Companies need an agile SDR hiring process to beat the competition. Currently, the average time to hire for a sales rep in the United States sits around 48 days. Sticking with this timeframe or going beyond it could mean missing a key sales hire. If this happens, millions of dollars of quarterly revenue are potentially lost.
Implementing quality controls to identify top candidates is critical to reducing time to hire.
Here are five methods for accelerating your company’s SDR hiring process.
1) Boost your candidate pipeline by leveraging your team’s connections
Job boards can be a tedious task to constantly update. Many new companies don’t realize the wealth of connections right within their office. Utilizing those resources is an excellent way to source candidates.
- Encourage your employees to share the job posting on Linkedin. When several salespeople share the post, hundreds of their contacts see the opportunity. Plus the candidates that do respond already have a solid reference.
- Start an internal referral program. Your best salespeople are then incentivized to dive into their connections. Chances are they know a friend or previous co-worker who has incredible sales talent. Some ideas for rewards are cash bonuses, vacation days or gift cards.
2) Add pre-qualifying exercises to the application
The resume, although an essential part of any job application may not be the most accurate indicator when hiring an entry-level sales employee. The truth is many candidates falsify or embellish information on their resumes.
Include a couple of assessment questions along with the job posting. This mitigates bringing in several unqualified candidates for an interview. Both Indeed and Linkedin have this option to include assessment questions. A good indicator of the persistence of a future Sales Development Representative (SDR) is someone who answers them fully. Some examples include:
- “Why do you want to work in sales?”
- “How many years of sales experience do you have?”
- “What is your target salary?”
- “When would be your ideal start date?”
3) Schedule phone screens within 24 hours
Research shows the best candidates spend just ten days on the job market before being hired. It is time-sensitive to reach out to candidates that pass the initial pre-screening process. Contact candidates no more than 24 hours after their profiles have been selected by the hiring manager.
Your company’s brand image should be professional and serious about finding the best talent. Candidates that receive immediate follow up will be much more interested.
To get the most out of this stage, set the duration of the call to 10-20 minutes. Orient the call about their general knowledge of the company.
Effective SDRs always do their research before speaking with a lead. Any candidate that can verbalize their interest in the company and demonstrate prep-work, might be worth advancing to the next stage. Those that know nothing about where they applied can be a quick write-off.
4) Efficiently organize your interview workflow
Now you have candidates in your pipeline and several have passed the preliminary stages. It is time to meet them. Instead of having each one come in for multiple in-person interviews on different days, try to schedule them back to back.
(e.g. the candidate meets with HR rep for 30 minutes, then interviews with the SDR manager directly after, etc).
Each manager can come together and immediately compare their feedback on the candidate. This eliminates time-consuming coordination and provides a more streamlined candidate experience. They also get a more holistic view of the company and the expectations of the role.
Another option is to try to schedule all the top candidates for interviews on the same day or at least in the same week. The hiring managers then have the chance to make side by side comparisons and come up with a decision more quickly.
Be careful not to schedule too many on the same day. Various candidates waiting around the office for the same job can reflect poorly on the company.
5) Develop a unique interview rubric
An interview rubric is a more data-driven method to find your next SDR. Set a scale for what traits make the most ideal hire. Clearer expectations for the candidates are created and those that possess them are propelled into the position.
Below is an example of an interview rubric. Download the template here
Design your interview questions around specific points in the rubric. The interviewer can then grade the candidate on their responses for each category. For example, when assessing “Desire for Personal Growth” you could ask the question:
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
To evaluate “Culture Fit”, a good question is:
- “What characteristics of a company do you look for when applying for a position?”
With these techniques set into your hiring plan, talented candidates will advance through each stage faster. The hiring process is more routine and easier to eliminate unnecessary steps. A candidate pipeline develops and creates a long-term oriented vision for the process. Move ahead of the competition by hiring with agility and never lose out on top sales talent.