Let’s be real. Building a team stacked with rockstar salespeople is no easy task.
The usual process goes something like this: Writing and posting the open position(s), getting tons of applicants (many of whom are unqualified), screening candidates, sifting through the qualified ones to find the needle in a haystack, interviewing, onboarding, and so on.
Yes, it’s time consuming. And yes, it can be a headache. If you’re anything like me, your time is valuable. So why not just have AI do your hiring for you?
Well, not so fast…
Even if AI could build your sales team (spoiler alert, it can) you have to ask yourself if that’s the route you should take. Should you use tools like ChatGPT paired with AI-powered hiring software to do the dirty work for you? Or should you roll up your sleeves and hire for sales the old fashioned way?
Today I’m going to give you my expert take on this tricky issue. When you’re done reading this guide, you’ll know exactly where to put AI to work (and where it has absolutely no place).
First, Sales Recruiting is Not Dirty Work
I know recruiting probably isn’t something that gets you fired up. That’s OK. You don’t have to love it. But you shouldn’t think of it as menial work or dirty work.
Why? Because hiring is the lifeblood of your organization! Your human resources — that is, your salespeople — are responsible for bringing in new customers or clients. Without them, you’d have a hard time keeping the lights on.
While AI does have a place in sales recruiting, you should learn to love the process of searching for top talent on your own. This boots-on-the-ground approach ensures you get the exact people you want… even if it does take longer.
Because let’s be honest, nobody knows your company culture quite like you do. Nobody knows the nuanced strengths you look for in sales people, or the hidden weaknesses you screen for. And if other humans can’t help you here, there’s no way AI robots can identify the perfect candidate for you. I mean, think of all the nonverbal cues and other intangibles that you can’t quite put your finger on but you just intuitively know that it’s not the right fit.
You get it. If you put AI in the captain’s seat, you’re simply asking for trouble, or at least wasted time and money. AI is powerful, sure, but it’s not ready to do your hiring for you.
When To Use AI in Hiring Sales?
All right, so we’ve established that we can’t give AI total control in the hiring process. But how can AI be useful when it comes to finding the perfect match? Here are ways in which it can augment sales recruiting:
1. Resume Screening
The best AI-powered hiring solutions can screen 1,000 resumes in mere minutes, looking for keywords that you might miss. For instance, if you’re searching for account execs with experience selling to the C-suite of Fortune 500 brands, you can set that as a filter. And anytime the AI sniffs out language around Fortune 500 terms, it’ll flag for your review.
AI resume screeners work well if you have a large applicant pool. It can quickly narrow down a list of 150 resumes to 10-20. And you can take it from there. Just be sure you at least glance at or skim (with your own eyes) every resume that comes through. It’s the right thing to do.
2. Selecting Qualified Candidates Without Bias
In theory, the AI can look past things like race and gender, which humans simply cannot. We might think we can, but there’s something called “unconscious bias” that lives in all of us. So AI should deliver a diverse set of qualified candidates, with one caveat: It’s not perfect. Some AI tools have received subpar training, and even they can be biased… even more so than humans depending on what dataset the AI was trained on.
3. Interview Scheduling
Interview scheduling can be a huge pain. Let’s say you’ve identified 6 candidates that you want to interview. If each has two interviews, that’s 12 new items on your jam-packed calendar. Not to mention reschedules (whether it’s you or them that has to reschedule). You can see how scheduling alone can become a big hassle. Thankfully, there are AI tools that sync with your calendar and your shortlist of sales candidates to schedule (and reschedule!) everything for you. Remember, work smart, not hard.
I like numbers 1 and 3 above. Anytime we can use AI to improve efficiency, without putting it in the driver’s seat, we win back time and money. But again, you should never sign up with a sales hiring AI and then just kick back with your feet up. You must drive the thing. And that means checking it’s work for inaccuracies and other oversights.
AI Hiring Solutions
Below is just a sampler of the countless AI hiring tools available. Today, even big recruiting platforms like Indeed and Upwork utilize AI to an extent. So no matter what route you take to build out your sales team, you’re bound to work with robots in some capacity.
HireVue – Video-powered hiring platform that uses AI to find the right sales candidates
Ritual – Streamlines hiring by assessing candidates and scheduling interviews on your behalf
Textio – Helps companies make hiring decisions based on merit and (supposedly) candidate potential
Eightfold – Analyzes resumes, social media, and surveys to identify the right candidate for the job
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. So even though AI can narrow down a list of 100 applicants to just one or two, you should never let it have this sort of absolute authority. You must be involved in the hiring process.
There are ethical reasons as to why you should be involved, but there are just as many reasons that deal with quality control. If you want to stack your team with sales rockstars, then you have to give it your human touch.
Behind the scenes you can use AI here and there to free up your time for the important things in hiring: building relationships and connecting with your candidates… especially in the later stages of the hiring process.
So get out there and hire like you mean it.
Until next time…