It’s typical for hiring managers and recruiters to look for positive attributes in candidates. They want to hire someone for the position and probably need the help sooner rather than later, but to create a successful sales organization, it’s critical to hire the right people. We’ve talked about the cost of a bad sales hire before so that we won’t go down that path again today — but there are huge repercussions for companies who ignore red flags in their hiring process and hope for the best.
While it may not be what you believe is the ideal scenario to turn down candidates and delay the hiring process to find someone who is an excellent fit for the team, it’s what’s best for your organization. You need to be willing and comfortable to say no to someone who may talk the talk during their interviews but likely can’t walk the walk when the rubber hits the road (and quotas need to be hit).
Get comfortable with saying no. It could prevent your next bad sales hire.
Keep reading for a story about one of our clients who learned why saying “yes” too quickly can be extremely costly.
Healthy Skepticism Validates Screening Processes
Before coming to Topaz, a client had tried four times to hire a Sales Manager but had failed each time. All four managers he hired were great throughout the interview process but struggled to deliver on promises they made about their ability to coach others, lead a team, and produce. He decided to try a fifth time — this time by using one of our competitor’s hiring programs. He took it seriously, followed their process to a T, and hired yet another “perfectly qualified” sales manager. In reality, this new hire couldn’t meet expectations (just like the previous four) and was fired within a year.
Their recommendation to our client was to focus on looking for positive qualities in candidates and identify reasons why to move them forward in the hiring process. Sales Manager #5 had years of experience as a sales manager in the industry and a proven track record of success, so he felt he’d found a winner. But when it gets down to brass tacks, he didn’t uncover the most critical things he needed to learn during the hiring process.
Instead of trying to identify whether this individual was capable of leading others, teaching other salespeople to become Buyer Facilitators, or holding their team members accountable, our client was too focused on the wrong things. They ended up with an “experienced” manager who ultimately couldn’t manage a healthy pipeline, generate sales, or grow the company’s bottom line.
Once our client enrolled in our Metahire sales hiring training system, they learned how a process that searches for reasons why a person won’t succeed — and requires healthy skepticism to validate the candidate’s statements — will result in a more comprehensive, robust screening process. We demonstrated that implementing strategic hiring practices can lower your risk and ensure smarter hiring decisions that save you resources in both the short and long term.
During our client’s new and improved search for a Sales Manager, they eliminated many candidates due to compensation disparity, lack of trust, ineffective selling processes, misalignment of culture and values, and limited thinking around sales success and growth. For example, one candidate exclaimed that they were “excited to bring at least 15% year-over-year growth” to the company when the company currently had a 30% growth rate. A comment like that may have been glossed over in the past, but their team reviewed it more critically in this new hiring process. They were done tolerating mediocrity.
Eventually, our client was able to extend a job offer to a picture-perfect Sales Manager. Just like any other candidate, there were naturally some red flags that came up throughout the interview process. However, our client was armed with the knowledge, expertise, and guidance to navigate those red flags appropriately to address those issues head-on. Every challenge or obstacle they faced during their conversations was handled with poise throughout the screening experience, leading to an ideal hire for their company.
It’s Alright to Say No
At the end of the day, nobody can 100% predict how well a new sales hire will perform, but there’s a lot you can do to minimize the risk of failure. Saying no to candidates can feel difficult and discouraging in the moment, but it can save you a significant amount of time and money in the long run. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of your hiring and screening process to ensure you address each and every red flag or concern you have. Sales is the lifeblood of your organization, so treat your sales hires with the utmost level of care and intent. It’s alright to say no. Contact us today to learn more about how Metahire can take the guesswork out of attracting, screening, and hiring great salespeople.