving them a task to complete. Observe which candidates take the lead and which only follow.

They are good listeners

Listening is one of the top skills required for a good sales person as they will spend their days listening to their client’s needs. Without this skill, a person can never succeed at sales.

You can test this skill with a listening comprehension test. Allow the candidates to listen to an audio recording once and then give them a list of questions to answer. Those who get the most answers correctly are good listeners.

They are time managers

Salespeople spend most of their time travelling to clients, speaking to clients over the phone and negotiating deals. They have to plan their days accordingly to avoid spending too much time on fruitless activities. Things like calculating the shortest route and sales negotiation techniques can help them to sell faster and therefore make more money. A good sales person knows that.

You can test this skill during the interview process by simulating a real life scenario and allowing the candidate to explain what he or she would do in that scenario.

They are curious

A good sales person asks a lot of questions to better understand his or her clients. They want to know what makes their clients tick. They understand that until they get into the mind of the client they will not be able to service them properly.

You can test this skill by observing which candidates ask questions during the sessions and which could not be bothered.

They are independent

Since most sales people work with limited supervision, they need to have the ability to manage their own work and perform their tasks independently. The employer doesn’t have to spoon feed them and make sure they are doing their job. They take up their work with great responsibility and put their own structures in place to achieve their goals.

You can test this skill during the recruitment process by putting the candidates in a group environment and giving them a task to complete. Observe which candidates require a lot of support and which are comfortable to take on the task independently.

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