Involving Sales Staff in the Hiring Process

A client asks, “I am considering hiring another sales representative. What criteria should I use to make this decision? What do I do if I decide to proceed?"

In last month’s column I wrote about making the decision to hire an additional salesperson. Should you decide to do so, telling your current sales team is the next step. Below are some thoughts on making this process as smooth as possible.

Telling the Group

Making the announcement that you have decided to hire an additional sales representative can elicit mixed emotions from your current sales staff. Concerns ranging from territory and income reduction to fears about the new person showing every one up are common. The best way to mitigate fears and concerns is to position your decision around what’s best for the health of the business, using facts and numbers to back your decision up where necessary.

Present the Plan

If you are asking salespeople to give up part of their current territory, show them the new territorial alignment plan before you begin bringing candidates in for interviews. If they object strongly to a particular territorial decision, hear them out. They may have thought of something you hadn’t. When it comes to territory realignment, most sales representatives will try to do a little wheeling and dealing. If what they propose is fair, try to accommodate them. If you cannot, explain why. The final decision is yours.

Involve Them in the Hiring Process

Before you begin the interview process, let your sales staff know that you would value their input. Ask them questions such as:

  • “What characteristics do you think a sales representative needs to be successful at our company?"
  • "What do you know now that you wished you had known before you took the job?”
  • “What was the most helpful part of orientation?”
  • “What is your favorite part of the job?”
  • “What is the most challenging part?”
  • “What questions would you ask a prospective candidate during the interview process?”

Make sure that each salesperson has a chance to speak with the final candidates during the interview process and ask them for their opinion afterwards. When you make your final choice, tell them specifically why you selected that person and how their input helped.

Though it’s always an adjustment to accommodate a new sales representative, your current staff will appreciate being involved in the process, which will make for a smoother transition for everyone.