Competency-Based SaaS Sales Interviews: How to Assess Skills Effectively

Once you’ve narrowed your SaaS sales candidate pool down to a select group of individuals, it’s time to find the best of the best. Remember that it’s not just about choosing the top candidate during SaaS sales interviews. You need to find the top candidate for your sales team.

To truly understand how they would perform in your sales environment, it’s helpful to take a competency-based approach, which involves assessing a candidate’s skills and abilities by asking questions that require specific examples that draw from past experiences.

Here’s a streamlined three-step process I suggest doing that.

Define Your Company’s Core SaaS Sales Competencies

Before you do anything else, a necessary first step is to identify what your company’s core competencies are in regard to SaaS sales.

There will likely be some overlap between most SaaS companies. HubSpot, for example, lists the top four competencies as being:

  • Foundational sales knowledge
  • Communication skills
  • Willingness to learn
  • Attention to detail

They also provide a list of other core competencies that are extremely important.

Here at HireDNA, we analyze SaaS sales candidates across 21 selling competencies — some of which include coachability, the ability to hunt, the drive to succeed, and the ability to close deals.

The bottom line is that each sales team will be a little different. So you’ll want to figure out the exact traits and characteristics you want to focus on above all else.

Create a Top 10 List of Core Saas Sales Competencies

After defining your specific core SaaS sales competencies, the next step is to determine which 10 are the most important and rank them in order of importance.

Here’s an example of what that may look like:

  1. Foundational sales/product knowledge
  2. Communication skills
  3. Willingness to learn
  4. Coachability
  5. Ability to hunt
  6. Relationship-building
  7. Negotiating skills
  8. Ability to handle rejection
  9. Drive to succeed
  10. Emotional intelligence

Remember that you can always change your core competencies, as well as their order later on. But having a tangible list like this should help you articulate which competencies hold the most value and will help guide you on the next step.

Create Relevant Interview Questions Based on Core SaaS Sales Competencies

Once you have a definitive list of core SaaS sales competencies, it’s time to use them to develop a series of interview questions that your team can reference.

“Competency-based interviews rely on the assumption that past successful or unsuccessful job scenarios provide evidence of compatibility with a position’s requisites,” explains Job Test Prep.

By asking targeted competency-based questions that require candidates to call upon their work experience, it allows you to better understand their thought process, how they would act if hired on to your SaaS sales team, and generally gauge their overall abilities. This isn’t to say that competency-based interviews tell 100% of the story, but they’re fairly accurate for the most part and should help you forecast how successful a potential candidate would be.

Here are a few examples based on the top 10 list above.

When assessing foundational sales/product knowledge, you could ask:

  • How do you learn and stay informed about the features of a SaaS product you’re selling?
  • Tell me about a specific time when you used your knowledge to close a deal.

When assessing relationship-building, you could ask:

  • Can you tell me about a time when you successfully built a strong relationship with a SaaS customer, and how did you leverage that relationship to instill loyalty?
  • What were the specific steps you took and the challenges you faced along the way?

When assessing a rep’s ability to handle rejection, you could ask:

  • Can you tell me about a particular time when you faced an especially difficult rejection?
  • How did you overcome it?

Repeat this process until you have a fully fleshed-out list of competency-based questions for SaaS sales interviews that look something like this.

Integrate Core Competency Questions into Interviews

At this point, the heavy lifting is over, and you should have a tangible list of questions that zero in on essential SaaS sales competencies. It’s just a matter of providing your recruiting team with a list of those questions and having them use them during interviews.

This offers two main benefits, with the first being that it allows you to efficiently learn about each SaaS sales candidate’s core competencies and determine whether or not they’re a good fit for your company.

The other key benefit is that it allows you to standardize your sales hiring process, which is extremely important to finding elite candidates.

“In non-standardized interviews, there may be a set of questions guiding the conversation, but there is little consistency across the experience for candidates,” writes The Harvard Business School. “Often this is where unconscious bias can manifest itself and candidates don’t have the same opportunity to effectively tell their story and showcase their fit for a role.”

“In a standardized interview, each candidate is asked the same questions in the same order. HBS Professor Francesca Gino notes that this type of interview process helps to reduce bias by focusing on the factors that have a direct impact on performance.'”

Not to mention that it makes your interviewer’s life easier when they have a list of questions for quick reference to guide them through the hiring process. Rather than blindly feeling their way through an interview, having a sense of structure like this should help make things go smoother.

Wrapping Up

Traditional interviewing can tell you a lot about a candidate. But in my opinion, one of the best ways to truly get a sense of how someone would perform in your unique SaaS sales environment is by taking a competency-based approach.

Fortunately, this is pretty straightforward and simply involves a three-step process of 1) identifying which core competencies are most essential to SaaS sales success, 2) creating relevant questions around those competencies, and 3) effectively integrating those questions into your interviewing.

If you’re looking to find truly elite SaaS sales reps, I suggest using the OMG sales candidae assessment. Backed by science and predictive validity, this assessment targets critical sales competencies, and 91% of recommended and hired candidates have positive on the job performance.

Screening Sales Resumes: Key Indicators of High-Performing Candidates

Countless factors determine a salesperson’s likelihood to succeed. For perspective, the screening process we use at HireDNA analyzes 21 selling competencies, including the will to sell, hunting, and relationship-building just to name a few. So it’s no surprise that HR/talent leaders can feel slightly overwhelmed when screening sales resumes.

For this post, my goal is to provide you with a streamlined, ultra-concise methodology for efficiently screening sales resumes to find high-performing candidates. Let’s jump right in.

Quantifiable Achievements

While achievements don’t always tell the whole story, they usually serve as a good starting point for assessing a salesperson’s general abilities. They also allow you to objectively measure someone’s past performance so you can determine how likely they would be to thrive in your sales environment.

Therefore, achievements — specifically quantifiable achievements that are measured in numbers or percentages — are one of the first things I suggest looking for in salesperson resumes. Some examples can include sales revenue generated, percentage of quotas met or exceeded, and number of leads converted.

Sustained Sales Growth

Everyone has to start somewhere in the sales industry. And even the best of the best may struggle initially as they’re cutting their teeth. That’s why you can’t necessarily judge someone’s capabilities by their first couple of years in sales.

However, looking at larger patterns like sustained sales growth over time (assuming they have at least three or so years of experience under the belt) should lend accurate insight into their performance. After all, if someone has proven they’ve consistently improved over time, this typically indicates an ability to learn from mistakes, implement feedback, and persevere through challenges.

Again, it’s helpful to have quantifiable data because concrete numbers paint a clear picture.


You could argue that half of the battle of successful selling is simply staying motivated. By nature, the sales industry comes with a lot of ups and downs. When the chips are down, reps may find it difficult to find the will to keep pressing forward. And when things are going well, reps may be inclined to become complacent.

An essential part of building an elite sales team is finding a group of reps that continually stay motivated regardless of the situation. So how do you identify motivated candidates by screening sales resumes?

One way is to look for individuals who have shown an eagerness to take on new projects and learn new skills. Say, for instance, someone voluntarily participated in multiple sales training courses to enhance their skill set. That would likely indicate a high level of motivation.


To say that sales can be challenging would be an understatement. It’s incredibly competitive, and dealing with rejection on a constant basis is part of the job description. Therefore, it takes a certain personality type where someone can handle frequent rejection and get right back on the horse.

It takes resilience.

Like motivation, resilience isn’t something that’s easy to quantify. But there are ways to find candidates that demonstrate resilience if you know what to look for.

What I suggest is looking for candidates who highlight their ability to overcome rejection, handle objections, and adapt to changes. Ideally, this is something they’ll specifically address on their resume.

Sales Tool Knowledge

Whether you’re looking to hire someone for an onsite position, remote, or hybrid, it doesn’t make a difference. To thrive in today’s tech-centric world, almost everyone needs to have an intimate knowledge of sales tools like CRM software, lead outreach apps, and lead scoring software.

While you shouldn’t necessarily disqualify someone just because they don’t have direct experience using the exact tools your team uses, it’s extremely important that they know the ins and outs of general sales tools. That’s why this is something else to look out for when screening sales resumes.

Take this sample resume, for instance. Here the candidate specifically references using Zoom to maintain a 91% closing rate. On top of that, they mention that they used Hootsuite to develop and schedule social media content, which shows they have experience using software for other purposes outside of direct sales, for an added plus.

Strong Communication Skills

This is a no-brainer, but I wanted to include communication skills because 1) they’re such an integral part of sales success and 2) you can assess communication skills directly by reading a candidate’s resume.

While you can’t necessarily measure the full spectrum of a person’s ability to communicate from a resume, you can get a solid idea of how well they articulate their ideas by simply reading their writing. For instance, if they provide a concise overview of their skills, qualifications, education, and so on, that should be a good indicator that they can communicate clearly with leads and customers.

On the other hand, if they’re writing is inarticulate and lacks brevity, their communication skills may be lacking. This isn’t to say that you should expect every salesperson to be a wordsmith, but they should be able to clearly present the information on their resume to you.

Finding Elite Reps By Effectively Screening Sales Resumes

As I said before, a resume won’t always tell the whole story of a candidate’s full abilities. But it can tell you a lot.

While I recommend leveraging other tools like a data-driven sales recruiting platform to find the best of the best, effectively screening sales resumes should still provide you with a shortlist of high performers. You just need to know the key indicators to look for and how to measure them.

For help building an all-star sales team, register with HireDNA today. We offer cutting-edge technology that can help you find top candidates and eliminate 96% of wrong hires.

How to Find Great Talent in Tough Economic Times

Finding talented salespeople can be difficult in even the best of circumstances. But it can be especially challenging to find great talent in tough economic times.

And that’s precisely what sales recruiters are up against today. Although the recruiting climate has stabilized somewhat in the wake of COVID, there are still some major challenges that must be overcome to secure elite talent.  

In this post, I’ll offer some background on the current rocky economic state and specific strategies and tools you can use to find rockstar salespeople in your industry.

Some Statistics for Perspective

By definition, the US is not currently in a recession as of the time of this writing in May 2023. However, many financial experts believe there could be one on the horizon.

“Slowing in GDP could be due to negative US inventory accumulations and trade deficits,” writes Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank. “Whether these factors will continue dragging on the economy throughout 2023 remains to be seen, but steadily slowing GDP growth could be an advance warning of recession ahead.”

Besides that, there are also the issues of inflation, stock market volatility, sluggish retail sales, and other factors that are contributing to our current economic woes.

And from a recruiting standpoint, today’s businesses must contend with what McKinsey calls “the Great Attrition” or “Great Resignation,” where a staggering 40% of American workers say they may leave their job in the near future.

By these numbers, two out of every five salespeople are theoretically ready to look elsewhere, which is no doubt alarming to many recruiters.

Capitalizing on Opportunities

This isn’t to say that everything is all doom and gloom. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for sales recruiters to find great talent in tough economic times.

For instance, this often translates into a larger candidate pool that wasn’t available a few years ago. You may also be able to find elite-level talent from other organizations that wouldn’t have previously been possible.

It’s just a matter of adjusting your sales recruiting strategy, which is what I’ll discuss for the rest of this post.

Start with Your UVP

I love what Cassie Pike, managing director at Cielo Talent has to say about the importance of strengthening your UVP in tough economic times.

“When slowdowns occur and candidates are in the market, it’s prime time for companies to campaign for who they want and show why their offerings stand out amongst the rest. It’s important to help candidates understand why you’re hiring and why you’re a safe bet for them when it comes to a job change. It’s about more than the money; it’s about the full value proposition, including stability of your organization, growth for the organization, and what it provides for your employees, as well as other non-monetary benefits like flexibility.”

Refining your UVP is a critical precursor to anything else, especially in our current economic climate, because it affects everything else. This is a topic I’ve covered in detail before, and you can learn how to create a winning UVP here.

Use a SaaS Sales Recruiting Platform

Perhaps the best way to streamline recruiting is to use a data-driven tool like HireDNA.

With it, you can tap into a robust national network of qualified sales talent and access top performers — both active and passive candidates — that have the exact skills and qualifications needed to thrive at your company.

Here’s how it works.

First, you’ll be assigned a dedicated recruiting manager who will work alongside you to create an ideal candidate profile.

Based on that, we’ll come up with a list of verified candidates that match what you’re looking for using 26 profile data points and 21 core selling competencies. Note that this goes beyond just traditional hard skills and is extremely granular with traits like motivation, desire to sell, the ability to handle rejection, and much more.

From there, we’ll provide you with a short list of handpicked, verified candidates that are most likely to succeed.

And finally, you choose the candidates you’re most interested in and can schedule interviews.

Sales recruiters that use HireDNA are able to eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes, speed up their time to hire by 50%, and have 50% less turnover. So if you’re looking to streamline your sales recruiting and find the best of the best, this type of platform can be very helpful.

Hire for Skills Over Industry Experience

The other main strategy I recommend to find great talent in tough economic times is being flexible with your job requirements.

In a previous blog, I explained why selling skills are often more important than industry/product experience. Although this post is over two years old, I think it’s just as relevant as ever.

The bottom line with this logic is that you can always train someone on a product, but you can’t always teach someone how to sell.

Say, for example, you find a candidate that has a stellar track record and has consistently exceeded their expectations in all previous roles, but they don’t have any experience in your specific industry. Odds are, they could learn it fairly quickly and use their natural talent to reach the top of your sales force.

On the other hand, let’s say there’s another candidate that does have plenty of experience in your industry, but they have a history of underwhelming performance. Although you could probably get them up to speed quicker, they’ll likely hit their plateau and won’t have nearly the same potential as someone who’s a natural winner.

This is a simple example, but I’m sure you can see my point. More often than not, prioritizing raw sales talent over experience and being willing to hire someone you know can sell, even if they lack direct industry/product experience, should lead to positive results and can give you an edge over many competitors.

Finding Great Talent in Tough Economic Times

Although the current economy is far from ideal, it’s still possible to find elite talent. In fact, there are golden opportunities as long as you leverage the right strategies and take advantage of helpful tools.

To see HireDNA in action and learn how it can take your sales recruiting to the next level, schedule a live demo today.

Simple Ways to Automate Sales Recruiting Without Sacrificing Quality

On average, it takes sales recruiters 41 days to fill a position. Without some type of strategy in place for streamlining things, the process can be incredibly time-consuming and clog up internal resources. Fortunately, there are several ways to automate sales recruiting that can save you a massive amount of time without sacrificing quality.

Here are some specific techniques I suggest.

Use a Sales Recruiting Platform to Rapidly Fill Your Talent Pipeline

One of the most time-consuming parts of sales recruiting is simply filling your talent pipeline with quality candidates. Between creating job descriptions, finding job boards, posting on job boards, filtering through candidates, and so on, this can quickly eat through your workday and can be especially problematic for smaller businesses that lack a formal recruiting department.

A great way to get around that is to use a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA.

With HireDNA, you create an ideal candidate profile based on your specific hiring criteria. Then, using cutting-edge technology, it identifies both active and passive candidates who match that criteria to fill your pipeline. From there, HireDNA screens and assesses candidates to pinpoint the ones that are most likely to succeed and delivers the cream of the crop to your inbox. At that point, you simply choose who you want to interview.

Rather than meticulously moving through the recruiting process like had to be done in the past, HireDNA offers an ultra-streamlined approach that helps you find elite talent, essentially serving it up on a platter for you.

Companies that use it are able to cut their hiring time in half, with 96% of suggested candidates reaching the top of the sales force within their first year.

Send Pre-Screening Questions and Automate Candidate Ranking

Most of today’s applicant tracking systems (ATS) have robust features that can help a great deal with automation. One of which is pre-screening questions where you create a handful of key questions and send them to promising candidates. After a candidate provides answers, they’re automatically scored and ranked based on customized criteria. That way you can quickly take filtering one step further and trim your list of candidates back to the best of the best.

If you currently use an ATS, check to see if it offers this feature, as it can significantly reduce the time you spend looking through resumes.

Automate Candidate Reminders and Status Updates

Keeping candidates in the loop with interview reminders and status updates about where they’re at in the hiring process is important for providing a positive experience. But if you’re doing everything manually like sending email or text updates one by one, it’s can be a huge time drainer. Not to mention it can eat up a ton of “cognitive bandwidth” having to remember who you need to reach out to and when.

Another way to automate sales recruiting is to provide candidates with reminders and status updates with software like Pipefy.

One of the core features of Pipefy is workflow automation where you can set it to automatically send status updates and follow-ups. You can, for example, use email templates for outreach based on different scenarios. Information is pre-populated so that it’s customized for each candidate and the position they’re applying for. And when used at scale, companies have been able to reduce their time-to-hire by up to 80%.

Use One-Way Interviewing

Interviewing candidates is obviously a critical part of the sales recruiting process. But I think we can agree that it’s also one of the most time-consuming. With many interviews easily lasting 30 minutes, this can quickly eat through your day, especially if you’re interviewing several candidates at a time. Besides the actual interview itself, you also have to prep, assess the results, and more.

An absolute godsend for automating this part of sales recruiting is one-way interviewing where candidates record answers to a series of questions for you to look over later on. Not only does this allow you to get the critical answers you need from candidates, it lets you move through the process much quicker, and you can batch your reviews to accelerate things even more.

There are several platforms you can use for one-way interviewing, but one of my personal favorites is Tribepad, which features:

  • “Unlimited multi-media questions
  • A searchable template library
  • A drag-and-drop interview builder
  • Heaps of configuration and branding”

Record Your Training Program

For my final strategy, let me first say that even the best-recorded training program probably won’t be able to match a one-on-one or even a group training program led by a sales manager. And while you may not be able to cover all the intricacies and nuances, a recorded training program can still be highly effective for explaining key points and getting reps up to speed.

It’s just a matter of being realistic about what you can adequately cover in a series of training videos and properly executing. For example, giving new sales reps an overview of how to use your CRM software or project management solution can usually be efficiently done through recorded videos. So can going over scheduling, company culture, expectations, and other topics you would cover in a welcome packet. An added plus is that your reps have a dedicated resource they can reference at any time whenever questions arise.

As for platforms, I find Loom to be one of the best if you just need to record some basic videos.

Automate Sales Recruiting While Maintaining the Utmost Quality

Recruiting a talented team of sales professionals is a necessary precursor to success. But it can also be a big time drainer without the right plan in place. Luckily, technology has been a game changer for sales recruiting, and there are numerous ways to get more done in less time without it compromising the quality of your hires. In fact, it’s often the opposite where brands that intelligently use automation see better results than those that don’t.

To see HireDNA in action, reach out to us today for a free demo.

The Most Important Information Sales Candidates Want When Job Searching (Based on Concrete Data)

There’s no denying that 2022 is a candidate’s market. With a huge demand for high-level talent and a diminishing number of young, qualified job seekers, many sales companies are struggling to maintain adequate manpower. While there’s a lot that goes into winning the talent war, a great place to start is creating quality job ads that include the specific information sales candidates want to see.

For this post, I’ll explain exactly what those things are based on concrete data, along with a real-life example of a job ad we created.

The Top 5 Pieces of Information Sales Candidates Want

An in-depth job search study analyzed what “job seekers want employers to provide as they research where they work.” While it varies somewhat, the data found that five pieces of information stood out above all else and include the following:

  1. Details on compensation packages
  2. Details on benefits packages
  3. Basic company information
  4. Details on what makes the company attractive
  5. Company mission, vision, and values

Now let’s fully unpack these findings.

Details on Compensation Packages

Compensation information being first on the list comes as no surprise. Research has found this is hands down the most important thing for job seekers, with 74% wanting salary information. For comparison, that’s 13% higher than the next piece of information on the list, which is benefits at 61%.

One of the things I mentioned in my last blog post is that today’s massive inflation rate of 7% (the highest in 39 years) has created a bidding war where many companies are willing to pay elite salespeople top dollar to join their sales force. So it only makes sense that job seekers will want to see salary information front and center.

If you look at one of the job postings we made for our client MPOWER Envision, an Illinois-based software company, you’ll notice we included both the base salary range and total compensation range so, at a glance, job seekers could see what they’re working with.

Ideally, compensation information will be located at the top “above-the-fold” of a job ad so sales candidates can see it without having to scroll down.

Details on Benefits Packages

As I just mentioned, 61% of sales candidates want to know what types of benefits a company offers. That’s also unsurprising as sales companies can differ widely in terms of benefits and perks. If it comes down to a job seeker choosing between two companies with identical pay, nearly all will opt for the company with more robust benefits. So you’ll want to be crystal clear about what you offer.

In our example featuring MPOWER Envision, we included a fully fleshed-out list of traditional benefits, such as health, dental, vision, 401(k), and so on. Besides that, we also mentioned that employee wellness is a priority, there are ample career development opportunities, and employees can provide input and be a strategic voice.

Basic Company Information

While you don’t necessarily need (or want) to go into great detail about your company, data shows that providing a quick overview is important for helping sales candidates get their bearings. Going back to our example, we point out the essentials like when MPOWER Envision was founded and how many employees it has.

We also mentioned a bit about them, that they’re backed by a 30-year-old well-established sister company, who uses their platform, and more.

Again, you don’t need to go overboard. But offering a succinct overview helps get your foot in the door with sales candidates and ensures they don’t have to struggle to get a feel for your company.

Details on What Makes the Company Attractive

I’m a firm believer in developing a great unique value proposition (UVP). With so much competition out there, it’s never been more important to differentiate yourself from other companies. In line with that, it’s important to let candidates know what makes your company attractive.

For MPOWER Envision, we noted that they have a 4.6-star G2 rating and a perfect 5-star Glassdoor rating to instantly impress sales candidates right off the bat.

Leveraging social proof like this is always a good strategy for establishing value and showing your company is respected.

Besides that, we mentioned that the job is remote, which is highly appealing for many of today’s sales candidates in our post-COVID world.

Company Mission, Vision, and Values

Culture has always played a role in who sales candidates want to work with. But that’s never been more true than it is today.

As Natalie Baumgartner of the Harvard Business Review puts it, “candidates are seeking workplaces where they can intertwine their beliefs with those of the company, and work together on a common vision of purpose and success.” Therefore, things like mission, vision, and values are critical pieces of information sales candidates want when considering applying.

When writing the job description for MPOWER Envision, we clearly articulated this information, saying what it’s like working there, what the company’s mission and values are, and more.

Making Sure You’re Including the Important Information Sales Candidates Want

Most sales companies are up against some stiff competition in 2022, and you need to bring your A-game in all aspects of sales recruiting. One of the best places to start is to understand what sales candidates want to see in a job description and strategically hone in on those areas. That way you can grab the attention of more rockstar sales reps and fill your pipeline with strong candidates.

Looking to hire better sales talent, faster? See how HireDNA uses cutting-edge features like intelligent matching and science-based assessments to connect sales companies with the best and brightest. Brands that use HireDNA cut their hiring time in half, and 92% of suggested candidates are top achievers within their first year.

Only 16% of Salespeople Have Skills for Current and Future Roles: Why You Should Focus on Long-Term Sales Recruiting

When you break it all down, there are two fundamental approaches to sales recruiting. One is to bake turnover into your recruiting strategy where you only think short-term and continually replace salespeople with little to no potential for internal growth. The other is a long-term sales recruiting strategy where you focus on finding quality talent with the end goal of internal promotion, providing a framework for rock stars to rise through the ranks.

For this post, I’ll explain why long-term sales recruiting is usually the best option, especially in today’s current sales recruiting climate. I’ll also provide specific tips on how to successfully adopt this approach.

Illuminating Data from Gartner

In a 2020 HR and recruiting study, technology research firm Gartner uncovered that only a small number of new sales hires are equipped with the skills for long-term growth. “Organizations are struggling to hire quality talent as only 16% of new hires possess the needed skills for both their current role and the future,” Gartner explains.

This means that for every 10 sales reps you hire, less than two will realistically have the ability to level up in their role and take on a more demanding position such as a sales manager or account executive. While that may be fine if you’re only looking for salespeople for limited roles and aren’t concerned with internal growth, it can be quite vexing if you’re hoping to create a rich culture with an emphasis on internal promotion.

In other words, this data shows that many companies end up “spinning their wheels” where they’re unable to successfully move salespeople up the ladder. Instead, they often get stuck in an endless cycle of hiring entry to mid-level reps who hang around for a while and eventually leave with no major progress occurring. As a result, these companies struggle with turnover and basically plateau without reaching their full potential.

So what’s the solution?

Taking a Long-Term Sales Recruiting Approach

It boils down to making a fundamental change in your sales recruiting approach. Rather than simply finding salespeople who match what you’re currently looking for in an entry to mid-level position, you need to think long-term and look for candidates with the potential for serious growth.

“To hire quality talent, recruiting leaders must shift their strategies from replacing the workforce to instead shaping the workforce,” Gartner writes. Recruiters “that excel in these workforce-shaping behaviors see a 24% increase in quality of hire.” And “high-quality talent can have a significant impact on business outcomes, including individuals who successfully perform in their roles 20% faster and teams that get a 19% boost in their ability to meet future challenges.”

For the rest of this post, I’ll explain exactly how to go about that.

3 Key Strategies for Long-Term Sales Recruiting

1. Clearly Define “Big Picture” Skills

It starts by first creating a robust sales candidate profile that focuses on both short and long-term objectives. Here’s an example.

Say you’re currently looking for a talented salesperson who possesses fundamental skills like establishing and building rapport with customers, successfully performing product demos, resolving customer complaints, and so on. However, you’re also looking for someone who has the talent for long-term growth as a sales manager later on down the road.

In that case, you would want to add additional skills to your sales candidate profile such as strong leadership, strategic planning, comprehensive CRM knowledge, and analytical abilities. Here are some other examples.

That way, whoever you hire should be equipped with the skills to grow beyond their initial role and be a bigger asset to your company.

2. Expand Beyond Your Traditional Talent Pool

Another way today’s companies get themselves in trouble is only targeting sales candidates using their traditional talent pool. But this approach can be limiting, especially in our globalized world where remote work has become ubiquitous. If your current sales recruiting strategies feel a little stale, it’s time to expand beyond and tap into other resources.

HireDNA, for example, is a helpful tool for filling your pipeline with qualified sales candidates at all levels. It uses innovative techniques like sourcing top talent from a massive network of top-level candidates, intelligent matching based on 20 key data points, and science-based assessments involving 21 core selling competencies.

Instead of limiting yourself to a small, local talent pool, HireDNA can help you connect with elite salespeople from all over the country.

3. Create a Strong, Adaptive EVP

In a recent blog post, I explained how to build a rock-solid employee value proposition (EVP). Simply put, this is a mix of the benefits, rewards, perks, recognition, support, and overall value you offer to your salespeople. And an EVP is something that’s absolutely vital to maximizing retention and creating an atmosphere for long-term growth.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend reading that post to learn the ins and outs of constructing a winning EVP. Also, be sure to continually adapt with your EVP, ensuring it’s responsive and nimble enough to change as the sales recruiting climate inevitably changes.

Winning at Long-Term Sales Recruiting

I was personally a little surprised to find out that only 16% of new hires have what it takes to expand into future roles. This lack of talent and skillset in the vast majority of candidates imposes inherent limitations on sales recruiters and shows that the current game plan many companies use is insufficient for promoting strong internal growth.

By implementing the three strategies listed above, however, you should be able to create a better pipeline of sales talent who can grow alongside you.

Want to know more about how HireDNA uses cutting-edge technology to find A+ sales talent? Reach out to us today.

4 of the Biggest Sales Recruiting Challenges in 2022 (And How to Overcome Them)

Let’s be honest. Finding quality salespeople has never been easy, and sifting a pile of resumes (the average position receives 118 applications), can be onerous. But 2022 has its own unique sales recruiting challenges that must be addressed.

In this post, I’ll break them down one-by-one based on recent data and provide actionable strategies on how to overcome them.

An Overview of the Top Sales Recruiting Challenges

In a joint study between LinkedIn and Jobvite, experts pinpointed a list of specific sales recruiting challenges based on feedback they received from recruiters. Here’s what their findings looked like.

Now let’s unpack the data from top to bottom.

1. New Hires Lacking Soft Skills

Above all else, a lack of soft skills among new hires is the number one challenge sales recruiters face in 2022 at 89%. This is something I covered in detail in my last post where I mentioned that hard skills are fairly easy to identify and quantify. But this isn’t usually the case with soft skills. In particular, soft skills like communication, collaboration, empathy, and rapport-building have been historically difficult to gauge.

Up until recently, most sales recruiters have simply relied on basic behavioral assessments and reading body language to analyze soft skills. But, unfortunately, that’s not always sufficient. Some ways to address this issue, however, are to first identify a handful of vital soft skills and make them your key areas of focus when recruiting.

There are also a few pieces of technology you can use to objectively analyze candidates. One example is eSkill which is ideal for assessing emotional intelligence such as communication and collaboration. Another is a sales recruiting platform like HireDNA which analyzes “sales DNA competencies” including emotional control, supportive beliefs, and the ability to handle rejection.

From there, HireDNA will provide you with a list of qualified sales candidates that are interview-ready.

2. Hiring Salespeople Who Didn’t First Appear to Fit

The second biggest challenge involves selecting candidates that didn’t initially seem to be assets to a company. According to the study, “77% of recruiters go back and hire candidates who at first didn’t appear to be a fit.” The issue is coming up with an effective way of pinpointing individuals who slipped through the cracks at first and incentivizing them to come on board.

As I mentioned in another article, there’s a small window of just 10 days on average in which you have to hire elite talent. After that, most have already found another position. So to be fully transparent, there will be many cases where the ship has already sailed and it’s simply too late.

That said, reaching out to quality candidates as soon as you realize their potential can sometimes lead to a hire. I also suggest focusing on the following incentives, if possible, as data shows they are the main things that attract candidates to new organizations.

3. Candidates Changing Their Minds

Here’s one of the sales recruiting challenges that can really drive companies crazy. You find A+ talent and get something lined up only to have a candidate change their mind at the last minute. And it’s an issue that happens more than you may think with 75% of sales recruiters saying they’ve experienced it at some point.

While there’s no magic bullet for ensuring this never happens to you, there are a few ways to reduce the likelihood of candidates changing their minds. First, be sure you have adequate incentives in place — ones that specifically zero in on what attracts candidates to a company (see the graphic above I just mentioned). Next, provide candidates with a clear outline of what the onboarding process looks like and make it as streamlined as possible. Third, maintain close communication with candidates from the start, making sure to “read their digital body language” so you can address any potential problems before they escalate.

Besides that, it’s helpful to have at least one backup in place just in case someone drops out unexpectedly.

4. Finding Quality Entry-Level Sales Reps

Finally, there’s the issue of attracting entry-level candidates, with 41% of companies saying these are the hardest positions to fill. Two main reasons why it’s notoriously difficult are because 1) entry-level positions don’t usually pay as much as more experienced positions and 2) candidates often lack the ideal skill set and experience a recruiter is looking for.

So what do you do about it?

When it comes to the pay, I suggest thoroughly analyzing what your competitors are offering for similar positions and either match or exceed it, if possible. You can find more information on current salesperson salaries here.

If that’s just not possible, here are some potential workarounds:

  • Offer plenty of advancement opportunities giving entry-level salespeople the chance to progress
  • Create an amazing culture, and emphasize it in your recruiting
  • Offer flexible work schedules and remote working opportunities as this tends to be effective for recruiting younger reps

As for addressing the issue of limited skill set, it’s all about finding the diamonds in the rough. This, of course, is easier said than done as many candidates will have minimal experience, but there are tools that can help. HireDNA, for instance, can come in handy here because it can be used to objectively screen candidates and predict their likelihood of success. In turn, it’s much easier to identify candidates that will thrive in your specific sales environment.

Overcoming Today’s Unique Sales Recruiting Challenges

To recap, here are the top challenges for sales recruiters in 2022:

  • Candidates lacking soft skills – 89%
  • Hiring candidates who didn’t first appear to fit – 77%
  • Candidates changing their minds – 75%
  • Filling entry-level positions – 41%

While these can be tricky to navigate, each problem has a corresponding solution, and implementing the right one should help your company thrive in today’s recruiting climate. To learn more about how HireDNA can help you select elite talent in your industry, get in touch with us today.