Guest post by Jeannine Johnson of PMD Sales Training & Consulting.

Jeannine Johnson 214x300 resized 600A few years ago my family and I decided to get a new puppy.  What an exciting time!  We had a big back yard, children to play fetch with her and even a dog trainer all lined up.  This decision was going to be a piece of cake!  We took a visit to the pound and met a beautiful six-month-old yellow lab.  After five minutes and a few licks on the face, we decided she was the one.  Two months later we had a wild puppy that had no manners.  She knocked over the children, had frequent accidents on the new wood floors, growled at babies and dog trainers, and refused to play fetch with anything but hot dogs.   This adorable puppy became more of a problem than we could handle and suddenly a fun, exciting decision seemed like a horror show.

So for a moment, let’s talk about hiring that next sales representative – an exciting thing!  You have budgeting, you have leads, you have lots of great candidates who are unemployed just waiting to be hired by great companies like yours, and you have a great training system that will have them up and running lickety split.  This decision is going to be a piece of cake, right?

My puppy screening woes have left me with a few words of advice on that subject:

1.)  Know your candidate profile. 

I didn’t sit down to think that with three children under the age of four, I might need a specific breed of puppy with a lower-key attitude.   Your company may need a closer, a schmoozer, an aggressive hunter or a seasoned account manager who will grow your current accounts.  Sit down and create a profile of your perfect candidate and make sure you are searching for a match to that profile.  Sales representatives come in many shapes and sizes, almost all of them adorable, likable and entertaining.  Decide what you need before you start interviewing, and make decisions based on your business needs.

2.)  Don’t shop at the pound. 

As good as it made me feel to think I was giving a home to a homeless puppy, I felt even worse when that puppy wasn’t the right fit for our family and I had to take her back.  We just didn’t have the ability to deal with the issues that poor breeding and training had left behind.  In the same way, feeling good about working with an IT recruiter or an administrative recruiter that you know because they need the business won’t make this a successful transaction for your company.  Make sure you are partnering with a recruiter who knows your needs and is passionate about sales.  You want someone who can help you create that profile and will work hard to find and screen candidates to match that perfect profile for your market.

For the record, a year after our puppy nightmare, we took in a two-year-old old husky from a friend who was going into the military.  We visited him for a few hours and then borrowed him for a weekend before making our decision.  He is a wonderful addition to our family and we have gained so much from having him. 

Hiring for those exciting sales opportunities that arise in your company can have the same results, as long as you choose wisely based on business needs and good breeding!

Jeannine is the Director of Recruiting & Project Services for PMD Sales Training & Consulting. With 20 years of progressive recruiting and sales management experience, she is responsible for client direct placement, talent acquisition consulting and talent assessment training.

 Tags: Guest Posts Sales Enablement

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