Best Practices for the Hiring Process
Leveraging our experience recruiting and advising revenue generating teams for the world’s most disruptive companies, we went to the drawing board and thought carefully about the commonalities of employers that most successfully hire top sales talent consistently – while minimizing the use of valuable company resources such as time and money.
We’re very excited to share this with you so you can be as successful as possible, as soon as possible.
Without further ado, let's jump into it:
1. Alignment Conversations Between Hiring Managers
Internal alignment conversations are critical in order to understand the priorities of each individual hiring manager. You may be looking for blue, but the other hiring manager may be looking for red. This can result in a massive waste of company resources and is easily avoidable by having clear alignment conversations proactively and weekly thereafter.
2. Clear Alignment and Focus for Each Interview Round
It’s important to have alignment conversations with hiring managers and candidates on what the focus points will be during each interview and what the priorities are of each individual hiring manager.
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This will ensure that candidates can speak to how their experience translates in the specific context for each Interview’s corresponding focus point, and to each hiring manager throughout the interview process.
3. Establishing Timeline for Hiring Process
Working backward with your desired timeline is a must. Preemptively decide when you would like to have a candidate start and work backward to determine – when an offer needs to be extended, and when each interview round should ideally be held to meet your timeline expectations.
4. Quick Scheduling and Detailed Feedback - within 24 hours of Previous Interview
A Glassdoor study found that today the national average length of the interview process is 23 days. Our clients that most consistently hire top talent usually hire within 14-21 days of candidate submittal.
Hiring can't be a priority unless quick scheduling and detailed feedback to candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers are a priority.
Schedule next steps the same day or within 24 hours of the previous interview round. Ideally schedule interviews only 2-3 business days out from the previous round.
Providing detailed feedback is also where you can critically think about the reasoning behind your decisions to make sure that you and the team are remaining objective and aligned with the priorities of the opening.
5. Thorough and Concise Interview Process
LinkedIn Talent Trends found that 80-90% of talent say a positive or negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or a company.
Most companies are thorough but not concise. One in person interview is typically all you need. Our clients that successfully hire top talent consistently stay close to the following process: 1st round 30-minute phone screening, 2nd round in person interview, 3rd round phone peer interview (if possible combine this in the 2nd round), reference checks, offer extended with a 24-48 hour turnaround time limit.
Prior to condensing your interview process, it is very important to uncover your desired takeaways and focus points of each interview. Only then can you objectively decide if it would be beneficial to combine parts of your interview process.
60% of job seekers report they have quit an interview process due to its length and complexity.
6. Realistic Expectations Between Compensation and Experience Required
If budget is an issue with finding the experience level required, consider hiring fewer people at a higher price point to be competitive with the market.
You may be able to find an exceptional candidate at a bargain occasionally, although hiring top talent consistently requires competitive compensation given the experience required for the role.
If raising the budget is not an option, no worries! Speak with your team and advisors and determine a creative way to stay competitive. Avoid repeating the same ineffective activity expecting a different result.
7. Well Defined Compensation Plan, Competitive Base, and OTE Structure
Referencing a Glassdoor study: when researching employment opportunities, job seekers expect employers to provide: 1) Salary/compensation, 2) Benefits, 3) Basic company information, 4) What makes it an attractive place to work, 5) Mission, vision, values.
Providing candidates with clarity surrounding commission is vital to be competitive.
Think about it this way, would you really want to hire a sales pro that wasn’t interested in knowing how they will be compensated?
8. Clearly Defined Professional Progression
60% of Millennials consider the most attractive perk to be growth opportunities.(Glassdoor survey)
Candidates who have a clearly defined professional progression are more likely to stay engaged and committed to exceeding individual and company goals.
9. Typically, Avoid Tests
There may be companies that hire top talent consistently that have testing throughout the hiring process, although they are few and far between.
Many times, employers will say that this is a good way to weed out candidates that are not highly interested in the position. It is important to keep in mind that hiring top sales talent is highly competitive and each great candidate has numerous options available to them. And that while your company has a lot to offer, there are a lot of companies that have exciting cultures and missions.
Having a full time quota carrying sales position while interviewing with potential new employers is difficult enough, without the additional strain of time-consuming tests.
Typically, tests weed out good sales candidates from the interview process.
10. If Pitching a Product is Part of the Interview Process, Let the Candidate Pitch Their Current Product, Not Yours.
To truly see a candidate in their element it makes a lot more sense to see how they present a product they are familiar with. This will provide you with more insight into their line of questioning and discovery process, how they uncover priorities, opportunities, challenges, and pain points a prospect is facing.
11. Don’t Lose Sight of Sales 101. Foundational Sales Training Put to the Test.
Keep in mind, you may be the hiring manager, but great candidates are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Do not assume that all candidates have the same priorities. You may have the highest OTE or the best benefits on the market but don’t provide a “solution” until you have uncovered the candidate’s priorities and pain points.
For instance, a parent with a mortgage and three kids is likely interested in hearing about stability, run way/cash flow, the client base, revenue sources, and benefits.
A junior candidate may be focused on professional development. Or possibly earning potential.
Before pitching your company, uncover the priorities of the candidate, and then address those in your pitch. Explain how your business meets and exceeds the candidate’s priorities and provides assurance for their concerns.
“Mission-driven" companies have 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention, and they tend to be first or second in their market segment.
(Source: Deloitte study)
If you focus on an amazing OTE when a candidate is focused on professional development you could lose that candidate to the competition.
Be engaged, really listen, and tailor your approach for each specific candidate just as you would for a prospect. They will notice, appreciate you, and will be more likely to consider your company as their first choice.
12. Being Competitive is Hard Work, Make No Mistake About It
If this insight feels a bit overwhelming, congratulations! That means you are elevating your skill set and raising your standards.
No need to feel overwhelmed here, these steps don’t need to be implemented overnight. You can’t master something until you have a baseline to reference. This is your baseline - it will be here next week, next month, and beyond. Being aware of these points is the first step.
To begin, measure your current results, implement as many changes outlined here as you feel comfortable with, then re-measure your results and check progress. Then implement more change, then re-measure, etc. This is the formula to refining your hiring process.
Rock and Roll!