Six Biggest Hiring Mistakes

By November 28, 2016Sales Recruiting

In consulting with clients over many years, we have found that some mistakes keep repeating themselves when trying to hire the top sales talent.

It makes no difference whether a company is hiring a salesperson to sell products or sophisticated ERP software, the sales recruiting mistakes are always the same.

Sales has the highest turnover rate in any industry – over 20% annually. Hiring mistakes are critical in sales recruiting…causing lost sales, lost training time, lost wages, and turnover that destroys company morale. Here are sales recruiting mistakes you should eliminate…

Mistake #1

Too Much Emphasis Placed on a Salesperson’s Industry Experience

Just because a salesperson has specific industry sales experience, does not mean it’s good industry experience. Often these people bring bad habits to the table, which are very difficult or impossible to change.

The best indicator of top sales talent is based upon the individual – their habits, attitudes and skills – not specific areas of product knowledge. The old cliché holds true, “It’s easier to teach a salesperson what to sell, than how to sell.”

Ego drive and empathy (not industry experience) are the true drivers of sales achievement and success.

Mistake #2

Hiring a Salesperson’s “Good Personality”

Being a “good actor or actress” does not necessarily translate into being a good salesperson. It has been proven that the sales recruitment decisions based upon the interviewing process (we “like” the candidate) are only 14% accurate and reliable.

Mistake #3

Hiring a Salesperson Who Can Bring a “Book of Business” with Them

Sometimes this is a “smoke screen” that salespeople use to receive a job offer, but often the “book of business” never comes. Employers try to hire the “book of business” salesperson as a quick fix solution to increase sales rapidly. When this does not happen, the quick fix solution drastically affects long term growth.

Thomas Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, stated that the spirit and drive to achieve is far more important than all other resources combined.

Mistake #4

Not Focusing On a Sales Candidate’s Habits, Attitudes and Skills

In an extensive study conducted by Harvard that measured the careers of 4,375 people, it was found that one-third failed because of a lack of knowledge or skills. But a staggering two-thirds failed because of attitude problems.
In a Caliper Survey, published in The Wall Street Journal, over 1000 executives replied that they really wanted to know only three things when they made a hiring decision, including hiring top sales talent:

  • Can they solve problems? (every sale truly is a solution to a problem)
  • Will they get things done? (motivated to reach their monthly sales goals)
  • Are they versatile? (can they sell and service)

Mistake #5

No Defined Sales Training Program

Because companies are hiring “proven sales industry” salespeople, they believe it is not necessary to provide a proven sales training course. This is similar to recruiting athletes without practicing and providing specific plays to win the games.

Mistake #6

Not Using Sales Talent Assessments

A sales assessment tool that measures true sales ability should be used before a salesperson is hired. A study conducted by John Hunter, Ph.D. at Michigan State University found that the personal interviewing process is only 14% accurate in predicting a successful hire. However, when assessment tools, such as job profiling for sales talent, are used the accuracy increases to 75% (an increase of over 500%).