Sometimes when I get questions about the best hiring strategies for filling an open sales or marketing position, the movie Catch Me if You Can, comes to mind. If you haven’t seen it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Abagnale, a real-lif con artist, wildly exaggerated his credentials and work experiences. He claimed to be a pilot, lawyer, FBI agent – you get the point.
No, the person posing the questions probably doesn’t fear their hiring process will result in a Hollywood-worthy tale of being hoodwinked. But they are uneasy, and I understand why. They might not have direct experience in the role they want to fill – or it’s been years since they were in those shoes. In the case of sales or marketing roles, they’re evaluating professionals who are paid to be persuasive and sell you on an idea or product. What if they’re just selling themselves?
Thankfully, a solid hiring strategy gets you qualified professionals. Here’s what you need to do.
The Right Hiring Strategy Finds Working and Winning Sales and Marketing Candidates
Incorporate the tips below into your hiring strategy and you’ll add an A-player to your sales or marketing team in no time. As a bonus, it works for your general recruitment needs, too.
1. Have a process
Hiring sounds straightforward. Post a job, review resumes, schedule interviews, extend an offer, onboard a new employee. Then, you get started and immediately have dozens of questions to answer.
Here’s a small sample of what you need to figure out before you hire:
- Are you going after passive candidates or active job seekers?
- If you’re posting the position, which sites will you use? Will that platform attract the right candidates?
- Is the job remote, in-person or hybrid?
- Who is responsible for reviewing resumes?
- Is the resume reviewer going to reach out to schedule interviews?
- What questions will you ask?
- Are you doing one-on-one or panel interviews?
- What happens if your preferred candidate wants a higher salary or to work remotely?
Work through each step in the hiring process, and document your decisions so you’re not starting from scratch every time you have an open position to fill.
2. Know what you’re looking for
Unclear expectations waste everyone’s time, at every stage of the process.
In the job posting: You end up attracting the wrong candidates, dragging out the hiring process.
During the interview: Irrelevant questions prevent you from conducting a thorough evaluation of the candidate.
Post-hire: If the role continues to be vague, or shifts after you make the hire, your new employee won’t understand what it takes to succeed. They’ll think they’re doing a good job while you’re increasingly frustrated that they’re focused on the wrong activities.
How we get clarity without job descriptions
Our clients are never asked to create a job description for their open positions. Instead, in a collaborative meeting, we create their ideal candidate profile. The document details your company culture, what skills your employee will need to succeed, and everything in between. Talent managers then use the profile as a roadmap to find working and winning candidates for the role.
This approach is more comprehensive than a simple job description and increases the likelihood of finding candidates who are ready to win on Day 1 of their new job.
3. Measure their mindset
A major factor in whether a candidate can win on Day 1 is their mindset. Optimistic people are 300% more creative than their pessimistic counterparts. For sales and marketing, that’s a significant attribute even if the position isn’t writing or designing content. That creativity will be applied to solving problems and can lead to innovation and push a team past intractable obstacles.
How to Avoid the Fixed Mindset Trap When Hiring Sales Leaders
Improve Your Hiring Strategies
It’s about more than body language
Taking stock of a person’s mindset requires more than noting their demeanor during the interview. Nerves or enthusiasm about the opportunity could shape how that act at this stage. Body language alone won’t tell you what you want to uncover – how they handle adversity. For that, you need targeted questions that dig into specific experiences. But a word of caution about those anecdotes …
4. Fact-check the stories
A great storyteller will know how to keep you engaged as they share an experience. In some cases, they might “sell” it to you. I don’t mention this to say your candidate is lying to you like Abagnale – they probably aren’t. They’re giving you an anecdote, and as entertaining as it may be, it doesn’t give you a full picture of their results. So, listen, make your notes about mindset, and then fact-check.
Use metrics to measure results, not just anecdotal evidence
Internally, you already have KPIs or goals for your current sales and marketing teams. Use these metrics to evaluate your candidates, too.
Hiring for a brand new position? Remember to tailor KPIs to fit the role
If you’re hiring an SEO marketing expert, you ask about organic traffic and search rankings – KPIs that would make little sense for a graphic designer. Google can help you define relevant metrics, or you can get assistance from experts at a talent acquisition company.
Expertly Executing Hiring Strategies is Time-Consuming – Here’s a Shortcut
If what we outlined sounds like more work than you have time for, take this shortcut: work with a talent acquisition company.
At ProActivate, we:
- Follow a proven process that starts with a meeting
- Uncover exactly what you’re looking for and create your ideal candidate profile
- Evaluate passive candidates
- Dig deep into their mindset, background, qualifications and results.
- Won’t stop until you hire one of the working and winning candidates we’ve found for your position