If You Want the Best Sales Team – Learn to Hire with Speed

Jason E. Connors

Hire with Speed OR lose the best sales talent to faster moving competitors!


I recently wrote a Blog post that talked to Job Seekers about the importance of moving the hiring process along quickly.  The primary reason was to show the company and the hiring manager that you are interested, committed and excited to work for their company.


Which leads me to the other side of the table.  The Employer.  Employers…please understand that SPEED of process, and your feedback to candidates in the process, matters greatly to your chances of hiring a superstar candidate.  It matters more than ANY other part of your process and offering.  If you don’t close quickly on the best, someone else will.


But, before I give any advice, let me state my own credentials.  In over 15 years of experience here at AllSearch, my company has placed close to 3,000 professionals with our base of clients.  In placing that many people, we have probably coordinated over 30,000 interviews.  In hearing the feedback of 30,000 interviews from the candidate side…I have become an expert on this topic.  If I had a dollar for every time one of our clients lost their chance at hiring the best candidate due to having an interviewing process that is just too slow to compete…I would be writing this Blog from a Private Island.


So here is the brutally honest truth employers, you are NOT the only game in town.  Far from it.  No matter how great you think your company is, no matter how unique you think your company and position is, no matter how desperate you think people are to come work for you, there is always another company with a great offering out there that is moving faster.


The fact is the matter is…in today’s market…especially in the market for skilled and talented Sales Producers…the war for talent is fierce.  In many (almost all) cases, YOU need the Proven Sales Producer, they do not NEED you.


2 Phrases (excuses) we hear from too many hiring managers:

  1.  “Well, if the candidate is not willing to wait around, they were not a fit anyway.”
    • No, no and no. That is such a passive approach to hiring great talent.  And it is just completely incorrect.  Great talent does not “wait around”.  In today’s world, top performing sales talent and top tier recent college graduates are constantly being targeted by Recruiters, whether they are actively or passively seeking.  They may have interviewed with your company and loved everything about your position.  But in the three weeks they have waited to do your second interview, they have been invited to interview at 2 or 3 more companies.  And those employers are doing an amazing job keeping this candidate engaged and excited.  So now, weeks later, the candidate you loved and knew you would like hire three weeks ago, now has 2 or 3 competitive offers they are considering.
  2.  “I need to see more candidates before I make a decision.”
    • Sure, you want to make sure you hire the best. But who is to say that the best can’t be the first candidate?  Does it make sense to interview a superstar as your first candidate…but then spend another 4 weeks talking to other candidates to compare to that superstar…only to realize that the superstar was exactly you need for you team?  Then be too late to hire that superstar, because now they have already accepted another position?  The BEST candidate can absolutely be the first candidate.  And many times, if working through a talented search firm, the first candidate IS the best one.  As the search firm’s team of Recruiters has already talked to dozens and dozens of other candidates to determine that this one is the best one.


What you are battling against are progressive companies that understand that best talent, the top sales producers, the top recent graduates, are not going to be around long.  They understand that the best of the best talent has endless choices and endless options.  The best talent won’t wait around.  One of the MOST coveted candidates in today’s market is a top notch recent graduate, looking to get into a Sales or Engineering based career.



My “Hire with Speed” Advice:



Be aggressive and don’t delay.  You have your process, and that is fine.  I am not suggesting you cut corners in whatever your interviewing process is.  But speed up the time that it takes for you to complete that process.  The standard process that we see is a phone interview, then a face to face interview, then testing and assessments, then another face to face interview, then maybe a field day.  If you want a true chance at hiring the best talent, this process shouldn’t take more than two weeks start to finish.  (Trust me, this can happen.  Some of our largest clients, Fortune 500 companies, make this happen.)  If the phone interview goes well, schedule the face to face before you hang up the phone.  And don’t push it out 2 weeks.  Set it for the next day.  If that next meeting goes well, get the testing in their hands immediately.  And then keep it moving from there with as little downtime as possible in between steps.



When delays do arise, touch base with the candidate and talk with them about the reason for the delay.  Reaffirm to the candidate that you are still very interested in them…that this delay has nothing to do with your interest in them as a candidate.



Important fact:  Candidates, even the best of the best, want to know throughout the process that the company they are interviewing with IS in fact interested in them.  This may sound like common sense, but so many times we lose a candidate in the interviewing process because they have not been told they are a top candidate.  For a job seeker, every day that passes without word from the prospective company, is another day the candidate is left to wonder what is happening in the process.  Does the company have a true interest, are they interviewing a million other candidates, do they really need to fill this role?  If doubt creeps in, and this candidate feels that another company is showing them more love, that another company is showing true interest, you will lose this candidate.  The remedy for this is…keep in touch with the prospective candidate, and make sure they know you are truly interested.


Exactly as I say to the Job Seeker, Speed of Hire matters to the Employer as well.  Time Kills Deals!


By Jason Connors, Co-Founder of AllSearch Professional Staffing – National Search Firm focused on placing skilled Sales Professionals in North America since 2002.

Contact Jason EMAIL or the AllSearch Team today for more advice on your sales career search, or to find a great new Sales or Management career opportunity!  Find our more at www.AllSearchInc.com.


Hire Fast if you want the best talent.