Three Steps to Winning Over Skeptical Sales Candidates

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

Three Tips for Addressing Skeptical Sales Candidates

With everyone promising high-growth, big OTEs, and amazing products, it can be hard to compete for top sales talent. Many of today’s sales candidate have been promised the moon a few times, only to become a bit more skeptical with each job move. A CEB study in 2014 concluded that 65% of Millennials are more skeptical of employer claims than they were in 2011.

How do you win the hearts and minds of the top 10%?

Step #1: Refuse to Ignore the Negatives

Perfect candidates and perfect jobs don't exist. Discussing potential job or company negatives won’t cost you top candidates, if you handle the conversation appropriately and manage expectations. Talented professionals realize that every company has problems, missed targets, and cultural peccadillos. It’s when you promise things that never happen, ignore large problems, or exaggerate income potential that you start to lose integrity with potential hires.

Step #2: Address Both Goals and Goal Obtainment

If you are referencing OTE’s to candidates,  point out the % of people on your team making their numbers. Discuss the winning characteristics that will be needed to achieve OTE success at your company. If it’s been historically difficult to achieve stated OTEs, don’t shy away from addressing the facts.

You can outline ways candidates can meet OTEs and the level of dedication and commitment needed to hit them. If you have the right candidate, they may be intrigued by the challenge. If you have the wrong candidate, you’ll both quickly move on.

Step #3: Set Realistic Job Expectations

A survey by Glassdoor finds 61% of employees find job reality very different from interview discussions. It’s natural to want to discuss all the positives of a role, but it’s imperative that you bring issues to light during the interview process. New employees find it easier to work through on the job challenges when they face known problems and obstacles. It’s when they are surprised that they move further up the ladder of employer skepticism.

Tempered Optimism

If you’re a hiring manager, you’re probably optimistic. This attitude is necessary for any sales professional. But you may need to balance this optimism by taking some time to outline your company’s top three drawbacks.

Proactively address these obstacles upfront during the interview process, and you’ll be surprised how well this works in your favor. The top 10% of any sales team already instinctively knows there is no such thing as a perfect company. Discussing challenges early in the interview process will help you hire and retain the talent you need to succeed.