Why the “Candidate Experience” is a crucial part of the Sales Hiring Process:
You’re an Employer excited to make a new sales hire and are looking for the “perfect” candidate.
You’ve already spent the time creating an ideal candidate profile– a specific work history, experience closing certain sized deals, selling into a niche market—but there’s more to it than just matching skill sets.
You’re looking for someone you will possibly share an office with in the years to come, and a colleague who will bring dedication and respect to your company name while still being able to engage in the company culture.
Will any candidate tick all of these boxes “perfectly”? Not likely – you will need to compromise in a few areas and find someone trainable who will eventually fill those big shoes.
Many Employers fall into the trap of waiting for the perfect candidate – resulting in lower sales team productivity due to slow hiring.
We get a lot of feedback from candidates regarding their interview experiences, and one bad experience may not seem like a big deal at the time—but word travels quickly and your reputation may be hurt for potential future candidates that may have otherwise been interested in the position. You don’t want an unwarranted bad reputation to detract potentially amazing talent!
Below, are some tips to providing a great candidate experience (regardless of the interview outcome):
- Timing— If you are not ready to make a hire today, why are you looking? You wouldn’t want to consider a candidate if they themselves weren’t ready to make the leap. Understand that the interview process can take a lengthy amount of time and resources for a candidate, and that you should not engage with them until you are truly ready for the process to begin.
- Process— It is crucial that you have a designated interview process in place for your hires. Whether it’s 2 steps or 5, be up front and clear with the candidate about the length of the process, even the length of the interviews—some of your best candidates will already be employed and they are most likely taking time off from their jobs to sit down with you. Please be respectful of this. If they can only take a call early morning or after 5pm take this as a good sign that they are dedicated to their current position. Be flexible with the candidate and understand that since you haven’t offered them a position yet, you will need to work with their current schedule.
- Questions— Be prepared to answer any questions your candidate may have in regards to compensation, benefits, equity, company history and have a straightforward attitude. Especially within sales, it is crucial to be up front about these details as to not waste the candidates (or your own) time with something that might not be a match from the start. No, compensation is not the only thing that matters in finding a good candidate fit, but the candidate should know the salary up front and be comfortable with it—or else there’s no use wasting time with additional interviews.
- Clear Requirements— Do you have a clear understanding of what YOU, as the Employer, are looking for? If not, it’s time to make a list. This ties back in with timing. If you are still questioning the traits of the candidate you are looking for, you will most likely end up wasting a lot of time and produce a bad experience for a potentially amazing employee. Not a great look for your company. Just as you want a candidate who is excited and eager to be with your company for certain reasons, you should be excited and eager to find a person that matches your specified requirements.
- Be Decisive— If you already have a hiring process locked down, as well as a clear understanding of the candidate you are searching for, decision making should be the easiest part of the hiring ordeal. Do they match your candidate profile? No? It’s time to send the polite rejection letter, so that they can accept other offers that may be on the table or continue their search. Likewise, you are losing revenue each month you do not make a sales hire for your team. Making clear, and concise decisions helps both you and the candidate by not wasting time and money.
Providing your candidates with a seamless hiring experience not only shows your professionalism, but your company ethics and the respect you have for all individuals whether you extend an offer or not.
Regardless of whether you hire someone or not, they should have a well-structured, straightforward and accelerated experience that will leave them with a solid idea of the company and position.
This will improve your reputation while attracting additional talent for the future.