How to Start Saying No in Sales Hiring

It’s typical for hiring managers and recruiters to look for positive attributes in candidates, rarely going for a No is sales hiring techniques. In many cases, a great resume and first interview can even have the hiring team naming the puppy. Saying No in sales hiring is not a desirable outcome but a critical approach to selecting the right talent. They want to hire someone for the position quickly and probably need the help sooner rather than later, but to create a successful sales organization, it’s critical to hire the right people.

Have you ever really calculated the cost of a bad sales hire?
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 in sales hiring. 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 she 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. She decided to try a fifth time — this time by using one of our competitor’s hiring programs.  She took it seriously, followed their process to a T, and hired yet another “perfectly qualified” sales manager. This new hire was fired within a year and couldn’t meet expectations (just like the previous four). 

Our competition’s main recommendation to our client was to focus on looking for positive qualities in candidates and identify reasons 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. 

Hiring manager talking to candidate and using no in sales hiring

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 what the candidate said they could do and not uncovering what they would do. 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 designed specifically for sales hiring searches for reasons why a person won’t succeed — and requires healthy skepticism and objective data to validate the candidate’s statements —  will result in a more comprehensive, robust screening process. We demonstrated that implementing strategic sales hiring practices can lower your risk and ensure smarter hiring decisions that save you short- and long-term resources.

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 in Sales Hiring

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.

Topaz is changing the way the world perceives, values, hires, and trains salespeople.

We transform not only how people sell, hire, and manage salespeople, but also how they build relationships with others.  Many of our clients tell us how they use the skills they have learned through our training and coaching to improve how they communicate with their family and friends, and the positive impact it has had on all their relationships.

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