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Talent & Recruitment
Dec 20, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In the latest episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast we'll discuss the importance of the screening process for salespeople in large organizations today.  

We’ll consider why hiring the right salespeople is critical to growing a business and remaining competitive, what are three characteristics recruiters should look for in screening for the enterprise, what interviewing techniques are recommended and why, how important is it for recruiters and hiring managers in the enterprise to prep each other and the candidates before the interview, and what technologies and assessments are recommended to use when screening for salespeople for enterprise organizations.

The guest is Jamie Allison, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Consultant at epitome.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast and discover:

* Why hiring the right salespeople is critical to growing a business and remaining competitive

* What are three characteristics recruiters should look for in screening for the enterprise

* What interviewing techniques are recommended and why, how important is it for recruiters and hiring managers in the enterprise to prep each other and the candidates before the interview

* What technologies and assessments are recommended to use when screening for salespeople for enterprise organizations

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* Provide 2 or 3 top tips to find enterprise sales candidates who'll actually make a difference to your bottom line


* Can you teach someone to have the drive and engaging personality to sell, or is it an inherent skill?


* What technologies and assessments do you recommend to use when screening for salespeople for enterprise organizations?

Read the edited transcription:

Kevin Grossman: Jamie, thank you so much for being on the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast. Before we dive into the rest of the show, why don't you tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do today?


Jamie Allison: Sure. Well, thanks first of all for having me. It's lots of fun to do this kind of thing, and I'm looking forward to it today. Yeah, just from my end, I run a company called epitome HR. We're a boutique style HR firm, and really what we do is we specialize in doing things a little bit differently than the regular kind of HR consulting that people would know, where we spend a lot of time looking at more HR strategy, talent strategies, and helping them become more operational in organizations. We usually are dealing with mid-size to larger companies. We do have some clients that are smaller that need our help as well, but a lot of it is helping them take that vision that maybe they have on a wall or on a PowerPoint presentation, and try to figure out how can we make that happen and turn it into some measurable results.

                   

That's the big piece, and again, we have a few different chunks of work, but one of the big ones that we do is going into organizations, looking at their talent acquisition processes front to back, and then actually helping them look at whether it's integrating different technologies or different methodologies, but helping them actually put them in place and really showing before we actually break off from an engagement, showing some real measurable results that they can use as an organization, and hopefully make them better and make them clients all over again with us.


Kevin Grossman: Excellent. Well listen, based on that and your experience across industries, it's obviously critical that when we're hiring salespeople, we need to hire the right ones so that we can grow and sustain the business over time. What are three characteristics that you recommend that we should be looking for when we're screening salespeople for the enterprise?


Jamie Allison: Yeah, you look at this, and there are some things that each organization wants, but I think there are a couple of things that I think are sometimes missed when people just go out and quickly look for just wanting to go out and find a sales rep or a sales individual.

                   

The one that seems to stand out really quickly in almost every organization we go in is resiliency. It's that sales resiliency piece where people who obviously have the ability to not only jump into projects but go through both the ups and the bads. There are competency profiles to look at to try to figure out, does somebody have that? But from my experience, a lot of it is being able to look at somebody's past experiences and behaviors before to be able to see it. It doesn't necessarily have to be sales experience in the past. You can see if somebody has that stick-to-itiveness that a lot of organizations I think are missing in their organizations.

                   

The other one would be the ability to build relationships. I know that people jump into there being a lot of technologies available to help us with being able to progress three people through a sales funnel, but the one thing that seems to stick with almost all of those sales individuals and being able to make them successful is being able to build relationships outside of those core processes that we have. It's the same as having recruiters, actually. The funny thing is if you're looking at finding good recruiters, they're almost the same type of connections and competencies you'd want with salespeople, and it's that building relationships ability which is a real strength for them.

                   

Then the last one that you'll see I think mapped over in a lot of organizations, it's a connection to extroversion. It's that ability to be able to look at things from a broader perspective but then also be able to have no problem making those multiple calls, and being able to map that with the resiliency and being able to make connections really quickly.


There are three things. They all interconnect, but I would say one of them would be building the relationships. The next one is being able to do that in a very outgoing, connected way. Then that last one as well is being able to have a resiliency that other places within the organization don't necessarily have to have because they will have to deal with losing those sales from time to time.


Kevin Grossman: Absolutely, and just a quick footnote to that relationship part of the equation, too, that it's critical to not only build relationships with who you're selling to, but who you're selling with as well, right?


Jamie Allison: Absolutely.


Kevin Grossman: Because in the enterprise level, it's more of a team approach than it is the sole hunter out there selling whatever it is, whatever products and services there are. It's definitely a team approach. Speaking of a team approach, it is a team sport as well when it comes to recruiters and hiring managers better prepping each other as well as the candidates that they're interviewing for for the interview, right? This is especially true in the final stages. How do you recommend that organizations go about that? What are your recommendations there?


Jamie Allison: Yeah, and I think again that's what good organizations are really starting to do a whole lot better. It is having that partnership, and I think from the start of the process 'til the end of the process. At the very start of it, it is trying to figure out what is the profile you're really looking for? The organization may have a profile that's that standardized idea of what they want in that individual, but being able to have a partnership between whether it's the hiring manager and the recruiter, or a hiring manager and a sourcer, those things at the front end to really outline what is it that we're really looking for. What does the team look like? Because as you mentioned, Kevin, that team connection has to be very, very strong because there's so much of a team component to selling nowadays.

                   

And being able to flow that through the process, so another part that I think is sometimes missing, and some organizations are really starting to build it in, is when they have some kind of realistic job preview. That might be, prototypically, some places have built in in their interview process having that individual do some kind of a sales presentation. Well, that's where there should be some real connection on what they're looking for and not just what a recruiter thinks they're looking for. It's what do they as a team wish to do and wish to have come out of that process?

                

And then as you get through to the actual hiring process as well, I find especially now it becomes very important to make sure that there are ways of pulling out unconscious bias. There's a lot of opportunity as you get close to that process where it's "I'm fantastic, so I'll hire somebody that's just like me." As we know, as organizations become more diverse, there's a lot more inclusion that's required. There are ways to do that by having that interview panel and having it where there are little tricks to make sure that you're not swaying everybody's opinion, and that you do get a much broader opinion, and not just be about one hiring manager anymore. I think that idea of being able to have that team approach to hiring has become more and more popular, especially to make sure that you're bringing in talent that might be a little different than what you're used to. They've been finding that that has brought big dividends for organizations as well.


It's being able to incorporate and have a real partnership from front to back in the talent acquisition process, which in the past I think it's been seen as there's HR's job here, and there's hiring manager's job here. Now it's actually just become the organizations who do it really well have it connected all the way through that process.


Kevin Grossman: Well, they have to. Not only are there more organizations, just the research organization that I run called Talent Board is all about candidate experience. I know there are many organizations across the board that are investing more in surveying their candidates and asking for the feedback, not only about the recruiters but the hiring managers as well, so there's more accountability in the process. And then the last note is that with hiring managers, instead of getting that response, "Why didn't you like this candidate?" "I don't...I just didn't like him." It's like there's more to it there because we've been working together on it, and we can actually have an intelligent discussion around what it is you are looking for because we've already had those discussions in the first place.


The last thing I wanted to ask you about in this podcast is around technologies and assessments. There's a lot going on under the hood when we talk about those things, but what in your experience, what are the best? You can talk in broad terms as well or get specific, what are the best when it comes to screening salespeople for the enterprise, in your experience?


Jamie Allison: Yeah, and I would stay relatively broad about it because I think there are a lot of things out there right now, and literally the landscape is changing every day. They range from very specific sales assessments, which I'm a big believer in assessment, whether it is a validated front-end assessment where you're having a very basic overview of what we expected of people for this organization before they flow into the recruitment funnel. But we also are finding a lot of other things as well, like you mentioned, about having that candidate experience measured as it goes through the process.


There are a couple of really good cool concepts that are happening now where we're finding out at each phase of that recruitment process what's the candidate's experience and how can they give feedback as we go. There are a couple of organizations that are really doing a really cool job of that. I think not having and utilizing those assessment processes is a big loss for organizations. When we've gone into a number, especially the larger organizations now, there is an expectation of how do we flow in things. Like in Canada, there's an organization called PLUM. I'm not sure if you're aware of that, Kevin.


Kevin Grossman: Yep, mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jamie Allison: They I know have gone into a client recently that we're dealing with, and they do have a lot of very...the same type of validated processes and validated tests that we might've had maybe in the past. The nice piece is that the ones that do really, really well now also connect the candidate experience, and also in some ways are also connecting over to employee experience once people transfer, so that that way you actually get a realistic idea of what the organization is like, you're controlling to make sure that they have a good experience of your employer brand all the way through the process, and then it translates into "Here's the culture that we are hiring into," and making it reality on the other end, when somebody actually does get hired..


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