Recruiting in sales: why your own HR department is not always the best solution

Nearly 50 percent of new salespeople fail within the first one to two years. Among many other factors, this can often be due to a suboptimal selection process on the part of HR departments as well as the hiring manager with the final say. On the one hand, wrong decisions are understandable due to the demanding recruiting process in the sales area. On the other hand, they still should not happen.

The professional selection of specialists and managers for sales is an important task for many reasons. After all, this is a key area in any company. Therefore, sales employees should be highly motivated, charismatic and absolutely success-oriented. In addition, they must be able to withstand high pressure to perform, motivate themselves even in difficult phases, and be independent and frustration-tolerant. And all of this at an above-average level. Identifying such sales heroes in the selection process is not easy. Apart from the fact that the supply of top talent on the market is limited. It is therefore all the more important for HR managers not to make any mistakes. However, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

Clear requirement profile and good preparation

Many recruiters tend not to select the best candidate. But instead, the one who is most like themselves. This phenomenon is known as assortative mating or self-cloning and usually threatens to occur when an exact requirements profile has not previously been created. In addition, there are other traps that recruiters can fall into when selecting candidates. For example, a lack of preparation for the interview. This is not just about having read the resume at least once, but also about things like: Which questions are reasonable and allowed? What are the phases of a conversation? What do I ask in a first and maybe even second round? Studies also show that HR professionals are often not properly trained for such interviews. Ergo, they have already formed an opinion after a few minutes. Professional headhunters do that, too. However, they use the rest of the interview to find out if this opinion is confirmed. To do this, it is important to ask the right questions.

Behind the facades with the right questions

Especially when selecting specialists and managers for sales, the right questions are the door openers to get behind a candidate's facade. What was your last big challenge? How do you deal with failures? What do you think is the best thing about sales and how would you describe the perfect workplace? What does personal success mean to you? These questions are just a few examples of the direction it can but doesn't have to go. After all, personalities in sales are at least as individual as the positions they apply for. In addition, top executives in sales usually tick completely differently than top executives in HR departments.

Salespeople simply tick differently

A good salesperson more or less inevitably has completely different personality traits than a good HR manager. That's why even experienced experts in HR departments can fail to capture a candidate's personality for sales. Conclusion: The fact is that only experienced and trained experts are good at evaluating another person's personality. Especially when these people are as diverse as sales professionals.

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