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Step 1 – The Job Description and Resume Review

The first step, when I go in search of a sales candidate for a client, is to help my client put together a hiring profile of the ideal candidate.

I ask my clients the following questions:

  • What traits do the most successful current or former employees have?
  • Tell me about reps that didn’t work out
  • Are there deal breakers such as a college degree, prior industry experience, or number of years selling that will eliminate a candidate from consideration?
  • What’s the budget for this position?
  • What are the 1st year expectations?
  • How about personal pet peeves such as being late to meetings or poorly written emails?

After I’ve gathered this information, I set out to write a job description that will attract the right candidate and turn off the wrong ones. You want to make sure that when a candidate reads the job description they know right away if this might be a position and company they would enjoy and succeed at. The last thing I do is run my job description through Gender Decoder website to ensure that the language I’ve use is gender neutral and there is no bias at play in the job description.

Next step is to post the ad and attract qualified candidates. I ask my clients to, at a minimum, post the ad on a paid LinkedIn posting. This is where my best candidates have always come from. You might wonder why I’ve not enlisted a recruiter to help me with the search. I’m defiantly not anti-recruiter by any means, but since most of my clients are funded startups with limited budgets, I like to try to see if we can find a quality candidate without paying the 20% - 25% of base salary most recruiters charge.

As the resumes come in I use the following criteria to help me separate the players from the posers:

  • Spelling/Grammar/Capitalization issues – deal breaker (I’m a journalism major)
  • Job gaps that are too long or are happening too frequently
  • Resumes that just list what the tasks of the job were and not what they accomplished while at that company are a BIG pet peeve of mine. I need to know what you did to help grow the company.
  • Over-qualified- this is as risky as hiring an under-qualified candidate. Candidates that are willing to take a 40% step back in pay and responsibility are a no-go for me.
  • Under-qualified - enough said.
  • They are still living at home in Mom and/or Dad’s basement. Ok- this one always gets attention. I require that their resume has an address and then I Google the street view (Thank you Google). If it’s clear that they’re living in a house they can’t afford I ask if they are living independently. Sales Reps. still being funded by their parents are going to be happy to live off their base salary, in my experience.
  • “Kids” out of college- As they say in dating, “It’s not you, it’s me”. My personality isn’t a fit for those just entering the workforce, so I tend to require they have at least 1-2 years post-college life experience. Understand your quirks and make sure you are hiring around them.

I then select candidates from the pile of over 100+ resumes and I send them an email letting them know I’d live to spend 30 mins getting to know them better with a link to put time on my calendar with instructions to do so.

I test my candidates every step of the process, starting with their ability to follow instructions. If a candidate replies to my email to set up an interview – game over. No attention to detail and not following instructions. I have the same philosophy for hiring as I do for dating – There is no reason to settle! Next.

Now it’s time to move on to Step 2- “The Phone Screen”