Seven Clues the Sales Candidate You Want to Hire Isn’t That Into You

There is a saying, “Hope makes a good breakfast, but a poor supper.” When it comes to employing candidates for your sales team, rejection is part of the hiring game. This is normal, especially in good job markets where great salespeople are in short supply. The real problem occurs not when the job offer is turned down, but in the belief that the candidate will accept. Clues of turndowns are present if you watch for them, but you have to be willing to look for signs you may not want to see.

Seven signs you’re offer is going to get turned down…..

1. Slow to respond

When you offer applicants two dates to schedule a call, they always push the call out, or pick the date furthest away.  When you call or email to set up a meeting, they don’t get back to you right away. Radio silence, days of no response, calling at times you’re likely to be unavailable becomes a predictable pattern. Candidates will always have a good reason why it takes so long to get back to you, but most of the time, you aren’t the employer of choice.

2. Lots to think about

When sales candidates are highly interested in your job opportunity, they don’t have much to think about. Sure, they need facts like compensation targets, territory basics, sales cycles, etc... But they’re often satisfied with approximations. Salespeople are decision makers. They know if they want to sell for you or not. This is what makes them good at what they do.

3. Difficult to reach references  

Sales applicants notify references before they hand them off to potential employers. If you can’t get a hold of a reference, it could be because the candidate is trying to buy time. He may have notified his references and asked them to hold off on returning your calls.

4. Forgotten follow up skills

Today’s top salesperson knows follow up is everything. When they don’t send you a thank you email after an interview, when they don’t bother to follow up, it’s as a sign of disinterest.

5. Need more time without negotiation

When a buyer is interested, they accept your proposal, or they come back to you with questions. Candidates are the same.  They don’t sit on offers in silence. Keep in mind, negotiation isn’t an automatic buy sign, but asking for more time to consider an offer without asking any questions puts your offer on the road to turndown.

6. Competition without letting you know you’re #1

Great sales candidates have plenty of choices.  They keep their options open, but always let you know your job is the one they want. If you don’t hear them saying you’re the number one choice, nine times out of ten, you’re not.

7. Behavior doesn’t match talk

Words are easy to believe when you have a stake in believing them. It’s best to stay laser focused on candidate behavior. During the interview process, if a candidate says he wants to work for you, and loves the company, but is always too busy to take your phone calls, something’s wrong.  

The trick to good recruiting is never being surprised. Getting rock-star sales candidates on your team can be difficult. It’s important to know candidate interest levels so you can accurately manage the sales talent pipeline.

If you continue to expend time and energy on sales candidates who turn you down, building your team will be unnecessarily difficult. Once you’re able to recognize the behavioral signs of a turndown, you’ll be less disappointed, more willing to move forward quickly with interested applicants, and able to invest time with candidates who want to be part of your growing sales team.

Wasting time with the wrong person is just time wasted.
— Greg Behrendt