WeDisrupt Sales Podcast

Episode 9: Christine Rodgers, President & COO @ Aspireship on why your interview process is all wrong, how to re-think candidate testing and why the 'copy and paste' job description needs to disappear

September 29, 2020 Vaseem Khan | Will Chivers Season 1 Episode 9
WeDisrupt Sales Podcast
Episode 9: Christine Rodgers, President & COO @ Aspireship on why your interview process is all wrong, how to re-think candidate testing and why the 'copy and paste' job description needs to disappear
Show Notes Transcript

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Christine Rogers, President & COO of recruitment disruptor, Aspireship

Christine has a rich background in both talent development and talent attraction. She has scaled sales teams from the ground up for the likes of Infusionsoft

Christine will be tackling THE most challenging and time-consuming tasks for all sales leaders; Talent Selection.

Typically, Sales leaders spend 33% of their time sourcing sales talent. 

Have you ever felt like the right candidate doesn’t exist? 

Maybe after a gruelling interview process you still can’t make a decision, is this candidate the right fit? 

We talk about; 

- Why your interview process is all wrong,

- How to re-think candidate testing

- Why the 'copy and paste' job description needs to disappear

The episode is available across all podcast mediums.

Unknown Speaker :

Hello and welcome to a short sales podcast. My name is Will Chivers. I'm driving my cars for sale calm. And we're here to interview some of the world's most influential sales leaders, revenue officers and executives on the planet. episode nine, we've got sales podcast. Good to be on the show today. What are we going to talk about? Today we have Christine Rogers, she is the President and CEO of a company called a sponsorship. And Christine will be tackling probably the most challenging and time consuming task for all sales leaders. Talent selection, typically, we see salvia spend 33% of their time, sourcing new sales talent, but have you ever felt like the right candidate doesn't really exist. Or maybe after a grueling interview process, you still can't make a decision on whether the candidate is a right fit or not. We talked about how you can rethink your interview process, change your approach to candidate testing, and start choosing a message to engage the talent, find the right personality, and find that person that's going to be the spearhead of your business. I hope you enjoy the show as much as we did. Brilliant. Let's get to the show. Christine, it's an absolute pleasure to have you on the show today be great if you could kick off with a little bit about yourself and what got you into sales. Thanks for having me, you guys, this is gonna be so much fun. So Christine Rogers, I am currently the president and CEO of a company called Aspire ship. We are a newer, we haven't even been around a year yet. technology startup that focuses specifically on training individuals who want to get into sales. And if they can successfully pass our course, then we introduce them to companies, tech companies that are looking to hire. So that's kind of the gist of what we do. My journey getting here was really, over the last few eight, nine years, I've been in sales leadership at SAS companies, and have been tasked with recruiting, building, enabling onboarding, all of those things and getting great people in the role. So I know how painful This process can be. And also, you know how difficult it is to really understand if the people that you're seeing if you know, the people that are filling out for the jobs, if the ones that we're going after and recruiting if they're really going to be successful in the role. And it's like a crapshoot. So we're trying to solve that giant problem with with a fellowship. Nice, and you've had multiple sales leadership roles, right. And I'm guessing the biggest reason why you started this by shoot was was down to some some really big problems that you just mentioned. So can you just bring to life a little bit more, for all of you is in terms of what that problem really looked like? And what made you want to make a difference in that space when it comes to talent hiring and talent selection? Sure, you know, so I, I think I probably speak for a lot of different sales leaders that are listening to this. And that it's very difficult when you have a revenue target to hit or a new, you know, customer acquisition number to hit, and you don't have enough people carrying the quota. So you're literally having to push and I would do the same thing. I'm pushing my team. So I need them to overperform in order for me to hit my number, because I don't have enough people, the right people carrying the quota, or I got people in the door. And I know they're not going to on ramp I know they're I'm now seeing the science that like yeah, you might have that quote attached to me, but there's no way he or she's going to hit. So now I got I have to figure out what I'm doing. So that was a fundamental problem. And I started realizing this is systemic. This is not just me, this is you know, every sales leader I'm talking to is, you know, because we all have budgets, we all have to be careful, we're all a third of our job is recruiting and trying to find great talent, and it's taken a ton of time. So we're really invested in the people and hoping to God, they're gonna be able to do it. And then when they can't, they're like, you know, and we got to figure out what to do. So yeah, you know, the other two thirds of our job is is Hitman, Hitman number. So, you know, that was really obvious for me that this was not just me, it's a lot of us that are dealing with that. And so we started thinking, you know, if we could already help people, learners, people that are showing grit, the characteristics that we're looking for in individuals that has proven to be successful time and time again, and also that we can, we can create for them the way to demonstrate that capability, actually don't need them to have bullet points on their resume that shows the tenure, the experience, the education, you know, they need, sometimes we're seeing, you know, these job descriptions, they're gaining bachelor's degrees, and everything's like that, actually, no, we don't need any of that we can make, we can help enable and create people that can do this work, if they have the makeup of those individuals like the characteristics that we're looking for, and also their capability to be adaptable and Learn? And that's what they prove through our course. No. So I think probably the biggest moment that I see Saudis go through is the do they exist type moment when it comes to the dream sales candidate? And I think something that you said just that I think interests me in terms of maybe it's a misconception of what you need, and what qualities you're actually looking for. So can you just talk a little bit more about the learnings that you had from potentially how you started off thinking about what the right sales hire is? So what you think now is a great criteria and a great benchmark to go? Okay. This is the kind of person that I know is going to be right. Sure. So I'm going to stick with one of the most important things is that they can learn, yeah, because I need to know that I don't actually need industry experience, I don't need you to come in knowing about, you know, knowing how to do all of the things, what I need to know is that you have the capability, you have a pace that works. So I'm looking for adaptable learners. So, you know, I could list off a whole bunch of things. But what I'm seeing time and time again, is the people that can get through this coursework, which is both hard skills of sales, you know, so we teach us an actual sales methodology. But also, it's so soft skills on like, how not to annoy everybody, how to be a good team player, what is the day in the life actually look like? Because a lot of times, we hire people, and they're adapting to be there, they can do it. But are they like, energized by it? So if I can create an environment where they're really feeling Ooh, you know, what, huh? That roleplay didn't, I didn't do very well on that they're watching themselves back. And then they watch somebody else do it well, and they're like, I don't know if I actually like this will good. If you don't like it. That's okay. A lot of people don't finish our course. Because they get through it. And they're like, actually, really, is this not is not for me. Good. It's not for everybody. But the people that get through it and are like, man, I am pumped. I actually know this is for me, I am excited, I did the job within the course. So I actually know what it's gonna feel like to do it. You know, we all know how uncomfortable role plays and things. You know, so once they have to do that, they really start feeling it, they start feeling we're giving them the sense of what it was like to be in this job. So I think that's really important. Nice, it'd be really good to understand what you look for when it comes to hard skills and soft skills and how you trying to approach it in the interview process. So in the interview process, okay, so when I'm thinking about the interview process, so much of soft skills has to do with communication. So I am in just a way that they think one of my very favorite things that I did when candidates get to the final stage of an interview with a B, is I actually put the first question that we do on the board, I put up five good things on the board. So I put, you know, working for a cultural, like culturally focused company, career progression, learning and development being like a better human, you know, I put a bunch of things on the board. And I actually say to them, because they're usually pretty nervous. So actually say to them, I just want you to list those in order of importance. I also put financial gain, by the way, financial gains on there, too. So I say, list them in order of importance, there's no right or wrong here, I just want to I just kind of want to understand you. And, you know, they I said one, you know, one being the most important five being the least, and we let them roll. And I watch. And what I want to know is I just said Why did you pick that order? And I have them communicate with me, there is no right or wrong. But what it does is it allows them to sometimes they're sometimes they're doing what they think I want. So if you're a sales rep, and you put that financial game is the least important to you, you're probably going to get a little something from me, I called them is that really true? So are you telling me I can pay you $10,000 a year and you'll be happy with that? And then they're like, okay, so why don't you actually put what you really think because at this point, you've got about one minute to change your answers and come to me with who you are cuz I actually don't care about this. I just need to know you. And it starts to really unlike it's uncovers all the interesting things about them, and I'm watching for how they communicate, how they justify their answers, how they think about life, and start to understand if they can communicate with me as somebody that's kind of making them nervous. And I know this probably a little bit like not PC to say but when I feel handled like they can handle me even in my energy when I'm pushing back when I feel then I know Okay, all right, we can do this dance. This is probably going to be okay. This individual if they are capable, and if they've proven themselves and those characteristics along the way, these are some ways that in an interview, I can kind of carve it out start to see a little bit more than nice. I think the big thing that stands out to me there is kind of never taste, never taking anything for face value. Because I think that that's probably the biggest thing that I see a struggle is that we ask a question, we ask a question, we get an answer. We're not too sure when we turn it away. But I think especially in the earliest stages of an interview process, when potentially, you know, sales people that are aspiring salespeople only know the qualities that they've seen online, or they've hypothesized about from friends, that I think often the you can you can get, you can get put in a tunnel that perhaps isn't you. So I guess your biggest thing is never take anything for face value and test what they say. Okay, tell me why? Why is it most important if you're putting that, you know, learning is really important for you probably going to ask you, what are the last two books you read? What was interesting about it? Or what's an article you read yesterday, you know, or recently, or tell me what you've learned? What was something you've learned recently, you know, like, I'm going to ask the follow up questions. Because if you just think I want that, if people are watching what I post on LinkedIn, they know I'm really into it, they're gonna probably say things that they think I want to hear. And I actually don't care, I just want to know you. Because I've had people line up those five things, all different ways. And I've hired them. Because what they know is, they know themselves. I need you to know yourself. I need you to know your gaps. I need you to be able to be introspective. And also to be able to articulate who you are, where those things are in your life. And like what you're doing with me here today. Like why, why why this? You know, why are you interested in working with us? So those are the things I think, that are always such an interesting thing, isn't it? I mean, we're just in a place where we learn so many human experiences through this, which is so cool. Just so cool. So what advice would you give to, you know, so when we, when we speak to CEOs, and sales leaders, you know, their two biggest challenges are sales, recruitment and sales, onboarding, what I read a mad statistic like it can take up to 52 working days to fill a technology sales role. And when you look at, that's up to 10 weeks, and considering there's only 12 weeks in a quarter, and the average ramp period is anything from three to six months, how can sales leaders, I guess, number one, sort of accelerate attracting and interviewing the right sales talent, but from there onboard the sales talent, they've been identified quicker, so they can hit target quicker. And well, I do believe that one of the ways that you know, for us, this is why we built this platform, because I want to see, so on their own time, people are doing this work. And we're giving them a sense of what the job is like. So I believe any good hiring process with any, you know, any role, actually, and I'll, I'll talk about a couple of different roles, but I think it's really important to let people experience the job. So we just very, very recently hired a growth marketer. And what we did with her is I, we actually had one of our students that graduated, she got a job, we had her, give us a testimonial. And so for the people that were coming up for this role, we said, Here is what she said this was an interview. And we actually the the candidate that we had for the role, we said, I want you to do this work, I want you to do whatever it would take to make a case study or make you do something with this information here. And we paid her for the job. Because what we're saying is, I want you to do this job. And you know what I cared about? Yes, I cared about how she executed on it, I gave her we only gave her 48 hours. I mean, so we added a tight timeline in there just to see if she could hang and how she would solve it. It showed me how she prioritize. But it misses all those things that have to do with this job. But you know what the most important thing for me was is how did it feel when you did it? Did you like it? Because at the end of the day, this is what you're going to be doing all day, every day. And she was like, here's what I loved about it. And she could articulate all of the things. And I think no matter what, you have to be able to give people a sense of the job. So they know, eight hours, 10 hours, however, I mean, we're spending more time with our work people than we are with our families most of the time. So like if you're not, if your energy isn't kicking up when you're doing certain things, if your energy is just consistently drained, you know by something because you're having to adapt to that. That is not what gets people to stick and to stay and to be enthusiastic and more importantly, to to like love it and perform. You know the people that love their jobs, the people That level working, you know how they are, they're going to give you 110% 120%, they're going to come to you and say, I'm doing it for you. Because I know right now we're behind. And I don't I don't need it. But the guy on my left and the, you know, on my right, and she's not performing, I'm going to do more. Not Yeah, those accelerators are pretty sexy. But I'm going to do more because of team. And I'm going to do more, because I care about you, Christine. And I know that your neck is in the news. What can I do? I mean, that's where you get, that's where you get exponential performance. That's where you get people that are really excited, because you didn't do them into getting a job that they didn't really love. Yeah, absolutely great. And what would you say is, is the biggest education point and challenge you have? when introducing those kind of concepts, and new VP, VP of sales or CEOs that potentially they may need to change their process to be able to see that kind of way? So I think most of the time sales leaders get exactly what I'm talking about. I will tell you like, I have yet to speak to any sales leader that was like, I don't get it. They're all like, yep, that's exactly what I'm dealing with this is because like, I think we're the same, we're all dealing with the same systemic issues where we're trying to test them out. So it was really interesting. I have a client right now they're hiring too. They're hiring to SDRs. And when we actually got into what's your internal hiring process, there was no test. And so I said, hang on, they've already been tested by me, but I think you need to test them. And so, so what because they were also bringing people from outside. So they were they were interviewing some people. For me, they were interviewing the people from outside who were applying as well. And I said, there needs to be a test where they actually do the job. And it's was specifically for an outbound SDR role. So I said, let's give them a let's actually give them what their day will be meaning go and five, five prospects. How would you if you pick one of the five? Explain why, you know, and we, I basically said, this is how I would craft this assignment, give them a due date, and see how they think. And, you know, fascinating, because the people that did well, were the people that were like, I actually don't know every part of this, but I'm going to go do some searching and figure out, you know, so they were popping on to influencers and saying, What might my email look like? What would this be? One of them actually included a video that I would actually video this guy, john, and I'd be like, hey, john, and he did the video in the assignment. It was like, Yes. Because they're trying out the job. You know, what another person another candidate that they had wrote back and said, Yeah, I'm not going to do this project, I realized, this is not what I want to do, guys, that's a win. That's great. You didn't waste any more time with that individual. And you showed them what the job is. So if they're not feeling enthusiastic about it, like this is good. This is really good. So I think these things, I think it's really important to allow people to feel it to really feel it. Yeah, absolutely. What Did it teach you about the right str? I believe good. SDRs are better because they know about how to get to a decision and they know what comes after them. I will say that the thing that I'm saying about SDRs is number one, you have to be you have to be up on what is working and what isn't. You know, there's constant question right now. And you know, even what was working in January, think about what's happened over the last few months, things have gotten nuts. So even relevancy, personalization, automation, all of those things, you have to be consistently listening, thinking following people that are gurus in this space. Because I'm not, I'm not an outbound guru. I'm not. I'm not Josh Braun, I'm not one of these other people that like literally knows, you know, here is try this one. I, we just sent this out to 1700 people, these are the stats, like you've got to be resourceful and you better be on it. So I will tell you if that if that project came back, and it was just like, you know, here's what I would send them on email, here's what I've done, I wouldn't have done it. I would do I would want different modalities. How are you reaching me differently? What is that voicemail sound like? What you know, what is the video look like? All of those different things. And so I think resourcefulness I'm going to stick with they have to be able to learn. They have to be freakin agile. And you have to know how to communicate it succinctly and in an effective way. And that's not going to be cookie cutter. So those are the things right now that I'm seeing as far as SC Rs. Because I have SDRs going into roles that were there like the second or third SDR. They're not rolling into full giant teams with processes and enablement function to support them. Sometimes they're walking in, they're like, What do I do? Yes, you might have to create some, a little bit of a playbook for yourself a process, different things like that. We're here to support Court, you know, that's what we met the other pieces, we do support them once they're placed. Yeah, but it's hard. I really like this concept of project and getting getting people to do the job before they're actually in the job. Because that then gives them a good, good sense of like, is this for me. And that will also help accelerate their onboarding and getting them to be successful quicker. So yeah, so I think that's awesome. And I guess that leads us nicely into sort of this whole concept of, of job descriptions, and so forth. And what I really like about what you guys do is you kind of you kind of tear up the whole job description piece, and kind of flip it on its head. So can you talk us through, you know, what your thoughts are on the traditional job description, and what needs to change around the job description, per se? Sure. So a couple I mean, there are a lot of people that have a lot to say about this specific topic, because I think it's really relevant right now, I would say, a couple of things is the requirements sometimes cause people not to apply. And that's literally what we're basically doing is helping our candidates kind of jump the line, because some, you know, applicant tracking system, some ATF systems will literally weed people out because of their resume doesn't hit this, and it doesn't, you know, they don't have two to five years of SAS experience, they're not having these types of things. So when those requirements are such that it causes people to actually, you know, not apply or apply and get weeded out right away, because they don't have maybe the education, you know, the bachelor's degree or something like that, which I cannot even believe it's still a job descriptions for salespeople, but it is, I mean, and so, so for us, what we would say instead is, you know, make sure that what you're looking for is like that, that they can do the job. So communicate, be able to understand a sales process and methodology, you know, being really clear about what you're looking for. I mean, I will tell you that when we present a candidate, the resume and their LinkedIn profile are the last things we show, the first thing we show is we actually show them doing a roleplay in product. So they can see them do it, it's one of their final exam pieces, they could we either have audio only, which is helpful, if you want to hear how they are on the phone, and you see what prompts are being given and how they do it. And then the last one is, is a video that they think is going to be a closing call. But then of course, the prospect comes back with a whole bunch of additional questions that never came up at the beginning, you know, so we're trying to really emulate life. And I can tell you this, presenting that way, is fascinating sales managers. VPS of sales are like, wow, I'm actually seeing them do this. And that's more interesting than trying to decide if it matches up on my job description that has kind of some arbitrary things. I mean, most of the time, we're going to be honest, if we're writing a job description, we go online search for one and kind of then tweak it, right. That's all we all do. That's why they all sound the same. You know, we all do it, because who wants to actually write a brand new job description? So we get a little bit lazy? Because it's so taxing? So I would instead focus on Yes, what are the key? What are the things we need to see in capability and like aptitude? And like what do you have to be able to do? So how do you qualify that right? So if you if you look at the you know, the traditional onboarding process or hiring process, you'll get HR to write a job description, sales management will kind of have a have an input into that job description, that job rep will go out and, you know, candidates will look in apply or not apply. So So how is how is what you're saying met with, you know, the HR sort of stakeholder versus the sale stake stakeholder? Well, we're butting against the established way of thinking of human resources and talent acquisition. So I can tell you, that until we, I mean, it is up to us to prove that this works. And I'm halfway happy to take that challenge on because I've had enough of it through my last call it 10 years of being around sales, people hiring and watching that I actually though this does work, because I've had people that have literally been door to door selling Cutco that don't know anything come in and just be amazing. And then I've had others that have had, you know, 10 plus years of experience, we'll say five years of experience, that top performing presidents club reps come in and crash and burn. And so what I'm saying is like, I think, I mean, we're I'm banking this company on the fact that this works, because we can see we understand their enthusiasm, their energy, their aptitudes throughout. And if I have to work with HR in this regard, because I'm the sales leader What I would try to do is I, first of all I would, I would check, check the language, dominate, crush, all of those things feel masculine. And so I would definitely look at some of those things. I am sensitive to that, first of all, like killing it crushing all of those things feel different. And so I'm hearing a lot of leaders saying I want some more diversity, I want some more women on my team, I want smart, you know, underrepresented people, it's a great look at your job description and see if that actually is going to be enticing for everybody. Number one, because we put a lot of language in there that that feels like you're on a battlefield. And don't get it wrong. Like, I like to lead the charge and do all those things. And I, you know, I get it, but it's not always as inclusive as it could be. Also, with HR, figure out what are the must have, like, if we can't have this and see if you can get them to allow you to test it. If you say, you know, if the HR leader or the talent acquisition leader is saying they have to have X amount of, you know, X amount of years, and this is what we've seen to be true. Just see if we can run a test any chance Has there ever been a time when that's not been true? And, and third, most of the time, the sales leaders can do what they want, let's be honest, we have the budget, we know what we're looking for. So you so as long as we can all play nice, with HR and talent acquisition to say, Hey, we're going to just test a few things out, would it be okay, if we tried a different approach to see, because we're not competing with your recruiter on the internal recruiting site, we're trying to enhance it, we're trying to give you an enhanced experience, so that when they get in there, you don't have one, go through the whole process, and then be bad, or go through the process and then not show up day one, you know, we want to actually enhance that. So we can be a little bit better have a sense of them walking in the door. So I think it's about really partnering together, making sure that we're not adversarial, which a lot of times we in sales leadership can be very adversarial with recruiting, especially when we're behind on our number because we can't get people in the door and we can get really well. We all know it. So it's about partnering in the spirit of let's find the bet. Let's find the best people right now. And let's do it together. Love it. Yeah, no, I love the approach to challenge the job description. And really kind of get rid of that concept of an A star CV because let's face it, we've all been in an office where we look at some of the thing. How are you here? So yeah, I love it. Christine has been an absolute pleasure. I think just two questions before you go. Sure. And the first thing I've got to ask is, I'm not sure if you're aware, but there's a there's a tiny economic situation got going on right now called called COVID. What do you see that doing for the hiring sales talent? And what do you think it's going to change in terms of that whole process and situation for the world? You know, it's interesting, because, um, you know, when I first saw this influx of talent hitting the market, so imagine we started the day before Halloween, we already had people placed it was in a candidate market, you know, they were literally able to decide, I got five offers, and you know, we're doing different things. So in interesting, and then it like whoosh, I mean, just changed overnight. So we're literally having companies that were, you know, that are like now I have for one job, you know, 450 people applying for one position. So here's what I'm starting to see. I am starting to see some hiring come back. And I'm starting to see some companies that are like, you know, we need great people, I can tell you this. So those that are approaching this as I am very experienced, I am extremely talented. I am also expensive, and you're going to pay for me. Those are, it's been a rude awakening. Because there are other people in the market that are just like I want to I need to work, you know, I need to work I want to do the work. I'm enthusiastic about this. And they're humble. And I think that that also, you know, that humble kind of hungry mentality. I'm seeing that especially because we're we're our candidates are getting hired over experienced reps because their the way that they communicate and who they are and how they're showing up is not that they are showing up like as long as the Commission's uncapped, I don't care my base is less important to me than what I could totally make. And I'm telling you what, kind of leveling the playing field is a very interesting way. So more than I have seen before because you know, where people are coming in and one of these high bases, you know, all these things they want guaranteed you're having other people that are coming in, say I'll I'll take half that, as long as the commission is uncapped, and the otas about double that, I'm not afraid of it, I'll show you. And you know what that is causing some upset, even when there's a lot of talent in the market. So I've had lots of conversations with very tenured people in the last, you know, six, seven months where we're, you know, they it's a little tough love, like, you know, this is where we're at right now. Nice. I like it, I guess to finish with, if you could give a CR o or a senior revenue leader, one bit of advice in terms of look, you need to make this one change in your hiring process. What What would it be it, I would stick to figure out a way to allow them to experience the job in the hiring process. So if that is, so what I was doing, when I was hiring at my last company, I actually would have them call in just like they were calling me, I gave them like a CRM lead, and said call. And then what I did is we did it on zoom, they called the number in, and I would be on there listening, scoring, you know, and I had a rubric, and I would score. And then we actually had a script that my managers step to. So a manager would do it, I'd be scoring it and then I'd say, Okay, I'm going to pause john, I'm going to give you two pieces of feedback. I want you to think about these pieces of feedback for no more than two minutes. And I want you to come back and we're going to roll it again. And I would do it so I can see can they take coaching can do they actually understand the feedback I'm giving them? And like can they make an adjustment and be agile enough and not break character? I want I would tell them, don't do it. This is what we're doing. This is the job. And sometimes I actually had multiple times they didn't call back in because you know what, it was too much. It was too much for them like it was not they didn't know what that's okay. Again, all good. I just need to know I just need to know so i think those things are really important give them away if they're an analyst have them do some analysts work if they're a trainer, have them trained me how to do a Rubik's cube and have three people in the front row talking the whole time not paying attention and see what they do. Like I'm furious when I say give them the job and see how they perform and see if they like it that's what I think Christine has been a pleasure thank you so much. If anyone is keen for you For you to to rip apart their job description a mindset where can they find you? Is it okay to reach out and how I would love Yeah, absolutely. So I'm all over LinkedIn Christine Rogers Aspire ship calm my email is Christine at Aspire ship calm happy to help happy to engage. You no fail theatres are my people. So I unemployed however, I can help Transcribed by