Ten Top Tips for hiring your perfect team
 
Written by Gordon McAlpine
 
Now that you have defined and started to flesh out what your sales culture will look like, it’s time to start hiring! Recruitment is never easy, but if you are to succeed, you need to do this well. Everyone has a different view on the best way to recruit and there will always be some luck involved.  I’m not a professional recruiter, but here is a set of ten simple rules that have worked for me:

1. Recruit people who live close enough to the office to be in there regularly, as this will massively help your bonding and team performance; regional and virtual working can come later, after an of office-based team is firing on all cylinders.

2. Lead hiring yourself to ensure quality control and because you, as the founder, will attract the best people, but get admin support to help sift through CVs and put the best ones in front of you.

3. Create a precise job specification itemising exactly who you are looking for and what you expect them to do. (In the early days, I prefer to focus on relatively recent graduates as they’ll be affordable, driven and keen to learn.)

4. Use your primary social networks to post your job opportunities and also consider a reputable online recruitment company with a fixed fee for a job advertisement (for example, milkround.com for graduates).

5. Personally conduct a day of telephone interviews on the best CVs (approximately 30 minutes per interview).

6. Shortlist the top handful of candidates and invite them in for one-hour face-to-face interviews.

» Spend time building a rapport with them, as they have to like you as well as you liking them.

» Look closely for the key traits of curiosity and passion, to see if they possess these or if you feel that with coaching they could develop them.

7. Always do second interviews, even if you feel certain that someone is right, as people often come across differently at second interview.

» At the second interview include a practical sales exercise requiring selling skills, to see how they perform under pressure. (By way of example, you could explain what curiosity is and ask them to question you as if you were a prospect).

» Ideally, bring in one of your current sales people so you can get their opinion on the shortlisted candidates (and check chemistry).

8. Never make a job offer on the spot, always sleep on it!

9. Before you make a job offer, ask yourself three final ‘reality check’ questions about the candidate:

» Will this person work hard and be prepared to go the extra mile?

» Will you be able to coach this person, as it’s critical that they are not defensive and that they buy into the philosophy of continual improvement?

» Will they fit into your sales culture?

10. If the answers are all ‘Yes’, you are in business (assuming they are as excited as you) and you can start making job offers. (It can be a good idea to adopt a ‘Noah’s Ark’ approach and sign up two sales people from the same recruitment round who you think will get on well, so they have a buddy to start with and you can train them together.)  

The above are only guidelines and obviously you should also use your own common sense and gut feel to hire the right team for your business.  Give your new recruit(s) time to bed in and start making sales. Don’t go chasing more bodies until your current team is performing, as the quality of your people is much more important than the quantity.

 

About the author: Gordon McAlpine

 
Gordon McAlpine is a sales guru and serial entrepreneur. After a stellar start to his sales career at Astra Zeneca, he co-founded tech start-up BigHand from his living room, and as Sales & Marketing Director was responsible for driving the global Scale Up to successful exit.

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