With an average 28% turnover rate for sales, HR and sales leaders are starting to abandon the traditional ways of hiring salespeople and exploring new, innovative methods to find sales talent instead.

controversial ways to hire salespeople

Here are 6 controversial, but effective, ways to hire salespeople that are disrupting traditional recruitment methods.

1. Blind sourcing to hire salespeople

Unconscious biases in hiring have gotten a lot of press lately and one way companies are trying to tackle this problem is through blind sourcing.

The most common blind sourcing method being tested is to remove the candidate’s name from their resume. The theory behind removing the candidate’s name from his or her application is that it helps the hiring manager make decisions free from unconscious biases of the candidate’s race and gender.

Looking for an innovative way to hire sales reps? Ideal’s automated prescreening and shortlisting platform can help. Find out more here.

2. Blind interviewing to hire salespeople

Extending the “blind resume” concept is the blind interview. One way companies are implementing blind interviews is to remove the candidate’s name, graduation year, college, and even address from their application and getting them to anonymously answer job-related questions.

blind interviewing to hire salespeople

Blind interviewing makes a lot of sense for hiring salespeople, especially inside sales. So much of the inside sales process is conducted through email and over the phone that judging sales candidates’ on their ability to verbally communicate and win over potential prospects is a smart thing to do.

3. Not using resumes to hire salespeople

Never mind blind resumes, some companies are going no resumes. Even Google, the leader in data-driven hiring, admits resumes are a poor source of information on candidates. During a Q&A session, Google’s SVP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, said this about resumes:

Q: Do resumes predict performance?

A: I haven’t seen anything to suggest they do. Resumes are a very poor information source.

A recruiter spends, on average, 6 seconds scanning a resume. Within that limited time frame, how can you accurately assess a candidate’s skills and knowledge, personality traits, and culture fit? You can’t.


So what are companies using to hire salespeople if not with resumes? Data. Matching salespeople to sales jobs using data from psychometric assessments can lead to a 50% higher quality of hire, which translates into 21% more sales revenue on average. Who needs to waste time reading resumes with those numbers?

4. Web scraping to hire salespeople

More commonly used for hiring developers, web scraping tools collect data on the candidate’s web and social media activity to gain a more complete picture of the candidate that can’t be captured on a resume.

web scraping to hire salespeople

An algorithm then translates the candidate’s web and social media activity into a prediction of his or her potential performance and job fit.

5. Using a computer to hire salespeople

Research shows that when it comes to hiring, humans can’t beat a computer. Across more than 300,000 hires, employees who were picked using an algorithm based on the results of a test that assessed personality, cognitive skills, and job fit, stayed on the job about 8% longer than employees picked by human recruiters.

Not only that, the employees picked by the human recruiters weren’t any more productive than those picked by the algorithm and in some cases, had worse performance.

Why do humans perform worse than a computer when it comes to hiring? As the researchers explain:

People can be blinded by bias, especially when it comes to hiring. Some hiring managers gravitate to people like themselves; others are just overconfident in their abilities to predict success.

6. Using job matching to hire salespeople

The newest way to hire salespeople is using job matching (like Ideal!) LinkedIn’s data found that improved candidate and job matching is the #1 trend that will change the recruiting industry in the coming years.

job matching to hire salespeople

Our own data has found that using job matching technology to hire salespeople results in an average 32% reduction in time-to-hire.

Dr. John Sullivan argues that by reducing your time-to-hire, you automatically increase quality-of-hire because the best candidates are on the market for only 10 days on average.

Job matching speeds up your sales hiring by replacing the manual pre-screening of resumes with automated online assessments and saving you hundreds of wasted hours on reviewing unqualified candidates.

The takeaways

LinkedIn’s data show that talent acquisition leaders’ top priorities include sourcing highly-skilled talent and improving their sourcing techniques.

sourcing the best salespeople

Hiring salespeople has always been difficult and the current candidate-driven market makes the competition for sales talent tougher than ever.

Give yourself the edge and get ahead of the curve by using these controversial but effective ways to source, attract, and hire the best salespeople for your team.

ideal intelligent shortlisting platform

Looking for an innovative way to hire sales reps? Ideal’s automated prescreening and shortlisting platform can help. Find out more here.

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min