Do you know how hard it can be to find and recruit great sales people? Have you ever employed a sales person who failed to deliver? Do you know how to identify high performers and spot the fakes?
In this, the first in a series of 2 must-read articles for automotive industry sales managers and HR professionals, we will take you through a water-tight process to help you attract and identify genuine sales stars from average or low performers.
The SEARCH Method
The SEARCH acronym is used to detail the traits that you want your new recruit to have. They can be categorised as follows:
- Skills – What are the specific skills needed to be a top performer in your sales role?
- Experience – What is the optimal level and type of experience needed to succeed in this role?
- Attitude – What attitudinal and cultural expectations are you looking for?
- Results – How will you quantify what success will look like for the person in the role? What are the benchmarks and when will you be measuring them? What are the parallel results this applicant should have previously delivered in other organisations?
- Competencies – What are the key competencies or abilities you will need from your candidate?
- Habits – What specific work habits or behaviours do you want the person to possess and reinforce with other team members? eg the habit of daily prioritising and re-prioritising of their tasks.
Step 1: Identify Your Needs
If you have a vacancy in your sales team, the first step to recruiting should be to define your business needs and what you want the person to achieve. Is the position a new job or replacing someone? If it’s the latter, beware of automatically assuming you need the same skill-set as the outgoing person. Take a bit of time to consider where your business and team are at and what you need from your next hire. Once you have done this you can define your SEARCH criteria for your candidate.
Step 2: Define your Candidate Criteria – must haves and must not haves
This simple process is a game-changer when it comes to knowing how to recruit great sales people with the right skills, experience and attitudes. Follow this process and you’ll be amazed by the results:
a) Think about the perfect person for your job vacancy
Imagine they are sitting at the desk opposite you doing their job really well. What would you see them doing? What are their key behaviors and actions? Also think about other people who work or have worked for your business who were a pleasure to be around – what are the attitudes that they have that make them such a joy to work with?
Download this document:Defining Your Candidate Criteria - Sales People
Use it to help you write down your SEARCH criteria for your ideal sales person candidate.
b) List your top 6 ‘must have’ SEARCH criteria
Now go through your list and select the 6 most important SEARCH criteria. These are the things that you absolutely would not hire someone without. Complete section b) on the downloaded.
c) Identify People not to hire – RED FLAG criteria
When you are recruiting recruit sales people it’s important to know how to avoid making mistakes and taking on the wrong people. Low performers or people with negative attitudes can suck the energy and enthusiasm out of everyone they interact with. It’s vital to avoid hiring this type of person.
Think about anyone who has worked for you in the past who didn’t work out or didn’t represent your business’s culture. What were the behaviours and attitudes that they displayed?
Here’s what you need to do – complete section c) on the download making a list of all the negative behaviours, attitudes etc that these people had. Then complete section d) selecting your top 6 absolute ‘no-go’ traits – these are things you want to avoid at all costs and will need to carefully screen for. Keep this list – you’ll need to later when you are planning your interview questions. See: Interviewing Sales People – how to identify high performers.
Step 3: Create your Ideal Candidate Avatar
You can now create your Candidate Avatar. This is a profile of your ideal candidate. This will help you focus on the type of person you want, but more importantly think about who they are and what they are currently doing. This will be invaluable when you come to writing your job description and deciding how to advertise your job vacancy. Download and complete the form below to Define your Candidate Avatar.Defining Your Candidate Avatar
Step 4: Create a Job Description
You will now have a list essential candidate criteria that you need – as well as the things you don’t want. You have your ‘Candidate Avatar Profile’ to help you focus on where you ideal candidate might currently be and what they are doing. Print these out and use them to help you write your job description. For further help – including downloadable templates – on writing a job description read our article: Getting Your Job Description Right.
Step 5: Promote your Sales Job Vacancy
You now need to tell people about your vacancy and attract the right candidates. You may be targeting internal and/or external candidates. Either way the first thing you need is a Job Advertisement. If you choose to use a recruitment agency – job advertisement writing is something they will be experts at and will manage for you.
a) Write Your Job Advertisement
It’s a common mistake to confuse a Job Description with a Job Advertisement. The former is a detailed document – often running to many pages, the latter is a short, punchy advert that sells your job vacancy to your target audience. Use your ‘Candidate Avatar’ definition and Candidate SEARCH Criteria document when writing your advert. Remember who you are trying to attract and target your advert at them. Don’t forget you want to attract great sales people so it’s useful to understand how they tick.
b) Promote Your Job Vacancy
Choose how you want to promote your job vacancy. The method(s) you choose will probably depend on your time, experience in recruiting, contacts and budgets. Most employers will naturally try and fill vacancies themselves in the first instance but if they have no suitable internal candidates or applicants they many choose to appoint a specialist industry recruitment agency with knowledge and expertise in their sector. The benefits of appointing a specialist automotive industry agency include:
- Their ability to quickly access suitable candidates
- Their market knowledge – able to advise on suitable salary packages
- Experience and expertise in recruiting sales people
- Your time will be saved – they will work to provide a fully qualified shortlist ready for you to start your interview process.
Step 6: Conduct a Proactive Interview Process
Once you have applicants for your sales a vacancy you need to carrying out a detailed, multi-stage interview process. This should include testing your candidates – a vital step to ensuring that you recruit the best sales people. This process takes time and should not be rushed. Please read the 2nd article in this series: Interviewing Sales People – How to Identify High Performers for detailed advice.
Copeland are UK automotive industry recruiters who help you find industry expert candidates and reduce hiring times. Above all, we focus on quality over quantity.