The Coaching Effect Blog

12 Step Process To Recruit A Sales Rep

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

January 25, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute 

Today's webinar titled "How Not To Screw Up Your Hiring In 2010", lead by Dave Kurlan of Objective Management Group was very well received.  One of the biggest "ah ha" moments for me was when he instructed sales managers to put the assessment as the FIRST STEP in the process rather than towards the end. The reason given was that in 75% of the time, when a sales manager ignored the assessment results and went with gut feel, those candidates ended up be in the lower performing group. Dave also sited examples where most HR departments are responsible for making the first cut. This is typically based on whether they "liked the way the resume looked" rather than a validated assessment of the person's skills and potential.

Objective Management Group's assessment tool is different from others in that it is not a personality assessment, rather, it measures a person's potential for success - specific to the industry, environment, customer set, and competitive environment the rep will be dealing with.  To learn more about the processes, I invite you to visit their website at:

Dave Kurlan also shared their 12 Step Process for recruiting.  Here is it in a nutshell:

Step One: Identify the candidate's flaws. Often times, their weaknesses and flaws are stronger indicators of success or failure than their strengths.

Step Two: Identify the requirements of the job. He encouraged sales managers to get very, very specific. Examples - Does the person need to be able to sell a "nice to have" product rather than a "gotta have"? Does the sales rep need to be able to sell against an established competitor? These specific job requirements will help you look for folks with this talent and proven track record.

Step Three: Write the killer ad. Your ad should include the specific job requirements you identified in Step Two. The more detailed you are the better. 

Step Four: Source candidates using top recruiting sites, like Monster. Dave suggests broadening your reach by using the many recruiting sites available to you. He even stated that Craig's List is becoming a useful site to recruit people.

Step Five: Use automation.  Build in an automated process that thanks the candidate for applying. Most importantly, the automated message should give the candidate information on how to complete the Formal Assessment.

Step Six: The candidate should complete the Formal Assessment.

Step Seven: More automation.  Program the Assessment tool so that it shows you only those candidates that meet your criteria.

Step Eight: Phone Interview. This should be a 3 minute phone call - MAX - according to Dave Kurlan. The purpose of this call is to confirm the candidate's experience and get a first impression on whether he/she has what it takes from a personality standpoint. Narrow the list down to your top 5 candidates.

Step Nine: Conduct an In-Person Interview.  Kurlan said that this 30 minute interview should be very aggressive. Make them sell you on themselves rather than you selling them on the job.  Ask tough questions.  One interesting example that was shared takes place in the first minute of the interview. When greeting the person, don't look at the candidate, tell them where to go and that you will be in shortly. When entering the room state how long you have together.  The goal is to look for candidates who take the initiative  to break the ice with you - first. If they can engage this tough, cold interviewer, then they certainly can engage a prospect. 

Step Ten: Final In-Person Interview. Your list of five should be down to three at this stage.  This is where you sell the candidate on the job and your company.  You are recruiting them.

Step Eleven: Job offer.  Nothing new here.

Step Twelve: 90 Day Handoff. Dave Kurlan stressed the importance of putting every new hire through a 90-day orientation to ensure they know every aspect of what they are selling, the company, policies etc.  This goes for even the most talented sales recruit.

For more information on this topic, visit:

Give us your feedback!  Do you use a formal assessment tool? Where does it fall within your recruiting process?

Check out EcSELL Institute's next Sales Management Webinar on February 19. CLICK HERE

Topics: talent identification & acquistion, sales management webinar

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