Blog Post

Three Tips for Interviewing Prospective Payroll Sales Hires

On average, every corporate job opening in the US attracts 250 resumes. But only four to six of those applicants will be considered for that job. That’s where the angst begins not only for the hopeful applicants but also for the hiring professionals tasked with identifying, thoroughly vetting and successfully securing the best prospect. And the stakes are highest when it comes to hiring for sales positions. After all, it’s sales that ultimately drive any business’s success.

If you’re looking to hire new sales professionals for your payroll software or service firm, your top assessment tool undoubtedly is your interview process. This should not be a one-and-done deal but rather a multi-tiered system designed to quickly eliminate less promising candidates and effectively evaluate your top choices. Apex HCM offers these three interview tips:

  1. Minimize time investment with a preliminary interview: Time truly is money, so it only makes sense to limit your time investment with candidates who ultimately won’t make the cut. Achieve this with a 30-minute preliminary interview conducted by phone and focused on a four-factor scoring system that quickly evaluates prospects according to their (1) resume, (2) background, (3) communication skills and (4) fit with your company’s culture. Carefully consider the quality of the writing, presentation and information on the resume and craft questions designed to give a broad but basic snapshot of the candidate. Then, schedule in-person interviews only with those who score highest in the pre-interview stage.
  2. Assign homework: Get a real-world glimpse of just how well your top candidates will communicate with prospective clients by asking them to provide an email writing sample – a skill that’s becoming all the more important as today’s sales environment increasingly shifts away from live phone conversations and toward more email communication. It’s a simple assignment that will yield a wealth of information about a candidate’s writing capabilities, resourcefulness and ability to successfully engage leads.
  3. Schedule a presentation: Of course, you’ll want to be careful not to go overboard with such assignments so as not to waste your time or the candidates’. But for those who pass the email test, a next step is to allow them a chance to prove their presentation skills. Schedule a 30-minute webinar in which the candidate will produce and give a 3-slide presentation designed to introduce your company and its offerings to prospective clients. It’s a highly effective way to see firsthand how well your candidate knows and presents your business material, handles questions and objections and communicates a call-to-action that will convert payroll sales leads to paying clients.

For a more thorough how-to, download our whitepaper, Hiring Sales Staff for Growth: A Tactical How-To Guide which can be found, free of charge, at  The Hiring whitepaper also includes a script for interviewing.