Recruiting for salespeople is hard. It’s extremely difficult to determine whether or not someone will perform on your sales team by conducting interviews.
To help overcome this, organizations often come up with unorthodox techniques in an attempt improve their success rate. An-all-too-common strategy when hiring a salesperson is what I like to call the “BBQ test”. Essentially, it goes something like this:
- Have as many people interview the candidate as possible
- Get everyone who performed the interview together and ask them a very simple question, “Would you have the candidate to your house for a BBQ?”
There are many different spins on this technique – Would you have them over for dinner? Would you go to a baseball game with them? Would you invite them to your next party? Essentially, all of these strategies are trying to determine one thing – “fit”. Does the candidate fit with your team.
I do believe that “fit” is important, but I also believe that if after resume screening, phone interviews, reference checks and in person meetings, the decision still boils down to whether or not we want to eat hot dogs and hamburgers with someone – it’s time to search for a better way.
3 Sales Recruiting Tips for Going Beyond the BBQ Test
- Research candidates on social media. While some studies dispute the reliability of this tactic, I would argue that using this as one element of your recruitment strategy is still extremely important. This one seems obvious but I still meet recruiters that overlook the online world.
- Use a sales candidate assessment tool. Previously these assessments were difficult to administer, but with software as a service and the ability to analyze large amounts of data, assessments are accessible to all different types of organizations.
- Compare your candidates to your existing team. Look at your top performers and understand why they are performing well. This can also be done with technology but having a strong grip of what is currently working on your sales team can help uncover traits that make a successful candidate.
If you have it narrowed down to just a few candidates, the BBQ test can indeed help you make a decision, but it’s important that it is not the only factor. What you think might “fit” may not lead to an increase in sales.
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