How We Narrowed Hundreds of Applicants Down to One: 4 Tips to Land Your Dream Sales Job + A Special Announcement


The instructions were simple.

We announced the role via a LinkedIn post that had the above instructions.

Within 24 hours we had over one hundred applicants.

So how did we narrow it down, and what can you learn from Sales Hacker’s hiring process that will help you get your dream job?

Now, before we go any further, it’s important to note that our process is a bit of a scrappy one. After all, we’re still a scrappy company. So be aware this might not be the way to get a sales job at Amazon, for example.

That being said, I think there’s still a lot to learn here. So, without further ado, here are four things that will help you get an awesome sales job in 2020 (plus a special announcement at the end).

Omnichannel is the ONLY channel

Surprisingly, the most saturated channel for responses to our ad was Linkedin messaging/inmails.

The next was email.

A few did both.

But 95% of people stopped there.


The industry average says that it takes at a minimum of 18 touches to get in touch with a prospect, and almost everyone stopped at one or two. Another thing I found crazy was that I only receivedone cold call in those first 24hrs.

…that is until I posted about that fact on LinkedIn.


Surprise, surprise. I received 25 calls the very next day.

All of this made the first round of selections really easy. Any applicants who only used one channel were automatically disqualified.

What you should do:

When you’re going for a sales role, reach out via multiple channels in order to get the hiring manager’s attention. No one gets a role by applying via the “apply here” button.

Remember The Basics

A number of applicants shot themselves in the foot by forgetting the fundamentals.

You need to treat the hiring process like you would any sales process (in this case, those instructions were clear, but the truth is thatANYhiring process is a sales process, whether the instructions say it or not).

So how do you run a sales process?

Make sure you do discovery on the first call. You should be asking as many questions (or more) than the interviewer.

It’s a red flag if you’re not trying to understand more about the role and how you can be ultra successful there if hired.

You don’t want to give off the vibe of “I’ll take any role.” Just like in sales, desperation and lack of targeting is a turn-off.

You want to go for “I want to understand this role so I know for certain that I’m 100% the right candidate!

Another sales fundamental that was missed by some —Next steps.

Make sure you’re setting and understanding the next steps throughout the entire journey. If you’re not asking for it now, will you ask it with prospects?

Last but not least.The follow-up note.

Every interaction you have with anyone in the organization should be immediately followed up with a quick thank-you-note that reiterates your interest and includes a quick anecdote from the call.

What you should do:

Do deep discovery up front, set next steps, and send a follow-up note after every call.

Creativity wins

Most hiring managers are still busy doing their day to day, so they unfortunately don’t have time to go through every single application.

You need to find ways to stand out.

Here are some ultra creative ideas that a few of our applicants had:

  • Recorded a full podcast episode on why to hire him
  • Got a cameo video from Corporate Bro himself
  • Gave me an antidote for hot sauce (long story… but it was oddly relevant at the time, so it showed they did their homework)
  • Found my girlfriend’s company, and bought some product
  • Sent me a singing greeting card
  • Shot high-quality videos on why to hire them
  • Reached out on lesser known channels like instagram
  • Got recommendations from people I highly respect

To stand out in today’s noisy world, you have to bring new ideas to the table. It only shows the level of creativity you’ll have in the role.

What you should do:

Shoot a video resume along with an interactive deck on “Why You’re The Perfect Hire For The Role.” Make sure it’s custom for each organization.

Go Above And Beyond

Once we had our final candidates, we gave them an assignment.

Essentially it was amock sales scenario they had to navigate over a series of days.

For hiring managers, I would strongly suggest implementing something like this. In my eyes, this is the most important part — particularly for sales roles.

If you’re in sales, you’re supposed to nail an interview, and an assignment is where you can really separate yourself from those who are just good in interviews. This is where you show you can perform in a real-life scenario.

The winning candidate pulled ahead in the assignment phase of the process.

They didn’t take the assignment at face value and just go through the motions. Instead, they used it as another chance to showcase their sales process acumen, personality, hustle and creativity.

Rather than just run a sales process, he actually started giving our “partner” (roleplayed by Colin on the Sales Hacker team) advice on how to run a super effective webinar!

What you should do:

If given an assignment, spend the extra time to deliver more than they asked for. No assignment? Put your money where your mouth is and ask for one.

And The Winner Is…

BUT that’s enough from me, let’s hear from our new Partnerships Manager.

Let’s give Michael Harrison a big Sales Hacker welcome. You can connect with him here and show him some love.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of his face around the community.

Before helping found GTMfund, Scott spent 4 years at Outreach as Director of Strategic Engagement. He was in charge of aligning key relationships with VCs, BoDs, ecosystem partners and community members to drive revenue and strategic initiatives across Outreach. Scott initially ran revenue/partnerships for Sales Hacker (which was acquired by Outreach in 2018). Prior to Sales Hacker, he led and built outbound Business Development teams at Payfirma and MediaValet. Scott also advises for a number of high growth start-ups and is the host/author of The GTM Podcast and The GTM Newsletter. At GTMfund, Scott leads all fundraising efforts and runs the media arm of the firm. He’s also responsible for assessing investments, team management, LP/community relationships and GTM support for founders.

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