Night Of the Living Bad Hires

Hiring “A” calibre sales people is tricky business.  You’re analyzing a sales person’s selling skills by how he/she sells themselves.  You can’t discount their approach but you also have to dig deeper to find the proof that he/ she can get the job done.  The success of your business depends on it.  How many horror stories have you heard about bad hires?  Not to mention the revenue lost from not hiring fast enough, or a bad hire just not selling like they should.  It’s like a vast graveyard of bad hires that have laid to rest; their ghosts still haunting your organization. So what can be done to maximize your time in an interview with a sales candidate?  We’re all about “story” here at ASG Recruiting.  Why?  It’s an effective way to get to the core of the matter and really connect with people.  After all, what do we do as recruiters, but simply connect people.  And because we like to do things unconventionally, below are some stories I found of how people are finding “A” Players their way.

Scare them!

“One VP of Sales from a Fortune 500 company likes to test applicants he’s interviewing by suddenly standing up and saying, ‘I’m sorry but I don’t think this is going to work out. Good luck to you.’ This is when the real interview begins, as he can now assess how the candidate responds to a significant objection.”   Read More…

Play the numbers game.

“You hire 10 sales reps, and after a year you fire nine of them, and hire nine more. After another year you fire eight, keep the best one and hire eight more. You keep doing this and you’ll have a team as good as the one I have; of course, then the rep that’s been with you for 10-years is ready to retire!” Read More…

Ask for a Demo.

“When Gould was interviewing for a sales job at LinkedIn, he was handed the skeleton outline of a mock presentation, and told to run a sales meeting on the fly for the hiring managers.” Read More…

Get references non-traditionally.

“It’s becoming a common practice…to send an email to a connection saying: ‘I see you’ve worked with this person. Do you know this person well enough to comment on their skills, and can you tell me whether they’re any good?’ And in most cases, the person will come back and tell you either, ‘Yes, I know them well enough to comment,’ or simply, ‘Not really, I just had a drink with them once’.” Read More…


“Anyone can offer you names of previous colleagues and employers to sing his or her praises. But isn’t it the customer who knows best? Ask your candidate to provide two to three customer references. Then, ask the reference how the salesperson was able to navigate the organization, handle objections and roadblocks, and ultimately secure the sale. With little incentive to embellish, the customer reference can provide terrific insight into the candidate’s sales and closing skills.”  Read More…

Ask behavioral questions.

“Intellectual horsepower is table stakes. I love to hear about what people do outside of work — what drives them, what they think about, what’s important — to figure out whether they have the competitiveness and the drive to get through tough problems and tough times. So I’ll ask, ‘Tell me about a time when you almost gave up, and tell me how you felt about that, and tell me what you did instead of giving up.’ ”  Read More…


Score your candidates.

Separate your good candidates from the bad.  Use our free Hiring Scorecard to get down to the nitty gritty.

  1. Calculates candidates scores automatically
  2. Create a “Minimum Candidate Hiring Score”
  3. Use each stage in the hiring process to learn new things
  4. Identify the important skill areas where candidates are strong and where they are weak.
  5. Get everyone in the hiring process on the same page
  6. See skill scores AND candidate scores by interviewer and candidate.
  7. Add quantitative data to a qualitative process.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.22.48 PM Don’t let another bad hire haunt you and your business.  There’s no right or wrong way but the bottom line is hiring sales people takes finesse and really digging deep to get the most out of your candidate.  Hope these stories inspire you to find your way.  Or give us a shout and we can do it for ya! Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.27.46 PM


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.