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Executive Forum - Hiring internal salespeople

March 07 2008

When hiring internal salespeople for your staffing firm, experience counts along with other qualifications, according to a panel discussion on best practices in recruiting and training internal staff Thursday at the Staffing Industry Executive Forum in Lake Las Vegas NV.

Panel member Scott Wintrip, founder and president of StaffingU, said staffing firms should look at "who, why, what."

For many firms, "they're putting way too much (emphasis) on 'what,'" Wintrip said.

In weighting the importance of "who, why, what," 70% should go to "who," he said. Employers should find out if the candidate for an internal sales position at a staffing firm is curious. These workers will ask more questions from clients to gain a greater understanding of clients' needs. "Who" also includes integrity and attitude.

"Why" should get 20% of the ranking. What's motivating them to come to your firm, Wintrip asked.

"What," which includes things like experience, should get 10% of the weight in making a decision.

Also on the panel were Robin Mee, president of Mee Derby and Company, and Jeff Elias, senior VP of corporate services at Westaff Inc.

Mee said she looks for salespeople who can influence and control a conversation and are moderately to highly extroverted, but analytical skills aren't as crucial.

Experience is a must. "People come to me looking for experience," said Mee, whose search firm places professionals in the staffing industry.

Elias said he "looks at salespeople that are bright-eyed and bushy tailed." Often they are three years out of college and many have backgrounds in sports. For sales managers, Elias said he looks for those with five to 10 years of selling experience, an understanding of metrics, and an understanding of the relationship build-sell.

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