Author Archives: Brian Wiktorski

Taking the Guesswork Out of Hiring Sales Talent

It is no secret that sales are not meant for everyone, but did you know 13% of all jobs in the US are full-time sales positions? According to Inc. , only 20% of this sales talent regularly meet their quota. ThatSales Talent means one in 10 of all employees in the US are not meeting their goals. The reason these sales reps are not meeting their quota is that most of them do not have the right skills to be successful. At Tech Qualled, we take our candidate selection process seriously so we can figure out if sales are the right career path for you.

In order to become a candidate for our Launchpad Academy, there are multiple steps you must progress through. At each step, we evaluate you and decide if you have the right characteristics to progress further. First, let’s look at our process and then we will cover the characteristics we know are best suited for a career in high tech sales.

Selection Process:

Informational Call: After your resume/LinkedIn profile has been screened, a member of Tech Qualled’s recruiting team will conduct a 30-minute informational call with every candidate to see if there is a potential fit. The majority of this conversation is to identify your communication style, career aspirations, and some background information. Additionally, you are interviewing us!

Behavioral Interview: The first interview of our process is a 30-minute long interview focused
on determining soft and hard skills, experience in the military and passion for technology. Do you hold some of the traits we believe to be successful in sales and do you have the drive to outwork and outlearn the competition? This interview is a video interview that is eventually reviewed by all members of the selection committee.

Sales AP Test: The Sales AP Test is a test we administer to our candidates that grades a variety of skills based on your personality. This includes (but not limited to):

  • Sales Disposition
  • Initiative/Cold Calling
  • Sales Closing
  • Achievement
  • Competitiveness

Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test: This test is a fast-paced test consisting of 50 questions in 15 minutes. The CCAT test helps us determine if you are quick on your feet and have the brain power to be successful in tech. In addition to an overall evaluation, we receive individual scores on:

  • Verbal Ability
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Math & Logic

Final Interview and Written Assessment: The final interview is used to determine why you think you should be in sales and to discuss examples of overcoming adversity or dealing with tough problems. Sales are not easy, so we need to know how you react when someone tells you no. This interview also consists of some written responses so that we can evaluate your written skills and make sure you are on par with what it takes to be successful. Professional writing skills are critical in a solution selling environment.

Selection Board: The final phase of our process is our selection board. All members review your interviews, test results, and written sample to determine your overall fit, ultimately narrowing down our sales talent.

Characteristics for Account Executives

Now that you know a bit more about how our process works and why we are so selective, we can talk about some of the defining characteristics that we believe lead to success. Every member of our selection committee brings a different perspective and looks for different things, but in general, these are the traits we focus on for sales talent.

Connectability: In sales, sometimes you only have 30 seconds to make an impression on someone. How you use those 30 seconds could be an immediate “no” or “tell me more”. In this regard, we look for candidates who can make an instant connection with people and have a knack for building relationships.

Sales TalentResilience: Resiliency is key: you will be told no A LOT. How will you react to it? Does it fuel you to do better the next time and focus on self-improvement; or does it shut you down and ruin your day?

Ability to Deliver: The most successful sales talent are those who deliver on their promises. If you tell a customer you will do something, you better do it. You’d be surprised at how rare this is outside the military.

Follow-up: Did you know that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up. Are you someone that gives up or do you take things into your own hands?

Leverage Resources (“Be a Quarterback”): Both internally and externally, it is important to leverage your connections and resources. Salespeople who actively seek out and capitalize upon referrals earn 4-5 times more than those who don’t. As an account executive, you will be working closely with technical engineers. These engineers are incredible resources who play a critical role in supporting your customers. Understanding how to properly utilize and collaborate with them is essential. Check out our video on the Account Executive and Technology Sales Engineer relationship here.

Hopefully, this article gives you a good idea of why we are so strict on the types of candidates we bring into the program. We want to make sure that we are setting our graduates up for success while ensuring that our partners are hiring top tier talent. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Tech Qualled candidate or partner to hire qualified sales talent, please make sure to let us know!

Top Veteran Resume Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

Transferring a veteran resume to be readable to an employer is not an easy task. The resume is your first impression with a company.  And we all know how powerful first impressions are.  It’s also typically the only shot you have at being considered further, so you have to stand out.  

When crafting your resume, it’s important to stay focused on this simple goal:  capture their attention so they want to talk further.  

The following mistakes make a resume difficult to read, giving the hiring team more reason to push it aside.  If they do continue reading, these mistakes also make the resume ineffective, distracting the reader from seeing the simple, clear story of how you’d be a perfect fit.  

These mistakes can be avoided with the tips that follow.  Ultimately, understand that no one writes a clear, concise, and effective resume in one pass.  It takes time, educated effort, and assistance if you want a resume that’s going to open the door to those first conversations.

Too long  – The average resume is read in less than 1 minute.  Keep it to one page.  In business especially, you have to be concise.  It’s not easy, but it’s more effective if you can communicate in less words.  Only include up to 10 years of professional job history, if you happen to have more than 10.  The exception would be if you have relevant experience from earlier than 10 years ago, and you feel it would be impactful to include.

Too dense with irrelevant content – To get the hiring team’s attention, the resume must first be an easy read.  If it’s too dense, it’s overwhelming and maybe not worth the time or effort to read.  Secondly, it has to make sense – connect the dots for them.  They need someone who can best do this job.  If that’s not obvious by reading your resume, you’ve lost them.  You have to show how your background matches with the qualifications for the job.  In other words, stay relevant; don’t list every single accomplishment you can possibly think of.  Less really is more in this case.  Tailor your resume to the job:  prioritize the most relevant content from top to bottom, and cut out anything that doesn’t speak to the role.

Fluff – In addition to cutting the fat on content, avoid using filler words, typically “fluffy” adjectives like “superbly led a team of 20”.  Frankly, it’s distracting and annoying.  Additionally, these embellishments could appear as stretching the truth, which could lead to concerns of dishonesty, which no company would tolerate.  The hiring team simply wants to know, objectively, what you did, how well you did it, and overall, whether your background aligns with the qualifications of the job.  Don’t make them wade through opinions of yourself.  Unless you quote or summarize feedback from a credible source (e.g., performance review feedback), avoid verbiage that appears as pumping yourself up.  Get to the point.  Use facts.

Speaking more about job responsibilities than accomplishments – Simply providing a job description stops short.  “Managed a team of 20” doesn’t tell me much – how well did you manage them?  That’s what a hiring team wants to know.  You could have been a mediocre manager for all they know.  Instead, speak to the role:  what about your performance in that position demonstrates you are qualified to do this next job?  First, focus on results when describing your experience.  Did your team receive special recognition, were your people promoted?  Second, be as tangible and concrete as possible in describing accomplishments, quantifying where able.  The idea is to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind, leaving no room for second-guessing.  They should walk away from the resume wanting to learn more.

Not speaking to the audience – Pay attention to what the company values, the language they use on veteran resumetheir website, how they write the job description.  Aim to speak their language.  You need to connect.  If writing about military experience, translate it so civilians can understand.  There are multiple websites out there that can assist, but at it’s simplest, get a civilian friend to read it and provide feedback.  Use Veterati.com, a veteran mentoring network, to find an HR professional to consult and maybe even review your resume.

Not speaking to the role – if you’re applying to different jobs, why would you use the same resume for every one?  Unless they’re similar enough, a failure to speak to the specifics of the job is like saying you’re not interested, that you didn’t care enough to take the time to do it right.  Pay attention to the job qualifications and tweak the resume so that it speaks specifically to that job.  

Errors – The resume is THE one thing you have no excuse to make a mistake on in the hiring process.  You have the time and lack of pressure to get it right.  A lack of attention to detail signals a lack of interest, work ethic and overall professionalism.  Spelling, grammar, formatting, tense are all important.  Use tools like Grammarly and have multiple people review.  As a veteran, use mentorship networks like Veterati to find an HR mentor or professional in the desired career field to review and discuss the best layout.

Personal information such as age, marital status, number of children, pictures (these may be required in some countries) are a no-no.  First of all, they’re irrelevant to the qualifications of the job, so they are unnecessary.  Secondly, it’s against the law for hiring teams to consider this information in most cases.  You should include your basic contact information: street address, appropriate email address (e.g., jane.doe@gmail.com vs. awesomejane@gmail.com), and phone number. You can also include any relevant URLs (e.g., LinkedIn profile).

For more details on building your veteran resume, visit these resources:

 

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Katie Goossen specializes in advising active duty military members on how to successfully navigate their transition into the high-tech industry and how to successfully translate their veteran resume.