Never underestimate what you can learn from checking the references of someone you are thinking about hiring and never get so enamoured by a prospective hire that you don’t bother to make reference checks part of your hiring process.
Here are some of the most insightful things we have learned from checking sales candidate references.
Great person, but not for sales – One time I received a call about a Sales Manager who had worked for me – this surprised me since I had terminated this particular person several years earlier due to poor performance. Not wanting to mislead the caller, I disclosed that the candidate was a great person, but not meant for sales based on what I had seen.
No managerial references – often we will get references that include peers, customers and colleagues in companies that the candidate worked, but no former managers which is a huge red flag. Great sales people have a long list of former bosses who’d be more than happy to provide a glowing reference.
Wait a second, they said what? – Sometimes during the interview process, a sales person will get a little over confident about their accomplishments and when you check references, you find a different version of what actually happened. Perhaps the deals were smaller, or were closed by someone else altogether.
This is how I got the most from them – A best case scenario on a reference check is finding out that the potential hire is in fact solid and worth hiring, and in addition, you find out how previous managers were able to achieve the best results from that particular sales person.
References are always worth pursuing when hiring Sales Professionals. Make sure they are part of your hiring process.