5 Sales Hiring Mistakes You’re Probably Making and How to Fix Them

5 Sales Hiring Mistakes You’re Probably Making and How to Fix Them | The Brooks Group

Hiring salespeople can feel like a headache, but it’s one of the most important business decisions you can make.

Be sure your time and effort don’t go to waste by avoiding these 5 common sales hiring mistakes that we’ve seen organizations make time and time again.

Hiring Mistake #1 - You don’t define exactly what the position needs

Too often, salespeople are hired based on likeability. Just because a sales candidate charms you in an interview doesn’t mean they’ll be able to perform at high levels once they’re in the role.

Fix it: Spend some time with internal stakeholders to identify the skills, behavior style, and innate motivators a person will need to succeed in your open sales position. Once you know what an ideal sales candidate looks like, you can objectively evaluate applicants against that benchmark to find the best fit.

Hiring Mistake #2 - Hiring an A-player from your competitor

So many of our clients have told us stories about hiring their competitor’s top producer, only to have them bomb out within their first few months on the job.

Prior industry experience can actually be a detriment when it comes to:

  • Learning a competitive line
  • Learning about new applications
  • Giving up old loyalties
  • Having the energy to start something all over again
  • Unlearning bad sales habits

Fix it: Make sure your candidate has the behavior and communication style that will mesh well with your culture and selling environment. Use a comprehensive sales assessment to see if the person as a whole is a good fit for your company.

Hiring Mistake #3 - You drop the ball on the onboarding process

You’ve sifted through resumes, held rounds of interviews, and assessed your top candidates. Don’t let all that time and effort go to waste by neglecting to properly onboard your new hire.

New salespeople need to understand your organization as it is defined by the norms, values and expectations of your company.

Fix it: Design a meaningful and in-depth orientation program for new salespeople. Then, send them an agenda before their start date so they know what to expect on the first couple of days.

Here’s a sample onboarding agenda you can use for inspiration:

Sample Onboarding Agenda - 5 Sales Hiring Mistakes You're Probably Making and How to Fix Them | The Brooks Group

Hiring Mistake #4 - You make a hiring decision out of desperation

We’ve all been there: one of your top producers suddenly leaves and you’re left scrambling to replace them. But when you try to hire on the fly it’s easy to become blinded by your need to fill the hole. You may overlook or ignore red flags and end up hiring the wrong person.

Fix it: In the same way you coach your salespeople to fill their pipeline with quality prospects, you should have a few candidates lined up for when you need to hire quickly. Network with sales professionals who could potentially be a good fit for your team, and ask your salespeople to do the same.

Hiring Mistake #5 - You focus on past experience and ignore potential

Previous experience can be an indicator of how well a sales candidate will perform, but it’s not the most important factor to look for. You’re likely to pass over motivated, high potential candidates with the right kind of “raw talent” if you focus too heavily on experience level.  

Fix it: Hire for attitude, and train for job skills. Use the interview process to try to uncover the personal skills required to do the job well (resiliency and accountability, for example). You can go even further in revealing a candidate’s true colors with a comprehensive assessment like Brooks Talent Index®.

Then, bring your new hire up to their full potential with thorough onboarding, training, and sales coaching programs.

Hiring mistakes can cost you an enormous amount of wasted time and money, but they also affect team morale and slow down your momentum. Avoid these common sales hiring mistakes and start hiring smarter with the Brooks Talent Index Assessment System. 


Josh Winters

Josh Winters is a Group Vice President/Director of Sales at The Brooks Group, where he serves as the first point-of-contact for organizational stakeholders looking to improve their teams’ sales effectiveness and overall talent management.

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