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10 Sales Recruiting Mistakes That Are Costing You Outstanding Sales Hires

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10 Sales Recruiting Mistakes That Are Costing You Outstanding Sales Hires


Avoid These 10 Sales Recruiting Mistakes


Are you having trouble recruiting top sales talent in this market?

Like most of our clients, you’re trying to recruit salespeople for your team and noticing how tight the job market is for sales talent. I’d venture to say we’ll all look back on today’s market and remember it as a time of great opportunity. 

Recent staffing surveys show that 1 out of 3 employees are looking for a new job, and from a recruiter’s perspective, there’s never been a more advantageous time to upgrade your sales team.

With the whirlwind of new hires starting and employees resigning, everyone is busy managing the cyclone of onboarding paperwork, exit interviews, new hire training, and interviews.

Getting Your Sales Recruiting Right

In the meantime, exceptional salespeople are choosing to upgrade their jobs and go to work for companies that have a healthy sales culture, are responsive during the interview process, and provide aggressive compensation packages.

There’s never been a better time to upgrade your sales team. 

Seize this opportunity and avoid making the costly mistakes we’ve seen other companies make in this market. Do whatever’s necessary to get your recruiting system right. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on one of the most significant opportunities we’ll see in the next five years to hire top sales talent.

Are You Making These 10 Expensive Recruiting Mistakes?

Sales Recruiting Mistake #1: Molasses is for Gingerbread, Not Interview Cycles

 Save the molasses for the gingerbread cookies. 

Strong recruiters know that decisions about moving a candidate on to the next steps shouldn’t take longer than two days. At times, we all struggle with making decisions. Although you’ve heard the comparison ad nauseam, the interview process is analogous to dating. 

If you go on a first date, and ten days pass before you hear from the person again, you’re not as apt to book the second date.

Perhaps you’ve moved on to someone else who showed more interest! When interviewing sales talent, it’s essential to make a decision. And then communicate that decision to the person you’re interviewing. Set some basic interview ground rules. One excellent rule of thumb we’ve seen successful companies use is to decide on a candidate in 48 hours or less. 

Decisiveness helps avoid sales hiring missteps and keeps candidates engaged and informed on where they stand. 

In addition, making decisions keeps the process moving for the talent you’re interested in potentially hiring.

Sales Recruiting Mistake #2: You Think You’re in the Software Business

Given you’re in the tech space, you are used to leaning on your company’s technical advantages. 

After all, this is why your company exists—to get your software out into the world and make your clients’ lives easier. No doubt, today’s sales hiring managers are pressed for time. So avoid simple sales talent building mistakes–even when you have a thousand things to do! Investing a little time and effort into people who aren’t working for you can seem like a frivolous time waster. 

But when it comes down to accepting your offer over another one (Yes, my friends, there will be another offer.), the connection between people always wins.

Maybe you’ve been sitting in your basement during COVID, bonding with your computer and your dog, but you do remember how to connect. Right?

Get to The Person

So, answer me this. What did you learn about the potential new hire you just interviewed?

What can you tell me about them? Or were you sitting on the interview call thinking about how you will get your kids to practice on time? Or even worse, were you driving, or maybe even eating your lunch? Don’t take an assumptive approach that interviewees are endlessly interested in working for you because your company is soooooooo unicorn-awesome.

Did we mention there will be another offer?

man smiling at desk

Sales Recruiting Mistake #3: Rescheduled Interviews are Costing You Money

We had a client come to a Zoom interview at least 10 minutes late. It could have been longer, but the candidate dropped off at the 10-minute mark.

And our candidate didn’t reschedule the interview. So it’s ok, don’t worry. We placed him somewhere else. But why didn’t he reschedule? Doesn’t he need a job? 

Answer: NO! The candidate was currently working and wasn’t looking for a job. Instead, he was looking for an environment where he could learn and grow professionally.

Running Late? 

After blocking out time in his day for a video call and staring at an empty screen for 10 minutes with zero communication from the hiring manager, he left and never looked back. 

(How about trying a quick email, “Sorry I’m late. I need to reschedule. Sorry for the last-minute notice.”) From the point of view of top sales professionals, they don’t need another decent job. They need an outstanding opportunity.

They already have an excellent job at a good company with a funnel full of leads and deals in the works. 

So don’t let a hectic schedule cost you your dream sales team. As a rule, most companies aren’t rescheduling interviews for candidates who no show. And top sales talent isn’t rescheduling interviews for companies that no show either.

Hopefully, this doesn’t surprise you.

Four chairs and blue background.

Sales Recruiting Mistake #4: Poor Communication Kills the Vibe

Here’s the reality, driven salespeople with a track record of success have plenty of choices when it comes to where they work.

They can work where they want, when they want –in any job market. Consider this, for every top salesperson on a team, there are at least 3+ roles they could quickly get an offer for. So don’t make this easy to avoid sales team building slip-ups. If you can’t communicate why someone should take your job and work for you, they will work for someone else.

No matter how great you think your company is, never let arrogance creep in and start believing your job will sell itself. It won’t. Arrogance has killed many a unicorn, don’t let it kill yours.

When you don’t get back to the talent, or let them know where they are in the interview process, they lose interest and move on to other opportunites. 

When you stay in communication with candidates it helps you deepen the relationship, keep the process moving forward, and shows you’re interested in the candidate.

Sales Recruiting Mistake #5: Lackluster Offers Bomb

Suppose you want to offer the same money for the same job for average sales performers, fine. 

Hopefully, it works out. 

But to be frank, you’ll need to pay a little more if you’re after the top 25%. You’ll need to $ell the opportunity a little better. And you’ll need to run a smooth interview process that demonstrates to Mr./Ms. Top Seller that you have your sh** together. You have less room for error when you are pursuing talent with considerable options and the ability to win new clients at will.

Sales Recruiting Mistake #6: Failure to Unlock Your Own Greatness

It can be hard to describe your company’s key distinguishing factors.

Other times, it’s hard to describe them without sounding like every other SaaS company that claims all you have to do is jump on the rocket ship and hang on. 

But when the final decisions are made, people work with people they like, know, and trust. All the logical reasoning that’s given is a bunch of noise. So, what are you doing in your interview process to demonstrate these qualities?

interview funnel

Sales Recruiting Mistake #7: Lack of Teamwork is Unattractive

Top salespeople want to join a winning team.

They know greatness doesn’t exist in isolation, and no one closes big deals alone. But, believe it or not, one person can jeopardize the company’s ability to attract top talent. Don’t lose good candidates because of poor teamwork. 

This kind of blunder is avoidable! We know one highly desirable company that couldn’t fill a role despite its great brand and significant dominance in the SaaS market. 

This role they were recruiting for remained vacant for over 12 months. 

Identify Weak Links

Come to find out; the interview process fell flat after the first meeting with the hiring manager—every single time.

The hiring manager robotically interviewed candidates. She left candidates feeling uncomfortable working for her. When candidates asked her questions, she’d give one-word answers. This awkward interview behavior didn’t happen once or twice, but every single time and with every candidate.

Do you have someone on your team costing your company great talent? 

Find out their knowledge deficiencies and get them interview skills training. Anyone can learn these skills!

Stopwatches with wings at 1:57 flying through the air with puffy clouds and bright blue sky. 

Sales Recruiting Mistake #8: Zero Sense of Urgency Blows Your Offer

Suppose you went on a date and didn’t hear back from Mr/Mrs. Great, you’d move on with your life and start dating someone else.

But, as in dating, candidates’ interest grows cold over time when communication stalls. Many sales hiring snafus can be avoided by increasing both the quality and quantity of communication with sales talent.

When you go more than a week without connecting with a candidate, don’t expect them to be waiting by the phone. The less urgency you demonstrate the more unattractive your offer becomes. 

Sales Recruiting Mistake #9: Weak Offers aren’t the Right Strategy for A-Players

We’ve had clients offer candidates what they felt was a good offer, referencing internal equity and years of experience as reasons for the compensation numbers. 

However, the cold hard truth is the jobl market doesn’t care about internal equity nor your thoughts about years of experience. If your “internal equity” is far from the market, it tells candidates that staying with your company for the long term is not a financially wise decision.

Out here, in the “job market,” we’ve come across several very “inexperienced” salespeople who have made more money in one year (because they are top 10% sales material) than five experienced 20+ years of experience veterans put together. 

Therefore, overly focusing on years of experience for sales roles can be an expensive talent acquisition mistake.

After all, sales is all about results. A high-achieving salesperson’s unique ability to make more commissions than their peers comes down to their internal commitment to be the best. And years of experience have never dictated one’s commitment.

sign join our team with yellow background

Sales Recruiting Mistake #10: Interview Blunders Quickly Kill Candidate Interest

Unfortunately, sales recruiting mistakes are costly. Flubbing up parts of the interview process can not only cost you an excellent new hire, but potential new clients, and gobbs of wasted time. 

Avoid showing up to meetings late. Instead, try asking more questions and get the candidate talking. Listening helps interviewers find ways to make more connections. When you don’t prioritize the recruiting process –you’ll sabotage your ability to get talent in the seat.

It’s a competitive job market for sales talent. 

You probably have seen people leaving your own company during this time. So now’s the time to treat your interview process with the same attention you do the sales cycle.

You won’t regret it. 

Just imagine the kind of team you’d have if everyone worked together to bring the best and brightest on board. Make that vision a reality by doing your part.

By Sonja Hastings

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