Read Between the Lines: Find a Great Candidate From a ‘Bad’ Resume

Many people think recruiters simply match job requirements to resumes. For any recruiter that is good at their job, this is a myth. At Treeline, we are solely focused sales recruiting, the advancement of sales professionals and there are so many factors that go into what makes a good salesperson. More importantly, “good” means different things when working across a wide range of industries, company cultures’, thought leadership, and a million other things that make up organizations in the market today. 

While we make recruiting easy for our clients it is actually very complex. Not only do we as recruiters need to quickly understand different organizations and roles, but we have to be able to position our recruiting methods to find and place the right talent. A bad resume can block a great sales candidate from even hearing about good opportunities. 

Does a Bad Resume Equal a Bad Candidate?

Not necessarily. In an ideal world, the resume would be well formatted, grammatically correct, and for a salesperson – have key metrics that make sense. However, the ideal almost never happens. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve almost looked past a candidate because of the less than impressive quality of their resume, but taken the call anyway. Successful salespeople are like-able. They have a story and an ability to relate to other people. This makes people want to build relationships, and ultimately buy from them. The best sales candidates I’ve met and worked with have had life struggles that have shaped the person they’ve become. They’ve experienced pain, and hard times and they’ve pushed through them to come out on the other end successfully. Those people have not had everything handed to them. They’ve developed one of the best attributes a salesperson can have – grit.

Sometimes those great people have movement on their resume, they have made a bad career move. They’ve gone through things that have caused them to have a “bad” resume. When you look past the resume and get to know the person, you hear the story. You learn about the struggles and hear about what they’ve overcome, about what is really important to them. As a recruiter, this is what I care about. I can get anyone a job offer but that’s not why I am successful. I need to find the person that will be the right fit for the job, and if I am successful that person will stay and sustain a healthy career, which is the ultimate goal for our candidates and our clients. Any recruiter that keeps things at the surface level of a resume isn’t going to get top talent and ultimately isn’t going to be good at their job.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are “perfect” people on paper but that doesn’t tell you that they’re going to be good at their job, or be a match for your organization. People are deeper than a piece of paper. Good sales recruiting is not a black and white process.  People are complicated and you will never learn this from looking at a piece of paper. 

If you are just getting started and struggling to find talent sales professionals for your company here are some basic things to look for and not to overlook:

What to Look For:

  1. Working while in school – If they had a job during school and paid for their education then  they are hard working and organized.
  2. Sports or extracurricular activities – I always look for these on a resume, especially for more entry level roles where experience is limited.
  3. Business clubs and leadership roles – These activities on a resume is something that everyone should be looking for, especially for a sales role.

What to Not Overlook:

  1. Don’t automatically pass over what we would call a “hopper” – Just because they had a couple years of hopping does not mean it is a pattern. They might have a personal reason or they just made a couple poor professional decisions. If it has not occurred their entire career, the blip is likely justifiable. 
  2. Don’t just pass because they have limited experience- They might have been promoted in their current role which tells me they are quick learners for your role. Especially if they come from your industry. These candidates might seem unqualified but if they know the industry, they can ramp up faster and contribute to revenue number faster!
  3. Don’t judge – start your interview process with an open mind. People are complicated and until you speak with them a piece of paper will never truly give you a strong understanding of their background.

Final Note

Ultimately know your role and what you need before you start looking. Analyze your current reps who are most successful and mimic their profile. If your top 2 or 3 reps all have a specific industry experience, look for that. The ideal strategy would be to speak with every person that sends you a sales resume. If you don’t have the bandwidth to accomplish this, think about partnering with a sales recruiting company like Treeline to supplement your efforts and make sure you find the sales talent you need.

2019-07-23T14:01:33+00:00July 16th, 2019|Categories: Best Hiring Practices, Sales Recruiting|

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