On-Boarding is Key

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Found The Perfect Executive Sales Hire? Now Keep Them.

You have spent valuable resources: Time and money finding the perfect candidate. The thing is the odds are that your executive hire will be gone within 24 months. This is especially a widespread problem among executive sales.
You chose this particular candidate from the many because they have the skills you need for the position and that extra factor which made them stand out from the rest.
How can you beat those odds above and keep your executive long enough to enable them to bring greater value and innovation to your company?

On-boarding is the key
What is on-boarding? On-boarding is the name given to the process of welcoming and integrating a new employee into your company. Making them feel at home, wanted and appreciated.
It is a simple fact that proper on-boarding means much greater retention.

Start On-boarding before you even hire.
Begin this process right from the interview itself. Have your key employees at the interview and let them have one to one time that will naturally flow into less formal conversations.
This will allow the candidate and the team to get to know each other. It helps the candidate to get to know your company’s mission and corporate identity.
Remember that high retention rates are about keeping your on-boarding program constant.
How to do that?

Day One
Your new hire’s first few days are when your new executive employee is being assessed, but they are also doing their own assessing: They are probably thinking throughout the day, “did I make the right choice?” You need to anticipate this and let them know that the answer is an emphatic “yes”.
Most new hires have the same set process when assessing their new organization. They need to feel confident that their skill-set will allow them to be successful there.
Will they be fully supported? Will this new working culture recognize their achievements? (will they be valued). They also want to know if the opportunities for advancement are there, what incentives are there to stay the distance and be around longer than the 24-month average?

Formally introduce the executive team
Make introductory sessions part of your on-boarding and allow key members of your team to each give a little overview of their role in the team and how they will be working with the new candidate. The candidate will quickly get to know who they can go to with any problems apart from yourself.
A cheat sheet on the local area, best places for food, best coffee joints, best schools, etc. are invaluable for newcomers to the area.

Introduce key members of the product or services team
This is so useful for any organization, not just for on-boarding. Sales teams and especially executives often feel removed from the services/products they are trying to boost. Have regular meetings with key members of both sales and product departments and boost the confidence, know-how and technical knowledge of your sales staff. They can then impart that knowledge to your customers creating higher authority in your client’s eyes.
Ask them how they can feel valued
Seems obvious but asking the sales executive how they wish to be rewarded and valued for their hard work is the best way to find out not only how to motivate them, but how to keep them motivated.
Perhaps it is not just money (though money WILL be a component), maybe they need verbal recognition? Maybe rewards and incentives such as a dedicated parking space, maybe extra days off? ASK.

Try to make all rewards public
Set up a Kudos Board in a public place. This is growing in popularity in large organizations with both Google and Zappos having their own versions.
Each employee that does a great job is rewarded by being pinned up on the board by other employees. Nobody knows when the reward will happen, so it’s always a surprise, and these rewards cannot then be anticipated, leading to less entitlement.
So, keep rewards small but frequent, try always to let them be a surprise when they are given. That way the rewards do not become expected resulting in less entitled anticipation.

Reward performance
You already know that your sales executive talent is essential to your organization. New gifted sales executives must have a definite and clear contractual way to future development and wage growth potential within YOUR company structure.
One of the best ways to keep this contractual incentive fresh is to have regular sessions where expectations can be discussed. Always be open to changing the original remit.

NEVER change compensations downwards
Commission and incentives written in their original contract should never be reduced under any circumstances. Any included compensations such as retention bonus’, health plans, extra help for expensive cities should remain intact.
Show your corporate integrity and keep those original promises AND keep your staff.
It might seem obvious, but it is so much easier and productive for your company to keep your current staff (new and old) than to spend resources looking for new candidates.
Companies that have official on-boarding policies will reap the benefits of happy, motivated, innovative professionals that are integral parts of their corporate identity.
Create an onboarding program now and see those retention rates soar.
Call if you’d like to discuss this or filling current requirements. I’ll be at my desk.

International Capabilities

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Sales Hiring Newsletter,

After 18 years of establishing a North American footprint as premier sales hiring specialists we are announcing International capabilities.

Our expertise has been developed to source candidates in the UK, Ireland, Middle East, Asia and as far as Australia.  Our relationships with research and recruitment firms enable us to develop a worldwide network of prospective candidates.

If you have talent needs Globally call me to discuss.

I’m forwarding this message from Hunt Scanlon emphasizing the importance of ambition.

Korn Ferry Looks At Harnessing Ambitions of High Octane Employees

We all know that ambition is an essential ingredient for success. Now there’s hard evidence to back up that claim. Let’s go inside the latest data and look at four key tactics companies should consider to maximize the effectiveness of their most enterprising employees.

March 28, 2017 – Ambition is the raw material of success. We see it everyday in every outstanding organization. High performers, no matter what field they’re in, are fueled by an intense desire to succeed — ambition propels them forward and enables them to overcome obstacles and setbacks.

But ambition levels differ markedly among individuals — even among high achievers. Some people seek to excel in their current role and strive for the next promotion and pay raise. Others — particularly in specialized professions — are happy with mastering all facets of their chosen field and performing at a very high level. Yes, these people are ambitious, but the scope of their ambition differs from the small number of people who want to change the world, build a great company, or create a momentous work of art. Compared to others, these people have ‘ridiculous’ ambition.

Where does this level of ambition come from within an individual? Is it something that can be recognized, harnessed, and nurtured within individuals? Should organizations seek out people with ridiculous ambition and consciously place them in challenging situations?

Inspiring Leaders

Anecdotally, many great leaders throughout history have said they were driven by love of what they were doing and trying to accomplish. Mother Teresa, when on a train trade through India received what she described as ‘a call within a call’ to devote herself to caring for the sick and the poor. Fueled by a love for humanity, she created a worldwide charitable organization to carry out her work and was named the Most Admired Person of the 20th Century.

Warren Buffett seemingly was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. At age six he sold Chiclets from a table in front of his house. For Mr. Buffett, money and  investing is now an intellectual adventure that he enjoys for its own sake. He’s known to tell young people, ‘Take a job that you love.’

Similarly, Steve Jobs was driven to create user-friendly computers for consumers. He said: ‘We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better . . . If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, and challenge the status quo as much.’ Three highly ambitious 20th century icons, all ridiculously passionate about their lives, their work and themselves.

Ambition Equals Achievement 



If your needs include driven, ambitious sales performers call to discuss your goals.




Tuesday, November 8th, 2016



1. When you’ve verified the candidate has a working knowledge of your product line.

How?….It could be exposure to the business because it was their spouses or father’s  occupation or their personal hobby.

2. When the selling cycle, buyers and dollar amounts are similar.

3. When it’s their hobby and they love the product or service. And, of course, they can communicate reasons why you should let them gamble with your dollars.


Can furniture sales people sell landscaping? Can copier reps sell technology? Are retail sales skills transferable into consulting sales? 

No problem. The ability to change jobs was never more obvious than from my career. I changed from selling signs to security systems to office copiers to cellular phones to video distribution to management consulting services to outplacement services to recruiting.

If someone has performed as a sales achiever in a different industry and they earnestly want to sell the product you offer for personal reasons, THEY PROBABLY CAN.

If they are being called passionately, they may be a great hire.

AND, if you need to analyze their ability, try this…

Was their background B to B? Some sales people do better with the consumer than to other businesses. Also, consider that many sales people gravitate to B-B because they learned how to sell in a B-C environment and left because of the hours. Get a commitment here that hours won’t be the issue. You’ll probably have to guess for them if they can handle it. Is the guy with three kids who play soccer going to be around on the weekend? Doubt it.

Did they sell 8 or 10 of a product monthly or did they sell a product that’s purchased every three months? Some reps need constant “hits” of success or they lose interest. A long cycle makes them impatient and they lose focus.

Was their product technical with a long learning curve? If so, they may be the patient type who needs a longer selling cycle. They may sell 4 deals a year and do $1,000,000. If you’re asking this person to switch gears and make sales weekly then consider that might not be their style. They won’t close often enough which is necessary in a shorter cycle

Some sales people are strong at creating an emotional buy. That is with a very short selling cycle, sometimes as in office equipment or in home sales, and possibly auto sales.

Ethics in Sales

Friday, August 12th, 2016

I believe that

“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.”
- R. B. Fuller

“I gravitate toward the law, I think, certainly more times than not, because it’s our best mechanism for legislating human behavior, and morality, and ethics.”
- David E. Kelley

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
- Thomas A. Edison

“The more moral the people are in their business dealings, the less paperwork you need, the more handshakes you can have, the more the wheels of capitalism work better because there’s trust in the marketplace. Business ethics is not a joke. And, in fact, I think most businesses that I’ve dealt with encourage exactly that type of behavior.”
- Rick Santorum

“Great people have great values and great ethics.”
- Jeffrey Gitomer

“I admire the military. I guess in a world of villains and heroes, they’re my heroes. Their dedication, their commitment, their discipline, their code of ethics.”
- John Cena

Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/ethics.html

Although definitions depend on how it is used, ethics is essentially the moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.

Used as a singular verb, it is the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

PROVEN SALES LEADERS always possess this quality. Either they see the value early in their career or have learned the hard way.

I know sales professionals that have sold in numerous industries. In my own sales career, I sold security systems, office equipment, cellular phones, commercial signage, management consulting services, full length movies in the home video industry and now executive search services. There are many of the same people in Columbus, Ohio who purchased a product or service from me in 5 or 6 of those different industries. However, without ethics, no one would have purchased a second time.

Of course, there have been sales people who have taken advantage in selling situations to gouge or miss-treat clients, or have not followed up after the sale. We try to eliminate those candidates from our database of contacts when possible. Besides, there’s a certain confidence ethical sales people display in their demeanor and communication.

Solid ETHICS means you aren’t looking over your shoulder and can sell from strength.

Ready to Hire an Inside Sales Person? Consider This: 

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

It is important to know that there are many aspects to consider before bringing on an inside sales person.

In the last few years, the demand for this role has increased. And, what used to cost companies $30k plus bonus to $50-60k will now costs of $50-60k in base salaries with the ability to earn 90-100k in addition to commission.

Access to webinars and teleconferencing also help keep productive inside sales people on top of trends and information and continue to be less costly than outside teams. It appears to be a win-win as reps don’t have to travel as much and companies don’t have those increased outside sales costs.

When planning your strategy for hiring inside sales teams, first decide how you will utilize them.

  1. Are they supporting your outside sales team? Will they be setting appointments for them?
  2. How will you integrate them into your present sales process? And, is your current process running smooth enough to add more people?
  3. Are they actually selling to the end user?
  4. How will you pay them—base salary plus bonus or commissions? How often will you pay commissions? Monthly, quarterly or annually (to motivate properly the answer should be monthly)?


Who will manage the inside sales team? If it is your Sales Manager, Director or VP of Sales make sure they have managed inside teams in the past. Inside sales people have a slightly different mindset than outside and are motivated differently. Successful ones are highly competitive and need incentives that are paid sooner than later.

Candidates who have been in competitive situations in the past perform best. The experience of selling competitively is more important than knowing your product upon hire. They will learn your product or services but the skillset of listening, then selling is harder to teach than the technical side of your products.


  1. Turnover is higher on inside sales teams than outside, something you may want to consider that when hiring. Good candidates often change jobs for better environments and earnings.
  2. The more questions they have when interviewing the better. Showing interest means they are serious about your opportunity.
  3. Do they listen with interest before “selling” themselves? This is key… and do they tell stories when answering your question to better explain their past successes?
  4. Do they have a competitive background? Play sports? Have they competed on large sales teams with good training programs and competitive company plans? With top sales talent WINNING is everything!
  5. It is normally preferred that they know your industry but not always. Consider if they have sold something similar to your clients’ product or service or have experience with a similar your client’s sales cycle. Just know that eventually candidates who enter with selling skills will outperform others that are “product experts”.
  6. Lastly, sales incentives for inside sales people should be monthly, or even weekly depending on your product or service. If your sales cycle is longer then quarterly payouts are fine.

Best of luck with your sales hiring! Call if you wish to discuss how we work.

Noticeable Trends in Candidates & Recruiting Sales Talent Over 17 Years

Thursday, May 19th, 2016


As we, enter into a political climate that is focusing less on substance and more on how much presidential candidates offer to “GIVE AWAY” or “PAY TO” US citizens who vote for them, I can’t help but notice a similar cultural shift in thinking with sales candidates in just the past few years.

Our firm speaks to hundreds of job candidates every week and we’re noticing a mindset of entitlement and compensation guarantees from candidates across the board in the job market. The further we branch out to both coasts, the more obvious it becomes.


Of course, this is America, and candidates should negotiate whatever they feel is appropriate to accept a job offer. Many have responsibilities of family, education, safety and better living, but, to negotiate for more without the support or research to justify their desire, it becomes MORE just for MORE sake.

When I founded The McCandlish Group 17 years ago, if someone received more than one week vacation, it was rare. Now it is common for executives to get a month’s vacation with free lunches, free dry cleaning pick-up and someone feeding them grapes on the beach on Fridays. (Just kidding about the grapes…)

Whatever happened to working on straight commission opportunities where someone can build their own legacy by sales achievement? Or how about take a little less base salary and have the ability to earn high commissions by performance?

There is always some discussion over expectations of a sale’s person annual goals and what those are based on. Interviewing sets the stage to discuss what the new rep should sell annually and the daily activities that generate those sales. Companies need to communicate clearly defined goals up front to allow candidates to buy in or not in advance based on their knowledge of the market and abilities to meet those goals. They should ask themselves if the company set realistic goals to achieve and if the potential compensation would be worth the effort.


We’ve also noticed over the years, in most cases, that the candidate who is MOST prepared for an interview gets the job. Simply wanting it doesn’t work.

Before technological advances, recruiters had to preform manual research and cold calls all day to ensure results. Now, there are great tools online to research new employment opportunities. Ask the recruiter, Google for news releases, try Hoovers and D&B. Research is always necessary, if for no other reason than to make sure it’s the right match for the candidate.


As far as negotiating their own offer, sales candidates often inflate their worth because they have many success stories that prove their sales abilities. This false sense of security happens because selling yourself is challenging when it comes to personal valuation for compensation discussions. It’s difficult to “price” yourself to a prospective new employer when you don’t know their history, philosophies around compensation plans or budgets.


From numerous interviews through assessment profiles, anything to lengthen the process seems to be the new norm, but we’re working through it. 45 days start to finish used to be the industry average, but that process has definitely gotten longer.

Hiring Sales Candidates Out of College?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

…Better have a great training program and lots of patience!

In our world, hiring sales candidates with 2 to 7 years works better for retention and productivity.

I’ve read that college grads in the last 8 years have taken longer to find a career than in the past. It seems college is stressful enough and grads want to explore their options before going into a full time “grinder” type opportunity. Thus, job experiences right after college are short stays and internships.

Why take a chance on new grads without a work history?

If your training program is extensive, then you may be training for your competitor. If you can live with your retention statistics, then keep doing what you’re doing. Some companies train and others like candidates already trained as it is an expensive process. So those who do little training have a bigger budget for higher commissions to those who can ramp up quickly.

If you are keeping track, my guess is your hires that have 2-7 years experience are more productive with a better work ethic than first job types.

Our most sought after candidates are those with 2-7 years experience and 1-2 past sales positions. Sales people especially need to know their capabilities for how to prospect, present and close. Many in college who want a sales career change their mind soon after because of prospecting and rejection around it.

Who has great training? Companies who train their people to prospect daily and close often, normally 6 to 10 times monthly.

Software and industrial sales people have a longer sales cycle. Often they were originally trained by one of our favorites then went into longer sales cycles.

Xerox has always provided great training. Look for companies who have trained the sales person and kept them in a competitive environment. If sales reps receive a few days sales training then work on a small team without a sales culture, they don’t normally achieve what a Xerox alumni will. Cintas, ADP, Paychex, GK Uniform, Canon, Iron Mountain and HP all have the environments we like to draw candidates from.

If sales hiring becomes challenging in 2016 allow us a conversation about how we work.

Good Selling!!!!

Newsletter January 2016

Thursday, January 28th, 2016


How do your hiring managers set up their phone interviews?
Does their secretary, receptionist or office manager schedule them? If so, you’ve taken away an opportunity to hear them ask for the appointment on an introductory call, something you’ll be asking them to do.

Schedule your own appointments. The call should take on new meaning when you smile to yourself as you are grading them on their approach. Get to know each other a bit without the visual. It’s effective. Talk with them on the phone whether they are in the same city or not. Remember the phone is for setting appointments and all salespeople need phone skills. It’s essential.

A good question to ask immediately, is
1.Q: What motivates you? If the candidate is motivated by something other than what you offer, you can save some time, wish them good luck and say goodbye. Also, hesitation is not good here because sales people should know what motivates them.
2.Q: Why do you want to work for our company?
Listen for confusion or confidence. If they quickly start into why (and it sounds reasonable) or even answer honestly which may be “I don’t know yet, but if we keep talking I can tell you
if I do very soon.” That’s OK. Just determine if what you offer will motivate them or not.
3.Q: Are you currently employed?
As they tell you about their last position, or current job, keep things open-ended so they can expand the communication.
4. Q: If something makes your company different in the marketplace, get it out in the open early and see how they respond. Mention your sales process, briefly then…….Q: Can
you visualize contributing in our business model? And then WHY this model, and HOW?
5 Q: Tell me your best personal sales story… This should be instantaneous and interesting. They should be smiling as if remembering an old friend.
6.Q: Tell me about a time when you were satisfied with how your compensation was structured. How was it structured? Why did you like it?
Decide now if he’s going to like your compensation program and can adapt to it. I would only share it with him at this point if he’s seasoned, and you need it to sell him on the opportunity.
This process is about subtle selling and you’ve peaked his interest. Don’t oversell it, just close on the interview. Then figure how to get him into the fold. Many people say not to discuss compensation on the first interview. That may be true for the candidate, but for the business owner or hiring manager, it’s ok to discuss ranges so a top performer can know the potential. Top sales performers want unlimited opportunity. If you try to cap that, you won’t get high achievers. Either that or your business will plateau at a certain level. At that time you may want a sales process expert review of your methodologies.
Skill set questions can be utilized here to confirm they have sold the desired products or to the right buyers and have earned substantial commissions. I also ask what they’ve earned
over the phone because history usually dictates their future potential. If they are way out of your price range, it’s better to know now.

Keep this scorecard by the phone and keep track of their answers.
Give them one point for each yes. If they get under 7 don’t see them face to face.
Yes No
1. Are they enthusiastic about your opportunity?
2. Do they seem prepared to ask and answer questions?
3. Would I let them schedule an appointment with me if I
was a prospect of my company?
4. Did I feel that they were sincere during the discussion?
5. Am I looking forward to meeting with them?
6. Did they close by asking for an interview?
7. Are they confident and comfortable with themselves?
8. Are they asking about opportunity at your company?
9. Do you have to repeat yourself?
10. Did they sound persuasive?
11. How did you feel when you put down the phone? Were
you smiling?

Remember 7 or under, goodbye

Happy Holidays from The McCandlish Group!

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Happy Holidays from The McCandlish Group!
Thanks to our incredible clients we’ve had a good year and are excited about 2016.
The sales hiring market is still very active for this time of year. Sales candidates have many choices as we’re seeing start-ups and growth in many sectors. It appears we’ll be working through year’s end and kick off the New Year with urgency as always.
Also, manufacturing clients are hiring and that is good for all, including our country. This year we placed more manufacturing related sales positions than in the past 16 years.
This year produced numerous VP of Sales placements which means companies are investing in new strategic planning and direction to match the economy. Some VP’s work better in strong markets and others are better matched to either maintaining market share or even declining markets. Does your VP of Sales have the ability to lead and grow your business in this market?
The VP of Sales position is a critical position for any firm. The sales leader must be someone who can sell and manage. They must strategize and develop company sales processes and direction. They also need respect and support for their decisions. If they are not getting everyone on board with similar ideas and execution your company will never maximize this current market we’re in.
The outlook for 2016 remains strong as well. Companies are gearing up and building sales teams in anticipation of growing their businesses.
In our database of 30,000 sales professionals are numerous proven VP of Sales professionals that can help you grow profitably. We often can provide a reference for some of them due to past interaction.
Are you getting the most from your leadership talent?
Are they taking you in the right direction?
Are they empowering your sales team?
If the answer is no, then maybe we should talk…
SOOO… Christmas is only 2 weeks away? if you need new sales talent to start the new year, CALL ME TODAY!!!
It is the time of year companies are doing one of two things regarding their sales planning and hiring. Some are forgetting about it until mid January and others are moving forward now so their new people can get started in the first few weeks of the year. Obviously if you start a new search in mid-January then you’re into late February or even March until new talent arrives. Companies who are doing it now have a better chance of making their numbers in 2016.
The only issue that slows down December hiring is the proverbial BONUS CHECK everyone is waiting on in January. Although, many companies understand and will adjust for the right candidate.
Occasionally we are asked about sales training. I have partnered with the Sandler group in Dayton, and now in Cincinnati to assist each other in recommending quality training services for new and existing sales teams. Their service is exceptional and generally accepted as one of the top programs in the market.
After an exhausting search, you hired the right salesperson. Now what?
People spend lots of time and energy finding the right salesperson, only to discover that after six months the salesperson is not going to make it. You are frustrated because you have to let that person go and do it all over again. Sandler helps companies onboard new salespeople, so that they can ramp up as quickly as possible and be successful. Typical challenges for new salespeople are prospecting to get in front of potential new customers, understanding how to navigate the “buyer seller dance” and learning to qualify opportunities to determine if there is a real chance to win the business and if it is the right business. Sandler focuses on the art and science behind human interaction, paired with a systematic approach to sales conversations that get to the truth. If you want to find out if you would be a good candidate for Sandler, contact Jared Lockwood at 937-320-9234 or jared.lockwood@sandler.com to arrange a quick 10 minute phone call. Typically that call can help determine if there is a reason to continue conversations and not waste a bunch of time.
Sandler Dayton & Cincinnati have merged. Their locations include:
Sandler Dayton Sandler Cincinnati
2358 Lakeview Drive, Suite 150 1329 E. Kemper Road, Suite 4100-D
Beavercreek, OH 45431 Cincinnati, OH 45246

True Hunter

Saturday, October 31st, 2015
McCandlish Minutes

Mike McCandlish, Founder





Hello ALL!

Know how to find a true hunter?

Our firm specializes in this area and 90% of client requests are for hunters rather than farmers. The reason is that hunters, or door openers, make it rain. There are way fewer hunters out there than farmers.

Sure, the world needs farmers too. But it’s not always necessary to use recruiters to find farmers unless your application is critical and urgent. If the situation includes finding qualified representation for a major account, then of course it’s urgent, and we respond.

Where are hunters born? In companies like Cintas, Xerox, Pitney Bowes, Computer Associates and others that have extensive sales training. It is their culture to compete internally as much as externally. They MAKE THINGS HAPPEN as a result. When we see backgrounds with Vector Marketing and someone who has developed a client base by asking for referrals and cold calling every day for years, we know they’re ready for the next step.

Hunters are completely comfortable with someone telling them no. In fact, they don’t even hear the word. Most often they start selling when someone tells them no as they see an opportunity to turn that in to a yes, either shortly after hearing no or months later.

NO means the client needs more information.

Hunters enjoy inner competition. That way, work is fun for them. And, not for the money they earn but for bragging rights to win…. WIN sales contests and WIN at life. They like having control over their income, work hours and uncapped potential. WORK HARD- PLAY HARD is the cliché.

Can they change industries and sell your product or service?   Most often, YES they can. It’s not about the product, Someone is at their best when they’re learning a new service or product. Just by their nature hunters will spend extra time to learn to give them better ammunition in the field. We still get resistance from new clients who think the sales person must be a product expert. OK, in some technical sales, we need industry and product experience to reduce training time and represent you properly. But, hiring from your direct competitor has possible complications, just like a new acquisition for large companies. It doesn’t always work out.

You must ask,

1. Did they make sales previously because they were given accounts or did they actually generate the business on their own?

2. Does the candidate have only large company experience and can they survive in a smaller environment where they need to do more of the work?

3. What were the most stressful activities of your last job?

4. What is your motivation around working with our firm?

Anyone need an eBook version of the Sales Hiring Handbook with motivation based interview questions for 1st and 2nd interviews?  Just reply to this email and we’ll forward one.







The Ultimate Guide for Hiring the Right

Sales People


If you’re not happy with your results, does it make sense to order a free guide that may help? If you only pick up one or two hints, you could save thousands!


Email Mike for a free eBook




Follow Us!


For additional information, sales tips and our latest job openings, check us out on these social media sites:



For past articles visit the Sales-Hiring Blog!

Have a sales hiring question? Email or call to discuss. 


Free consulting with every search assignment!

What I Love About Sales…!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Sales is the one discipline that earns what they are worth. That is why our vetting includes the question, “What have you earned the past couple of years?”

Some candidates ask, why is that relevant?

Sales people price themselves in the market by what they actual earn, not what they think they are worth.  It’s hard to negotiate a higher guarantee when you’ve earned 80k with commissions last year and you are asking for a 95k base salary…

Often, candidates say “I will disclose my earnings when I get an offer…”. It just doesn’t work like that. Hiring managers and recruiters both need to know past earnings to determine if candidates are in the price range to see if they need to keep looking for candidates. Many of our clients ask for proof of earnings before making an offer as well.

Candidates are fearful that their past income will be too high, or too low to be considered. Often they say, “Well I earned $80000 base salary while I was working at ABC Company. I feel that is what I’m worth.”

Just as in selling a house, you get only what someone will pay for the house, not what you think it’s worth. AND, if you’ve already left ABC Company and are currently unemployed, someone may offer you $65000 because it’s $65000 more than you are earning now!

In many cases, companies want to see proof of a candidate’s talents before moving them up in pay. Starting over sometimes means just that…you must prove yourself again somewhere else, in their systems and processes before higher earnings happen.

Recruiters qualify on compensation early in process before moving forward, to save our client’s time and ours. When there is hesitation to confidentially disclose what a candidate is earning, we move on to the candidates who understand that it’s an adventure, no guarantees.

Lastly, do you think most salespeople would rather have a 100k base salary with the ability to earn another 100K in commissions or a 120k base with ability to earn another 50k in commissions? MOST would want the 120k guarantee and settle for another 50k in commissions…

Hunters with confidence will normally accept the challenge of higher variable earnings. More often than not in our negotiations the base salary is still focused on as the most highly negotiated number of a job offer.

Best of luck and good selling!  

Consider Compensation to Keep Your Sales Superstars 

Friday, August 21st, 2015

In your company, are the sales people all compensated equally?

I often hear that, “we offer consistent compensation to level the playing field as we don’t want our people to find others on the team are earning a higher base salary and commission opportunity. We want to avoid turnover in the sales division.”

Typically, that kind of statement comes from a manager who may or may not have been in the sales trenches themselves for very long.

We’ll, guess what? The stars WILL LEAVE without an opportunity to earn high commissions and receive star treatment. After all, isn’t it all about RESULTS?

Actually being respected, gaining recognition and having “unlimited opportunity” are what most producers want. Compensation is a given.

However, motivation is the key to sales accomplishments and if your people aren’t motivated properly you are inviting turn-over, low earnings and morale.

Progressive sales companies seem to understand each individual salesperson’s needs are different. Few join a company at the same level as the rest. Some new sales people need extensive training and others seem to get it faster.

Should the fast-learners be held back to make it fair?

When trying to set goals that will motivate each individual, take this into consideration:

  1. What has the sales person earned in their past?
  2. What type customers have they developed in the past? Retail? OEM’s? Wholesale? Fortune 500? long cycle/short cycle?
  3. How important is opening new doors in your requirements?

ALSO, when setting up sales goals for the team, you may actually de-motivate them if you don’t shoot high enough or set the bar too high…

Why do sales incentives work?

Because as a rule, sales people are motivated by peer pressure more than sales managers. Hopefully your environment is friendly-competitive so you can post results and individual performers will self motivate in a competing atmosphere that rewards results.

Try to keep your stars, create new challenges for them to grow. We occasionally discover companies who seem to be growing quickly and demonstrate excellent customer service.

We like a “home run bonus” of sorts that will keep everyone working through the end of year.

Call me if you’d like ideas on creating comp plans that work.  

How Powerful is Storytelling in an Interview… VERY!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Sales hiring managers are listening for good storytellers as they know customers will be listening as well. Storytelling is a recognized skill and top sellers have mastered it for their benefit.

I’ve read that people retain 65 to 70% of information shared via a story versus only 5 to 10% of information conveyed through statistics.

Storytellers are natural-born sellers as storytelling isn’t normally taught in sales training seminars or systems. Storytelling has a much stronger emotional impact than information that’s presented quantitatively.

Michael Bosworth, Author of Solution Selling and Customer Centric Selling, believes it’s a right brain-left brain thing.

This excerpt is from his interview with Geoffrey James on cbsnews.com:

…Neuroscience tells us that the left side of the brain is always looking for a right or wrong answer as it doesn’t tolerate shades of gray. It tends to be analytical, linear and skeptical and emotionally neutral. It also gets “paralysis by analysis” because it can never get enough information to make what it feels will be an entirely correct decision. By contrast, the right side is creative and imaginative. The ‘big picture’ right side interacts with the feeling power of the limbic or emotional brain. The emotional brain is where the ‘aha’ moments happen.

Stories appeal immediately to the right side of the brain. As soon as somebody hears “I’d like to tell you a story about the time…” the listener relaxes and knows that no decisions need to be made immediately, but instead all that’s needed is to go along for the ride and listen for what might be important in the future. When it IS time to make a decision, the right side of the brain (which actually makes the decision) draws upon the stories it’s heard in order to judge whether or not a decision makes sense. The story can actually engulf the listener and the teller. The connection during the story can remain between the two people after the story is over, leaving top sales reps with a connection that others can’t achieve.

Bosworth also says… the first step is to learn to adopt the same style of storytelling in business that you use in your personal life. Top sales reps are always naturally good at this. Top sales reps are also willing to share themselves as humans, not supermen. Buyers are human and so many sales people feel they have to be ‘perfect’. That isn’t reality, and top sales people understand that.

Remember, the best storyteller could be that next sales star you’re searching for!

Enjoy the rest of the summer and call if you need some storytellers on your sales team today.

This IS a Candidates Market

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Yes it’s true. What used to be a 43 day time period of a start to finish executive level search has evolved unfortunately into a 90-120 day much longer time period. This is not good news for recruiting firms.

In the last year we’ve been unable to generate enough urgency for clients to move, even after they’ve picked out a stellar candidate. This is mostly due to processes that require every executive in the company to sign off on a candidate.

We just worked a search for a major non-profit who wanted a consensus of 11 people before they made an offer. REALLY??? Eleven people cannot agree on anything.

My warning to Corporate America is that if you want the top talent you say you desire… then you had best speed up your hiring processes. The current environment just will not support a long hiring process. The candidate will always assume the hiring company doesn’t care about them if it takes nearly a month to communicate back to them after a positive final interview. By that point, most have moved on as candidates have more choices now than ever.

A slow process allows your competitors to find the talent you are putting off because while you attend to other more important matters, your potential candidates are having fun shopping around your industry for a better offer.

Recruiting firms I talk with are busy right now, but doing busy work that pushes cash flow beyond limits. Most search firms need boatloads of cash to support slow processes. We also must have a large inventory of searches so the faster clients get attention and we get to keep the doors open.

The most frustrating action during the process is when hiringmanagers and HR are not on the same page. Communication is spotty, inaccurate and changes frequently. Every change makes the recruiting firm have to re-start the search which creates further delays.

Recruiting is a collaborative effort that needs everyone’s buy-in that is involved. It is the ultimate team sport. If you do your part, we’ll do ours for mutual success.

We are as excited about the warmer weather like anyone, but we think it’s time to get back to work…☺

Best of luck to all in their sales hiring and here’s hoping you find the talent you want!

Are You A Sales Company?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

When evaluating your sales, there are just a few questions to think about before you run that first posting or ask recruiters to assist.

Before you generate questions to ask sales candidates and managers, please review some thoughts to evaluate yourself as a sales company.

Top producing sales people are drawn to companies that have a “sales mentality”. That is, they are rewarded for sales performance, not punished.

Also, when recruiting top sales pros, there are certain companies that are known for sales “training grounds” that I look for. Companies like IBM, Xerox, Cintas, all have extensive training programs and drive their business through sales hiring and training. Where they come from is a consideration. Top VP of Sales candidates are cultured from those environments. While going through a Xerox training is great, working at Xerox in an environment of inner daily competition is better.

Examples of sales rewards:

An unannounced gift, prize or just recognition in front of peers for contributions above and beyond the call of duty will demonstrate appreciation.

For example, an account executive spent extra time with a client for non-revenue producing activity on a weekend.

Send him/her and their spouse to dinner for a special effort. Get the family involved and make the rep proud of the company he/she sweats for.

Have ongoing salesperson of the month contests. Small companies can name quarterly contributors if they have a long sales cycle, but put something out there continuously. Top companies motivate weekly, monthly or quarterly. Sales trips, trophies, cash, and clothing contests all motivate someone. It is sometimes difficult to monitor the exact affect, but most growth companies are using sales incentives.

Constantly recognize managers who re-sell their troops on the company products and services. A kind word of recognition goes a long way to show appreciation. Everyone knows you didn’t have to recognize the effort… but as part of their model, great sales organizations do.

Take this basic example. The CEO of a construction company who builds commercial facilities for health care organizations is the founder. He grew up with a hammer in his hand, measuring and re-measuring, and berating vendors who don’t do it right the first time. He exudes good workmanship and is known for quality, seldom getting complaints. His customers are aware of his quality and they “find” him.

Salespeople don’t have to do much arm-twisting to make sales. If salespeople mention the wrong material used, if they miss-communicate delivery dates, or promise extras that can’t be delivered, the owner is irate. Sales people are not highly paid because the owner doesn’t recognize sales effort, as his houses“sell themselves”.

“Your growth has stalled because you’ve reached a level where prospecting daily for new business is essential. Your company needs to be sales driven to grow. Examine your culture and let’s put some new processes in place,” I stressed to the owner.

He’s convinced sales people are out to get him and bankrupt his company. “I’m not giving them higher commissions” he says, “they just take walk-in orders because our quality sells the home.”

My response was, “Then why are we talking?”

Internal References for Potential Outside Candidates… Are They Accurate?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Every time I contact a candidate for a client company they say “who is the company you are working with on the search?” After I tell them they say, “Oh, great, I know someone over there. They will give me a good reference. ” Then… I cringe.

WHY…when it’s great to have a mutual party that knows a prospective candidate so you don’t make a hiring mistake?

Because in the 16 years we’ve been in business I have seldom received a good reference from someone who has worked with one of our potential candidates in the past. We’ve been analyzing this issue and would love to hear from anyone with more information on the subject.

It seems that most internal references for a candidate they’ve worked with in the past were peripheral relationships. They said hello in the hallway, or worked in a different department or even a different territory and only saw the candidate at corporate functions.

In almost every situation the internal reference was not involved in the management of the candidate previously or had access to their achievements but knew them on a personal level and not usually very well. It was a casual relationship and the internal reference felt the candidate wouldn’t fit the new employer.

Was it because the candidate knew the internal reference and probably would bring bad information concerning their performance if hired? Was it because they just couldn’t say, “I didn’t have any involvement with the candidate in their previous work role so I really shouldn’t comment?”

Again, any feedback based on your experience is appreciated.


No Candidate Fee Offered:

If anyone is in need of an established sales manager and trainer type in the Cincinnati market just call and I’ll forward a resume of someone known to us as a top performer. The candidate is strong at personal selling and training as well as strategic planning.

Words to Live By

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

As we wrap up our searches for 2014, we wanted to share a few inspiring words with our readers to ring in the new year.

 One of the most inspirational people to have lived, Zig Ziglar left a deep impression on millions of people during the course of his life. He was called the “Master of Motivation,” “One of America’s Icons,” “The Salesman’s Salesman,” and “A legacy that will forever impact our history.” Before his passing, his message through his 86 years of life emphasized the ability to achieve success through a combination of character, attitude and skills.

And he was said to have impacted more than a quarter billion people. A quarter billion people. 

Is that a legacy, or what?

In tribute to his amazing influence on all entrepreneurs in a staggering variety of business and nonprofit ventures, I wanted to share Zig Ziglar quotes that have the power to change your life.

Zig’s Five Keys to Motivation 

1. We can’t graduate in self-motivation. It’s like eating; we can’t graduate in eating. We need to continue to make choices about what level of self-motivation we want to maintain.

2. The likelihood of motivating yourself is greatly increased with positive relationships. Positive relationships create a feeling of closeness and become a source of strength.

3. To succeed in selling, use emotion and logic in your sales presentation. Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act. If you use only logic, you’ll end up with the best-educated prospect in town. If you use only emotion, you’ll end up with a canceled order. Balance these keys and you’ll sell more.

4. If you feed your mind with positive thoughts and are selective about the things you choose to read, look at, or listen to, then you are taking effective action against negative thinking.

5. Success is measured not by what you’ve done compared to others but by what you’re capable of doing. 


Other notable quotes from Zig…

  • You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
  • There is no traffic jam on the extra mile.
  • Money can buy you the best mattress in the world, but it can’t buy you a good night’s sleep.
  • Don’t be distracted by criticism. The only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • The tougher you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you.
  • You must be before you can do, and you must do before you can have.
  • It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.
  • Failure is an event, not a person.
  • You can have everything in life you want if you will help enough other people get what they want.

See more quotes from Zig Ziglar here.

Steve Jobs was often quoted on how to hire. Here, we share his philosophy in our newsletter…

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

It’s All About Hiring

Steve Jobs: Hiring the Best Is Your Most Important Task

Excerpts from In the Company of Giants: Candid Conversations with the Visionaries of the Digital World

The story of Steve Jobs is the story of a young college dropout who sojourned to India in search of purity and enlightenment, returned to the U.S., and founded Apple Computer. Was dabbling with Hinduism the key to success for a 20-year-old with little money and a modest technical background?

Perhaps. High school buddy Steve Wozniak—by all accounts a brilliant tinkerer and engineer—and Jobs collaborated on several “projects” during their adolescence, including hacking into phone company networks and making video games. Yet, over time, their individual responsibilities remained well-defined: Wozniak mainly designed and built the product, and Jobs scrambled to find the customers, coworkers, and components. Eventually the projects became of value to others and Jobs persuaded Wozniak in 1976 to devote his energy to a partnership—Apple Computer.


What talent do you think you consistently brought to Apple and bring to NeXT and Pixar?

I think that I’ve consistently figured out who really smart people were to hang around with. No major work that I have been involved with has been work that can be done by a single person or two people, or even three or four people. Some people can do one thing magnificently, like Michelangelo, and others make things like semiconductors or build 747 airplanes—that type of work requires legions of people. In order to do things well, that can’t be done by one person, you must find extraordinary people.

The key observation is that, in most things in life, the dynamic range between average quality and the best quality is, at most, two-to-one. For example, if you were in New York and compared the best taxi to an average taxi, you might get there 20 percent faster. In terms of computers, the best PC is perhaps 30 percent better than the average PC. There is not that much difference in magnitude. Rarely you find a difference of two-to-one. Pick anything.

But, in the field that I was interested in—originally, hardware design—I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream. That’s what we’ve done. You can then build a team that pursues the A+ players. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players. That’s what I’ve tried to do.


So you think your talent is in recruiting?

It’s not just recruiting. After recruiting, it’s building an environment that makes people feel they are surrounded by equally talented people and their work is bigger than they are. The feeling that the work will have tremendous influence and is part of a strong, clear vision—all those things. Recruiting usually requires more than you alone can do, so I’ve found that collaborative recruiting and having a culture that recruits the A players is the best way. Any interviewee will speak with at least a dozen people in several areas of this company, not just those in the area that he would work in. That way a lot of your A employees get broad exposure to the company, and—by having a company culture that supports them if they feel strongly enough—the current employees can veto a candidate.


That seems very time-consuming.

Yes, it is. We’ve interviewed people where nine out of ten employees thought the candidate was terrific, one employee really had a problem with the candidate, and therefore we didn’t hire him. The process is very hard, very time-consuming, and can lead to real problems if not managed right. But it’s a very good way, all in all.


Yet, in a typical startup, a manager may not always have the time to spend recruiting other people.

I disagree totally. I think it’s the most important job. Assume you’re by yourself in a startup and you want a partner. You’d take a lot of time finding the partner, right? He would be half of your company. Why should you take any less time finding a third of your company or a fourth of your company or a fifth of your company? When you’re in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.


Reprinted from In the Company of Giants: Candid Conversations with the Visionaries of the Digital World
by Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz
Copyright 1997 by Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz
Reprinted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc. All rights reserved.


Remember, if you need assistance in your search for sales talent, The McCandlish Group will help you hire the best… call us.

Know Exactly What You Want In a Salesperson

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

When you post your job opening, you’ll likely end up with numerous candidates who will not be qualified for your requirements. Before you go through the qualified applications, make up a list of your desired qualifications (over and above the minimum requirements from the job opening) and use the list to prioritize the applications.

Prepare Questions in Advance

Write out and use the same set of questions at each interview. It’s best to look at each candidate based on the same type of information. You may wish to add a few customized questions for some of your candidates, but the core set of questions should be the same for everyone.


Appearance doesn’t mean looks, but includes aspects such as clothing choices. demeanor and body language. Someone who’s applying for a sales position should be spot-on in all of these categories. They should dress and act in a professional manner.

Sell Yourself and Your Company

Regardless of the state of the job market, sales superstars usually have their choice of positions. You’ll need to do a bit of selling to convince such a candidate to work for you. Prepare some information about the company in general, as well as the sales team and position you’re hiring for.

Take it Away

When you interview a salesperson, you’re giving them a chance to show you how they sell a product: in this case, themselves. Don’t hesitate to make them work for it a little. Throw a few objections their way, such as acting skeptical about something the candidate has said and see how they react.

It’s OK to say “I’m not sure this is a match, good luck to you.”

Sales stars really start selling when the client says no. This is when the real interview begins, as he can now assess how the candidate responds to objections.

How Long Should Sales Executives Stay At Your Company?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Let’s look at this from the employee’s perspective. There’s a point where staying too long at one place can raise questions about how they will adapt to new environments. Typically that is between 5-15 years.

The concern is that the employee will be stuck in the company’s systems and processes and lack exposure to a wider variety of practices and cultures, thus won’t adapt easily. Therefore anything the employee can do to demonstrate that’s not the case—is helpful. The ability to show a progression in responsibilities and job titles is also helpful. Additionally, if the employee can demonstrate that they are flexible and open to change,  their chances for moving up will improve.

The employee needs to understand that future employers may have these potential concerns. They must communicate that they have moved up within the company and handled different assignments to diminish these concerns. However, this is limited in scope.

Among these few examples, sales executives will move when:

  1. Whoever is supporting their efforts is not fulfilling delivery of products or services by the deadline. It may be that within manufacturing, the plant isn’t getting their orders out on time with accuracy, or possible software updates promised to prospects aren’t happening and even administration lacks follow up.
  2. There are base salary or commission cutbacks in a healthy economy.
  3. There are ineffective managers who may have conflicts working with their direct reports.

HOW do you stop this from happening?

Don’t over hire sales executives without shoring up production issues. Too many sales people running around and complaining that they are not earning commission checks due to support problems will create undue havoc.

Also, don’t cut territories or reduce the sales person’s territory without proper explanation and mutual understanding of the reason. If the cut can be communicated as a benefit like less drive time or flight hours then the rep may be fine with it.

Also, you’ve heard of the “one bad apple” saying. When even just one person is dissatisfied and blames support functions and people in those roles, it is contagious. One or two issues become three or four and then everyone is talking about it. This is NOT what you want.

When things do become smoother and you find yourself in need to hire sales talent, The McCandlish Group can help. Don’t hesitate to CALL US!!! We work around the clock to find the best hire for you!