A lot of hiring managers equate the amount of time a candidate has worked for a previous company with “success” or “failure” in their role. In sales, that’s not necessarily true. Job tenure on someone’s resume can have very little to do with whether they’ll be a great addition to the team.
But over my 25-year career, I’ve spoken to many smart, experienced sales leaders who tell me they will not consider a sales rep if the rep has a track record of short tenure. That’s a mistake. Here’s why a sales rep’s average tenure is a false indicator of success or failure:
Short job tenure isn’t an indicator of failure.
I’ve interviewed over a thousand sales reps, and over the years, I’ve noticed a steady increase in reps with short career stops (less than two years) on their resumes. In fact, the industry average for a tech sales rep is now 18 months, according to HubSpot. Many hiring managers assume that this stat means reps aren’t performing well, aren’t committed, or that they are job-hopping to companies with better earning potential.
When this trend first started, I was hesitant to consider reps with short job tenures. But our business was growing fast, and we had pressure to hit lofty sales numbers every month. So I started interviewing candidates I wouldn’t have considered before.
I found that most reps had short stops in their career because of poor job ‘fit’. This could include sales culture, leadership disconnect, sales process, target audience, or a disconnect with the product.
I started to see a pattern. Reps were taking jobs without any real insight into what it was like to work at a particular company. And, more importantly, they did a terrible job of interviewing the employer when going through the interview process. The result was a short career stop that didn’t have anything to do with their performance.
I hired a few of these reps as a test and put them through the same onboarding process everyone else went through. They worked out. In some cases, they became rock star reps. Most ended up being very valuable contributors for our company.
Long tenure isn’t an indicator of success.
Many sales leaders aren’t good hiring managers, and they hold on to underperforming reps way too long. This is one of the primary reasons a long job tenure is not a great indicator of success. Many leaders take the path of least resistance; it’s much easier (and cheaper, they think) to keep an underperforming rep than to let them go and hire a new professional. There’s also the concern that a strong replacement might not be found, leaving a hole in the team. So, sales leaders theorize, having any rep in the role is better than having no rep at all.
There are the wrong strategies.
We created TitanHouse to solve these problems. That’s why we give both employers and reps real transparency during the vetting and hiring process. We ask detailed, sales-centric questions which allows our technology to match both parties intelligently. It’s fast, efficient and effective. Armed with this data, employees can get a real picture of candidates (and vice versa), and not have to rely on false indicators of success or failure.
Read more about picking the right candidates in How to Hire the Best SDRs/BDRs for Your Sales Team