sales hiring process

Why Your Sales Hiring Process Sucks (And How You Can Fix It)

3 Simple Things That Can Kill Your Sales Hiring Pipeline

There are many reasons why hiring salespeople can be a challenge. To start, most salespeople are ineffective. Now, you’re competing with other companies for the same sales reps. The Great Resignation means fewer people are actively looking for work. The Zoomers all want to be freelancers…finding the right people can be a huge time-suck.

Seriously – just think about all the ways it can go wrong! Sometimes it seems like a miracle it ever goes right…

It does NOT have to be that way!

Sales reps are the lifeblood of a company—but hiring them can be a challenge.

In most companies, there’s a constant struggle to keep pace with the number of new applicants along with a constant need to meet their expectations.

We all know that when it comes to sales hiring, sometimes it’s hard to find the right person. It’s especially hard if you’re hiring in a niche or for a specific role (e.g., a sales manager).

But here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a hiring expert.

And even if you are, you don’t have to be the one to do the hiring (we can totally help with that!)

There are a number of different ways you can be sure you’re making the best hiring decisions. In this post, I’ll share three ways you may be messing things up, and what you can do to fix it.

Your sales hiring process doesn’t predict success.

Sales leaders often look for certain types of people when they hire new reps. They have an idea in their head of what it takes to succeed in the company, but it isn’t based on objective reality.

A successful sales recruitment process should help you determine whether or not a candidate will make it with your company before you even hire them. Just because they were successful selling widgets for Acme, Inc. doesn’t mean they can succeed in selling your service or product.

You must determine if a candidate will be a good match for your prospects. Will they work well with your other employees and fit in with with the established work environment?

Evaluate if the processes and company culture you’ve created is a good match for their temperament and vision. Whatever you do, don’t hire someone based on how much you like them or their personality.

When hiring a new salesperson, don’t just look for someone who is strong at sales. Find someone who is willing to learn new things and improve in areas where they may struggle. Also, it goes without saying you should also make sure that you hire someone who is excited and able to sell the products or services you offer.

Anticipate the chance of their future success within your specific organization. Look to the candidate who, objectively, has the highest probability to meet your targets by analyzing what they’ve done in the past.

You don’t ask the right questions.

Most people in a position to hire for sales jobs aren’t asking the right questions to uncover a potential salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses. Instead, they rely on gut instinct and their own biases when it comes to the qualities they are looking for in a potential hire.

You have to determine how to predict if a candidate can sell for your business. If you don’t ask the specific questions that predict whether they will be successful working for your unique company, you risk onboarding the wrong salesperson.

Interview questions are often superficial and story-based. They focus too heavily on the personality of the candidate. What you need to find out is if they’ve been successful in an environment similar to the one you are recruiting for. This lets you get an idea of how they will do selling for you.

Your process qualifies rather than disqualifies candidates.

A mistake we often see is a recruiting process that puts more people in the funnel rather than getting them out.

Start with a large pool of interested applicants. Evaluate them based on the criteria you have identified while keeping in mind your company’s selling environment. At each step of the process, push the wrong people out and eliminate them.

Or better yet, use an assessment tool that does the initial filtering for you! That way, you’re not left with the boring duty of looking at every resume only to find out they’re not the right salesperson for the role.

Your recruiting process should be designed in a way that by the time you get to the last step – you are left with only the best candidates.

A great example is this: You want your new salesperson to focus on prospecting new clients for your business rather than bringing along any current clients they may have.

Asking how they feel about cold calling and prospecting can offer a direct glimpse into their work mindset. You know this tactic is important to your business, and you can eliminate the candidates that don’t match up with your expectations.

Do not confuse your prospect pipeline with your sales team pipeline…if you hire the right people, treat them well, set them up for success, you can avoid the extraordinarily high costs associated with frequently replacing your salespeople.

This isn’t an area you want a constant stream of novelty, trust me.

So what can you do?

The first step of building a successful sales hiring process is to identify the people who will be the best fit for your business as you consider your selling environment.

Here’s how to make sure you’re successful when hiring a sales professional:

  • First, make sure to do some homework. Start with your own business. Fully understand what you want, need, and how you expect your sales team to meet your targets. Examine if your corporate culture sets new hires up for success, and if not, examine ways to change that.
  • Then, focus on the individual candidates. Find out how he or she relates to customers and what skills and experience they bring to the table. Does it match up with what you need?
  • Finally, don’t rush into making a decision. Be careful to evaluate each candidate on his or her own merits. Whatever you do, don’t hire solely based on personality.

To sum it up…

When it comes to hiring for your sales team, know your business and what you truly need so that you can ask the right questions to the right people to get the best fit for your company.

It can seem daunting, but with a bit of support, it’s totally doable and completely worth it!


If you’d like to find out what a highly successful sales team looks like – and how easy it can be to hire them – contact us today to discover how we can get you out of the “churn and burn” hiring (and firing!) cycle.

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