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4 Smart NEW Ways To Hire Sales Talent Post Pandemic

4 Smart New Ways To Hire Smarter Post Pandemic

We’ve all seen the headlines – worker shortage, talent crisis, and of course, the Great Resignation. While many of us are engaging in proven ways to retain and engage our most talented employees, most of us are still using the same hiring process albeit with a few technological/remote upgrades as we were before the entire world changed during the COVID 19 pandemic.

According to SHL talent insights, many talent acquisition (TA) teams are returning to the “basics” in reaction to the current shortage/departure of qualified candidates. In an urgent rush to fill critical sales jobs, it’s all too easy to forego sophisticated analytics and behavioral interviews in favor of non-predictive data from social media, typical resumes, and historical interviews.

“I know it when I see it” is a hiring manager’s default response when asked to identify top sales talent.

This is a mistake. Now, more than ever, predictive assessments and behavioral interviews are critical components of a smart hire for any sales organization. While some of these steps may take more time than the historical “basics”, the time and money wasted when we need to hire new replacements for top sales performers is immense. To lessen the time necessary for extra steps in the hiring process, rethink your current process instead of eschewing proven predictive indicators.

4 Smart New Ways To Hire Smarter Post Pandemic

One:  Stop HR Social Media Screening 

According to a 2018 Career Builder Survey, 70% of employers check out the social media sites of potential hires in an effort to go beyond the typical information gleaned from interviews and resumes. While this method is inexpensive and fast, investigating social media platforms is also rife with potential risks.  According to the law, much of the data obtained from FB, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms is off-limits in hiring considerations.

Think about it – you know you can’t consider gender, race, or ethnicity in a hiring decision, but this information was evident in 100% of the 266 job seeker profiles in a recent study by researchers at the University Of Iowa.  In addition, profile information shared sexual orientation, disability status (7%), pregnancy status (3%), sexual orientation (59%), political views (21%), and religious affiliation (41%).

Bottom Line: Use caution before celebrating this easy “background check.” You might be setting your organization up for future lawsuits, bad hires (people can tell pretty tall tales about success on social media), and negative PR.

 “We aren’t saying that the information there is useless, but we don’t yet have the tools to find the signal in all the noise.” – Professor Chad Van Iddekinge, University of Iowa

Two: Start Using Fast, Predictive Assessments To Measure Soft Skills & Adaptive Capacity

According to McKinsey, the adoption of automation and AI technologies will transform the workplace of the near future; By 2030, daily on-the-job demands for social and emotional skills (skills not yet replaceable by machines)will grow across all industries by 26 percent, and time spent utilizing advance technological skills will increase by 50 percent in the United States.

In addition, the phenomenon of “skills obsolescence” is moving at warp speed. According to this Gartner Report, one-third of the skills required by a typical 2017 job description are obsolete today. Also, the number of skills required for each job is increasing by 10% each year.

In today’s digital workplace, the most successful companies tend to have organizations that are extremely complex and are comprised of a surprisingly large number of distinct sales and customer success roles. While many of those jobs have a superficial similarity, the types of activities and behaviors that prove successful vary widely.

For these reasons and more, sales leaders and their HR team must become more rigorous in how they evaluate sales candidates not less.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. No profession puts more emphasis on the importance of personality in achieving targets than sales.

Conventional wisdom says that the best sales professionals are hard-driving individuals who can “work a room” virtual or in-person. Unfortunately, hiring top sales talent is more than disposition and past accomplishments particularly as digital innovations transform how we engage with buyers demanding sellers upskill to meet buyer’s demands.

Bottom Line: Develop a data-driven talent management strategy to evaluate sales talent’s fit, readiness, and potential. “I know it when I see it” is insufficient to filter and rank the best candidates. The use of predictive analytics to quickly attract, select, develop, and retain top sales talent is a small price to pay when you consider the real cost of a bad hire.

Quick Tip: You may want to conduct a sales talent audit of sales strengths and development opportunities for all sales roles within your organization. This provides insight to how to align your recruitment strategy to the labor market since the skills needed for various roles are changing so rapidly. 

Three: Connect With Sales Professionals Early And Often

Always Be Connecting. We all know the value of connection, especially in sales. Top performers spend years developing reliable clientele, so follow their lead and establish a relationship with salespeople who are on the way up. With all the advancements and options available for communication post-pandemic, there has never been a better time to reach out and get connected to potential future hires. To effectively recruit sales talent, hiring managers must know the individual needs and behavioral strengths of the candidate in advance of any successful recruitment efforts.

Bottom Line: Connect early and often with rising stars in sales organizations other than your own. Get to know the individual to create a long-term successful recruitment strategy.

Just as salespeople need to understand the ins and outs of a product and how it helps people with a variety of needs, hiring managers must understand what matters most to a specific candidate. They need to sell both the company and position as a good fit for people with different personalities, desires and personal responsibilities.” – Bob Bennett, Forbes Council Member


Four: Build Resilience And Hire/Promote From Within

Of course, the best way to avoid the cost of a new hire and the stress of competing for rare talent is to develop the employees already working within the company. Post-pandemic, the great resignation has made competing for new talent even more expensive and time-consuming. Instead of searching outside your organization for new sales professionals, take a closer look at the employees already working for the company. First, pair a rapid organizational assessment and company-wide individual behavioral assessments to reposition your current workforce for future success. Then, go beyond reskilling and invest in the dynamic potential of your sales team by building resilience for the long and short term.

Bottom Line: Address the skills gap, build resilience, and promote from within to meet the rapidly changing future of work.

It will be no easy feat for organizations to navigate this explosive rate of change effectively…Economies are shifting from the age of production to an age of imagination…Today, success increasingly depends on innovation, entrepreneurship, and other forms of creativity that rely not just on skills, but also on less quantifiable capabilities such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and collaboration.” – From Beyond Reskilling – Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, & David Mallon – Deloitte Insights