Continuing to Hire Unfit Sales Professionals? Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes When Choosing Candidates

By Shane Cotner

As a hiring manager or HR Professional, your company is counting on you to make sure that the candidates that you’re choosing to fill open sales positions, deliver on the promises they may make in their interviews. After all, the cost of training adds up, and a high turnover rate will have a significant impact on any company’s bottom line.

Even the most experienced hiring managers and HR reps will sometimes choose an unqualified candidate. When this happens, it is typically because they made one of three common mistakes during the interviewing process. Fortunately, these oversights, errors, or hasty mistakes can be easily prevented, so it doesn’t need to happen more than once. Here is a look at three common mistakes that are made that lead to unfit candidates being chosen, along with how to prevent this from happening in the future.

1. Your Interview Questions Are Predictable, Instead of Thought Provoking

One of the easiest ways to ensure that almost any sales candidate will glide through their interview, is through using generic interview questions. Any candidate seeking a sales position will be well prepared for questions such as: What are your greatest strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why are you the right person for this sales position? Do you work better as a team player or as an individual?

These questions are perfectly fine, they just don’t tell the whole story. Nearly all job candidates will be expecting these questions, and will therefore likely have canned responses. So, instead of asking such routine, predictable questions, ask specific questions, including how a candidate would handle a specific work related scenario.

2. Choosing a Sales Candidate Based on Numbers/Experience Over Fit with Company Culture

Company culture is of utmost importance to job seekers in today’s market-particularly millennials. In fact, having a thriving company culture is often vital to even attract the top sales candidates in the first place. In addition, having a vibrant company culture plays an integral role in retaining your top sales reps. So, ensuring that a candidate is going to fit well with your culture, is crucial. After all, sales numbers only tell part of the story.

Smart hiring managers will be sure to confirm what a candidate wants from their work environment, before offering a position based on numbers alone. The hiring manager will need to confirm with a candidate that they will be able to abide by company work hours, mandatory meetings, management style, or other company policies. In other words, having experience, and a track record of successful sales numbers is important, but only if the candidate also fits in with the overall company culture.

3. Trying to Save Time Through Offering a Short Interview Process

As a hiring manager, or HR Professional, there’s little doubt that at some point in your career, you’ll feel pressured to just fill a position, quickly. But, it’s worth remembering that more often than not, slow and steady will win the race. Trying to hurry along the

interview process leaves all kinds of room for oversights, such as neglecting reference/background checks, or not verifying important information. Although a long interview process may be off-putting to some candidates, those who truly want to be a part of your team, will show their loyalty and understand your need for a longer process.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand you need the best sales managers and sales reps on your team to achieve and exceed your monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals. In today’s ever competitive market, sales companies simply can’t afford the costs associated with hiring unfit candidates. So, remember to avoid these common mistakes when interviewing for a new sales professional, or even better, invoke the services of a professional, experienced sales recruiting company to ensure you attract and retain, top quality sales reps and sales managers.

Shane Cotner is a is a professional sales recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or email