15 Mistakes Sales Managers Make When Hiring New Sales Reps
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15 Mistakes Sales Managers Make When Hiring New Sales Reps
by: Kelley Robertson
Let's face it. Hiring a new sales rep is less than a perfect art or science.
And many sales people simply don't work out or perform as expected. This is
largely due to the fact that many sales managers make a variety of mistakes when
hiring sales reps. Here are 15 of the most common mistakes sales managers make
when hiring new sales reps.
- They conduct low quality interviews. Most sales managers have never
learned how to conduct a high- quality interview. This isn't their fault; it's
just that most companies do not teach managers how to conduct great interviews.
- They fail to ask tough, probing questions. Most hiring managers ask
questions about work history, experience, and general performance. However, they
neglect to ask questions about gaps in a candidate's resume and they are
uncomfortable asking probing questions about previous performance and that
challenge a potential candidate.
- They get mislead by candidates who interview well. Many sales people have
a tremendous ability to "smooze" and make a great first impression. This often
leads to the sales manager to feel good about a particular candidate. However,
just because you like someone does not mean they will perform well once they are
- They rely on instinct or gut feel. Many a sales manager has hired a rep
that made a great impression (see the previous point). This is often caused
because the candidate had a similar personality style to the hiring manager and
was able to connect with that individual. However, once hired, the rep does not
perform to standard.
- They do not check references. Checking references is not an enjoyable task
especially when you have a multitude of other tasks demanding your attention.
Connecting with previous employers is a challenge and many managers don't want
to appear skeptical so they neglect this step in the recruiting process. Or,
they delegate the reference check to an assistant who is not fully versed in the
questions they need to ask to gain a better understanding of the candidate's
previous work performance.
- They do not consider the type of sales person they need for their specific
sales environment. Different sales environments require different skills sets.
For example, if a business requires a sales rep to make dozens of cold calls but
they hire a someone who is not proficient at this, that rep's results will be
less than satisfactory.
- They do not make use of hiring tools such as assessments. Assessments can
help sales managers identify several things. The first is the type of sales
environment the rep will be required to work in. Second, the aptitude the rep
has for selling. And third, the potential shortcoming and possible problems a
candidate may experience in the particular position.
- They don't ask candidates exactly how they will achieve results. Once
again, this requires that you ask probing questions to determine exactly how the
potential employee will generate the sales that you require.
- They talk too much during the interview. Conducting an interview means
giving the applicant sufficient air time. Too many managers talk about the
company and their goals instead of asking questions and allowing the rep to
talk. The general rule of thumb is to make sure that the candidate talks at
least 70 percent of the time.
- They don't properly prepare for the interview. Because sales managers are
extremely busy they often ask their assistant to schedule interviews and only
look at the resume once the candidate is in their office. Proper preparation
means reviewing the candidate's resume beforehand, identifying possible gaps and
determining key questions that must be asked.
- They hire to "fill a gap". It is not uncommon for sales managers to race
through the recruiting process in an effort to quickly hire someone because they
need a rep in place. After all, hiring reps is seldom a task that managers
enjoy. In these situations, managers focus on the positive aspects of the
applicant and neglect to see their possible shortcomings. This often leads to
"hiring remorse" once they discover that the rep is not entirely suitable.
- They allow interruptions during the interview. Sales managers have dozens
of tasks and projects on their plate at any given time and often allow other
staff including their assistant to interrupt them during an interview. Effective
interviews must be conducted without distractions and interruptions.
- They only interview people who have industry experience. Unless your
industry is highly technical, you should consider people who do not have
experience in your industry. Many people are fully capable of performing well in
a new industry providing they are suitable fit to your particular sales
environment. Industry experience brings baggage and preconceived idea.
Candidates who do not have industry experience often bring a new perspective to
the sales role.
- They do not get second opinions. Interviewing a sales rep requires more
than one perspective. Effective sales managers get other people in the company
involved in the interviewing process and they compile all of the feedback before
making a hiring decision.
- They fail to seek clarification. I have witnessed dozens of interviews
and noticed that many sales managers take a candidate's comments at face value
instead of clarifying vague comments. If in doubt, check it out.
Avoid these mistakes and improve your chances of hiring a top performing
sales rep instead of someone who fails to reach their targets.
© 2010 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.
Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales
professionals and businesses discover new techniques to improve their sales and
profits. Receive a FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing
to his free newsletter available at
www.kelleyrobertson.com. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at
sales meetings and conferences. For information on his programs contact him at
Contributor: Kelley Robertson
Published here on: 30-May-10