How to Test the DNA of your Sales Candidates

While doing some research recently for another article about recruiting, one of our readers sent in this piece about how they test and evaluate their sales candidates. It’s an interesting look at one company’s recruiting process. Now you can peek inside!

sales recruiting dna

My firm has perfected the process for assessing candidates, especially in particular to sales professions. The process was developed my a business executive with a recruiting background and a former Sales VP of a software company.

The one thing that makes us unique in comparison to other recruiting processes is the psychometric assessments. It’s important to better understand a candidate’s communication style so you can identify how that will fit into the culture of your team and/or be received by the customer’s they are selling into.  Using a behavioral assessment is key to understanding if an individual is naturally “wired” to handle rejection, ask difficult and challenging questions, and be persistent enough to get the job done.

In sales roles (our specialty), individuals are compensated based on revenue generating activities so identifying candidates that are motivated by money and ROI (return on investment) is key.  This is where the Motivators aspect of the assessment we use comes into play.  You may have someone with a hunter personality, but if they’re not motivated to push the bar forward or achieve their goals, they may not be successful in a sales role.  In addition, if you have a candidate with a strong sales track record, but highly values helping others/altruism, you can mitigate risks around them becoming too much of an advocate for the customer by placing parameters around samples, trial periods, and margins.

It’s important to note assessments should be used as part of a complete and structured interview and candidate assessment processes are not valued at more than 20% of your hiring decision.

Our interview techniques test for “DNA“. DNA is certain characteristics that allow people to excel in certain professions. In the case of salespeople, here are the DNA and questions we use to evaluate candidate:

When interviewing account managers we test to see if they posses ‘Sales DNA‘ – the traits common among top performing salespeople:

  • Drive:Skills can be learned but the desire to succeed and the behavior that comes along with it often cannot. Look for a pattern of high accomplishments across all areas of their life, not just work – this will prove that the individual is naturally success driven.

o   Key Question: Ask questions about achievements at work but then transition into other areas such as extracurricular activities including sports and arts.

o   Response to look for: Look to see if they demonstrate that they are goal oriented.

  • Confidence:A top salesperson can show confidence in the interview and can remain confident through any criticism or rejection they may face. Look for how they handled situations of rejection or prospects telling them “no” – a top salesperson would not feel defeated, they would feel invigorated.

o   Key Question: Ask for examples of when they showed extraordinary determination.

o   Response to look for: Look for how rejection or criticism never stopped them for achieving their goals.

  • Competitive fire:This is the fuel that powers top performing salespeople to win business and grow accounts. If they discuss how their co-workers would make a big deal and it would motivate them to stay late or work harder – this is a strong indication of their competitive fire.

o   Key Question: Ask the candidate how they strive to be the best salesperson possible.

o   Response to look for: Look for that extra mile they went to get the job done and come out on top.

  • Sense of Urgency:Time kills deals – if a rep waits to long they can lose an account. The longer wait between phone calls, or meeting clients face-to-face can result in lost revenue.

o   Key Question: Ask the rep for examples of how they used their time to their advantage.

o   Response to look for: Look for if they have a strong understanding how “time is money”. Look for if they know exactly how they split their time prospecting, working the funnel, and closing accounts.

Submitted by Taylor Dumouchel | Sales Hiring Expert | Peak Sales Recruiting

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