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All businesses can relate to the challenge of finding the right sales people. Most hiring managers base decisions on candidate background and technical skills and often find themselves later firing those same individuals for having a bad attitude. The lesson managers can learn from this is that hiring based on those criteria alone is not enough; they also need to define and assess soft skills and the ability to solve problems in their potential hires.

Katherine Graham-Leviss, author of “The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide to Hiring, Developing, and Retaining Top Sales Talent,” explains, “Having a systematic, ongoing process for hiring will give you a clearer path for hiring the right people for the job.”

Graham-Leviss offers the following tips to help in evaluating candidates for your sales team.

Define the job. Develop a customized description that includes soft skills and problem-solving skills to attract top sales performers. Interview those that know the job and outline realistic performance standards.

Benchmark the job. Using assessments to benchmark the job will increase the accuracy of your job definition and match the best candidates to the job. Identify the soft and problem-solving skills that are most important to the job and determine at what level they are performed by those who are successful on the job. Assess the “Three Cs”—Competencies, Cognitive Abilities and Core Values —to provide insight into the best predictors of on-the-job success.

Screen and interview. Scan resumes for accomplishments including specific sales figures, computer and technology skills, and involvement in competitive activities to narrow the talent pool. Screen candidates prior to face-to-face interviews, and prep interviewers with the job description, performance standards you developed, candidate resume, and Three C questions based on the job profile.

“Create an interviewer evaluation form to compile responses, and take detailed notes so you can fairly and accurately assess candidates later,” recommends Graham-Leviss.

In addition, Graham-Leviss advises managers to assess top candidates using an assessment that provides multiple perspectives. This will also provide the information needed to create a development plan once hired.

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