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Step 1 - The Resume Review

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share successful strategies I’ve learned, developed, and implemented, in several companies over the past 15 years. Hiring the wrong sales representative is costly. I want to help ensure that you have the tools needed to make sure you’re placing the right bet on the right person.

The first step, when I go in search of a sales candidate, is I put together a hiring profile of the ideal candidate. I divide this into 4 sections:

  1. The job description
  2. The Requirements of the job (deal-breakers)
  3. The Nice to haves (they’ve used Salesforce CRM)
  4. Information about the culture that might help the candidate "self-select", if they don’t think they’ll like the office vibe.

After that’s done, I reach out to my recruiter network. I tend to use outside recruiters (mostly local) who focus solely on placing sales reps. I see it as the first investment in the new hire. Sourcing candidates is THE most time-consuming task in the process, so why not use an expert who has a full database of sales candidates to choose from and who’s advice could be very valuable during the process.

Here’s how I “train” new recruiters to work with me, so that we can get productive quickly. I ask them to go through their database pull resumes of candidates they think fit my hiring profile. I want them to error on the side of overdoing it and not be too picky. I then review all the resumes I’ve received, make notes, and then set up a call with the recruiter to tell them what I liked and had concerns about based on just the piece of paper. This helps them start to understand the type of candidate I’m likely to lean towards and the “quirks” about me and my biases (yes, we all have them). Here is some feedback the recruiter is likely to hear from me, based on reviewing 1000’s of resumes over the years:

  • Spelling/Grammar/Capitalization issues – deal breaker (I’m a journalism major)
  • Job gaps that are too long or are happening too frequently
  • Resumes that just list what the tasks of the job were and not what they accomplished while at that company are a BIG pet peeve of mine. I need to know what you did to help grow the company.
  • Over-qualified- this is as risky as hiring an under-qualified candidate. Candidates that are willing to take a 40% step back in pay and responsibility are a no go for me.
  • Under-qualified- enough said.
  • They are still living at home in Mom and/or Dad’s basement. Ok- this one always gets attention. I require that their resume has an address and then I Google the street view (Thank you Google). If it’s clear that they’re living in a house they can’t afford I ask if they are living independently. Sales Reps. still being funded by their parents are going to be happy to live off their base salary, in my experience.
  • “Kids” out of college- As they say in dating, “It’s not you, it’s me”. My personality isn’t a fit for those just entering the workforce, so I tend to require they have at least 3 years post-college life experience. Understand your quirks and make sure you hiring around them.

Once the recruiter has a better understanding of how I’ll be looking at the candidate based on the resume I ask them to go back to their database, and if necessary start to network, to pull candidates that are a close fit to my profile. At this point, I also require that the recruiter present to me a written summary of the candidate, that might cover things not found on the resume, I might like to know.

I then select a few candidates that I like, and the interview process begins.

I’ll be posting Step 2- “The Phone Screen” in a few days!


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