Be Wary of Hiring Reps on the “Sales Rebound”

May 27, 2014

How can you tell when a sales candidate is truly into you and your company, and not just looking to make a change? Sales management strategist Lee Salz shares three interview questions to get to the heart of their motivation.

For a moment, think back to your dating days. In most circumstances, you rarely wanted to be the first person someone dated after they’d just ended a bad relationship. The reason? You’d be the rebound guy or girl — someone who was better than what that person had before, but not exactly what they wanted for the future.
In sales, Lee Salz says businesses should be wary of hiring sales reps with a similar mindset.
“The competition for top sales talent is fierce, but there are plenty candidates out there who are either out of work or looking to get out of a dead end job,” says Salz, whose new book Hire Right, Higher Profits offers executives reliable tips for consistently hiring great salespeople. “For expansion-stage companies, those types of candidates are generally easier to hire, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right strategy.

“Too often, those candidates — sales reps on “the rebound” — aren’t passionate about joining your company. They’re just passionate about finding something new.”

— Lee Salz, Sales Management Strategist

3 Pointed Interview Questions for Screening Sales Candidates

To filter out those candidates, Salz suggests asking a handful of pointed interview questions, such as:

  • What can you tell me about my company? Candidates who are truly passionate about working for your business will invest time into learning about it. If they can’t describe the products or solutions you sell, or tell you something unique about your business, it should send up red flags.
  • What’s one thing you’d change about our website or product? If candidates haven’t spent time researching those things, it’ll be glaringly obvious.
  • Why do you really want this  job? A candidate’s answer should reveal whether a candidate really wants the job you’re offering, or whether he or she is simply on the rebound for a new opportunity.

The bottom line is that the easy way is rarely the best way when it comes to sales hiring. So, while it might be tempting to pursue shortcuts like hiring formerly successful reps on the rebound (or attempt to poach top reps from a competitor), Salz warns against those approaches.
“To build a great sales team, you have to identify people who are passionate about working for you,” Salz says. “If they aren’t, don’t be afraid to pass on them — even if you’re desperate to add sales headcount. Ultimately, waiting for the right talent will be less costly than making a series of bad hires that don’t pan out.”

Want Help Hiring Smarter and Conducting Better Interviews?

hire-right-3DIs your sales organization being held back by a revolving door of sales reps? Check out Salz’s latest book:

Hire Right, Higher Profits: The Executive’s Guide to Building a World-Class Sales Force

Start treating your sales hiring like the crucial investment in revenue it is.

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What are your best interview questions for finding sales candidates truly passionate about your company?

Photo by: Flazingo Photos

Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Kristin McLeod is Senior Digital Marketing Manager at OpenView where she focuses on all aspects of digital marketing. She previously served as Director of Digital Marketing at Cayan, a payments technology company, running their demand generation programs via paid, organic, social and affiliate marketing.