Find the right sales recruit to interview with this simple email challenge.

Good sales talent is hard to find. Many companies struggle with high turnover rates, and waste time and resources building a sales team, only to have to start over when their new hires prove to be a bad match. According to Vanessa Nornberg, owner of Metal Mafia and Birthing of Giants Board of Experts member, there is a way to use the interview process to screen your sales recruits for the qualities that make the best salespeople. It starts with a single email, sent to your sales recruit.

“Dear Candidate, 

Thank you for your interest in the sales position at my company. In an effort to streamline our hiring process, we interview all interested candidates via phone as a first step. Please set up a phone interview at your earliest convenience. 

Best,
HR Manager”

You may have noticed that Vanessa’s HR Manager failed to include a phone number or even a few time slots of availability. That’s deliberate. Vanessa points to four qualities that every good salesperson has:

  • curiosity
  • consistency
  • conscientiousness
  • commitment

The beauty of Vanessa’s email challenge is that it tests for all four of those qualities. It’s all in the response.

Best Sales Recruit – This go-getter recruit will respond quickly but politely with a specific time to speak and request the best number to reach you. If they manage to find a phone number for you without asking, and reference that, then you’ll know you’ve got a great, high curiosity candidate on your hands. Make sure to check their grammar as well. As Vanessa says, a typo-free email shows conscientiousness and professionalism.

Average Sales Recruit – An average candidate will also respond quickly (within a day if she’s committed, says Vanessa), but with a more ball’s-in-your-court response, such as asking what your phone number is or what time & day you’d like to speak without streamlining the process by providing her own availability. The response might be well-written and sent quickly; however, the quality of the response indicates just an average amount of the qualities listed above. This sales recruit might still be good, especially with training, but they’re not killer.
Terrible Sales Recruit – If your candidate responds with their own phone number, requesting a time slot, then Vanessa says run away. A sales recruit with no initiative to find information on their own instead of waiting for it to come their way will never make a good salesperson. If their response is more than day old, lacks polish, or worse, shows signs that they barely read your message, then there’s no need to spend any more time with that candidate.
“The email challenge is a simple but potent test to evaluate a sales candidate without spending a lot of time or resources in the process.”
You can read Vanessa’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.