The sales interview process is crucial in setting up the overall candidate experience, helping you to attract and hire the best possible sales people for your business. While a negative interview experience can change a sales person’s mind about a company they had initially been interested in, 87% of people say a positive job experience can change their mind about a position or organisation that’d previously doubted.

The best sales candidates are in hot demand, and typically will have a number of options on the table. This means the interview stage is crucial when it comes to standing out against competitors and securing the best sales talent. If you’re struggling to hire, it may be time to examine your sales interview process and see what needs improving. Here’s what could be going wrong:

Your interview process has too many stages

A drawn-out sales interview process can not only see you losing out on great hires, but also extend the life of your open vacancies, ultimately leading to longer periods without somebody on patch. Your end-to-end recruitment process should be kept as short as possible, and this includes the interview stages.

If you don’t move quickly from the get-go, many of your top-choice candidates will be looking elsewhere. Our Sales Index shows us that not only are sales candidates searching on three or more job boards, but by the end of two weeks of job hunting, 58% have had at least one interview. With other opportunities in front of them, a drawn-out interview process will only make candidates question what type of employer you will be and may see them lose interest.

Sales people want things to happen quickly, and it’s up to you to make this possible. Eliminate steps you don’t need, such as the phone interview – a field sales person’s face-to-face performance is much more telling of their skill than a phone interview, so reconsider whether this is an essential step. Look at how many people are involved in the interview process and see if you can condense this – perhaps by moving all interviews into the same day and coordinating diaries more efficiently. And most importantly, once you decide to make an offer, don’t delay!

You’re providing a poor candidate experience

You not only need to focus on the interview experience itself – you also need to consider the candidate experience before and after interview stages. With nearly 60% of job seekers having had a poor candidate experience – and 72% of those talking about it – it’s clear that poor processes can not only lead to losing out on good candidates, but also potentially their network of peers. Online reviews play a major part in the opinion a candidate forms of your company, with 61% of Glassdoor users seeking out company reviews before deciding whether to apply for a job.

Consider how you communicate before and after interviews, and whether you keep candidates well-informed at every stage of the process. Do you confirm all details and provide an overview of how the interview will be structured? Do you prepare your interviewers beforehand and ensure you have read CVs and supporting documents? Remember that sales people will want to talk shop about your product or service and how easy it is to sell, so consider the people involved at interview – an existing sales person from the team will add value to these conversations. Following the interview, provide clear steps on what the candidate can expect next, and how they will be informed of progress.

Another way to improve your candidate experience is by ensuring you’re clear on what you’re looking for. A killer sales job description will go a long way in outlining your desired traits and skills, ensuring both the candidate and your hiring team knows what’s expected. And most importantly, ask for feedback yourself – following the interview stages, ask candidates how they found the process and what you can improve on.

You’re not selling your company or the role

Just as sales people need to sell themselves to you, you need to sell your role and the company to them. If a candidate can’t see why your opportunity would benefit them, you’ll likely miss out on securing them for your company. Part of this sales process starts before interviews have even taken place, via your employer branding. Three-quarters of job seekers will consider your employer brand before even applying for a job, with company culture a particularly important element of your organisation you need to highlight. Find out what your dream candidate’s ideal workplace looks like and sell your company culture accordingly.

Remember that many sales candidates are passive, so to entice them you need to be even more proactive in selling the opportunity. Perks and benefits such as training opportunities, career progression, bonuses, company cars and work-life balance can all help to entice passive candidates to your company. Work closely with your recruitment partner to identify what sets your company apart and how you can best advertise this to candidates, before, during and after interviewing.

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Professional recruitment advice and assistance can go a long way in improving how you source candidates. Let’s talk about how we can fix your sales recruitment process – contact us here, or check out our other blogs here.