Profile - How We Hire Top Salespeople

A Team-Building Philosophy Breaks The Mold

The WeintraubsDave and Mitch Weintraub don't have much regard for tradition – at least when it comes to their hiring and sales strategies. That's why the Weintraubs – co-founders of Atlanta-based Pinnacle Promotions (asi/295986) – prefer a team approach. Salespeople are hired as salaried employees and are given chances to earn bonuses through individual, department and company performance. Sales leads are driven by the firm's marketing staff using tools like the Web, direct mail and timely product specials and discounts. "We feel like the all-commission model breeds competitiveness, with everyone out for themselves," say Mitch. "It becomes a free-for-all and not a culture of caring."

To best fill sales team roles, Mitch and Dave have developed a game plan to identify the right fits for Pinnacle. Here, they explain how it works.

Q: How do you screen salesperson candidates?
A: We have a rigorous vetting process to make sure we bring in candidates that meet our corporate values and have the intelligence and teamwork traits to work well with their peers. The hiring process involves a phone screen, an in-person interview and a written test with analytical questions. Then, the candidate meets with us, the owners. The final interview is a working interview where candidates spend an hour actually watching account coordinators and account managers do their jobs.

Q: Do you try to attract Generation Y salespeople?
A: Our reliance on technology, corporate culture and training seems to appeal to that generation. Having younger employees in the company does contribute to a sense of optimism, energy and fun around the office.

Q: Do you look for any particular traits or experiences when hiring?
A: Our corporate values (caring, ambition and integrity) are the guiding principles of the company and carry through every interaction with customers and vendors. We look for individuals who have strong communication skills and are well-rounded outside of the office. We like to employ former collegiate athletes since they understand the values of teamwork, discipline and having a winning attitude. Many of our team members have developed strong multitasking skills, as well as a deep understanding of social media.

Q: Do you recruit salespeople from industry competitors?
A: We do not actively recruit salespeople from inside the industry. We do, however, receive a lot of résumés from people who work at our competitors and love working in the industry, but are unhappy in their current roles. We have found that often times our model is a better fit than where they may be coming from, and their skills and experience add a lot of value in our organization.

Q: So you must recruit from outside of the industry then?
A: All of our active recruiting is done from outside the industry. For Pinnacle, it's about putting the right person in the right role and then methodically and intensely training them on the nuances of our industry. During our three-week training program, hires learn everything they can about the company, the industry and how to succeed within our system. Having different types of people – from varying industries with different experiences – helps to drive a lot of the innovation in our company.