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About This Episode
True story, my short LinkedIn post about awesome startups that are hiring during the pandemic went viral.
People devoured information that gave them hope about their job prospects.
I want to add onto that with this fantastic conversation with Shane Lunak, Senior Sales/Marketing Recruiter at Outreach, about how to stand out as an A+ candidate during the application and interview process.
As a way to speak to the hundreds of requests Outreach has gotten for more information about hiring, Shane gets into the nitty gritty tactics of how to appeal to people who are recruiting sales reps today.
He gave 5 outstanding ways to stand out.
“Initially when I talk to somebody, the thing that I look for is accuracy,” Shane said. “Believe it or not, people actually submit outdated resumes.”
Shane will check whether the resume and the LinkedIn profile say the same thing. He’ll also check whether the resume and the prospect say the same thing.
You left two months ago? But your resume says you’re currently working.
“If you’re going to not add that, what else are you not going to tell us about?” Shane said.
Accuracy is important enough to make it to the very top of Shane’s list.
Public Service Announcement: Proofread your resume for spelling and grammar, too.
Percent of quota. Number of deals. These are things that hiring managers like to see.
“All good salespeople should know what their numbers were,” Shane said.
You have to be able to answer questions about what you hit last year and the year before. You need to know net new versus expansion.
“Can you keep up or not?” Shane said.
Unbelievably, some applicants are not sure how much they hit last year or exactly how many deals they closed.
“Have your numbers ready,” Shane said. “The top sales folks could talk about their numbers in their sleep.”
Needless to say, these numbers need to be accurate.
Did you hit 70% of quota? Write that down.
Shane referenced an interview that was one of the best recently in which the applicant was very transparent about hitting under 100%. That person made top sales, meaning nobody met quota.
That’s insanely transparent and honest. That’s the kind of numerical accuracy that gets you noticed.
At the end of an interview, Shane gives reps a few minutes to ask him questions.
“I don’t have any specific questions I want to hear. I just want to know that they’ve done their research on the company,” Shane said.
The Q&A time at the end of the interview just serves to prove that the prospect knows what sales enablement is and what the quotas are.
- Tell me about the team.
- Tell me about leadership.
- Tell me about the culture.
“If they are asking those questions, they care enough to have done a little bit of work on us,” Shane said.
In other words, it shows preparation — and an interest in working at Outreach in particular, not just landing any job.
Personalize your questions to show your level of preparation. Bonus if you can ask a question that’s specific to the recruiter.
“We’re not here to hire people that leave us in six months for something different. So from an AE’s perspective, find something that you’re passionate about and then go after it,” Shane said.
4. Contacting recruiters
Don’t contact the recruiter if you haven’t applied to the role.
It’s dumb to reach out on LinkedIn to show interest when you haven’t done the first, most basic step of showing interest: Filling out the application.
“You should apply to the role you’re trying to tell me you’re motivated to interview for,” Shane said.
People will contact Shane to try to stand out, thinking that if they reach out to the recruiter directly, it’ll help differentiate them from the 50+ applications that came in that day.
You don’t have to stand in front of corporate handing out your resume with coffee (though someone actually did that).
Instead, you could send a courteous follow-up email. Or letter. Or card.
“It doesn’t take much to send an email thanking whoever you spoke with, recapping the conversation so it doesn’t look like some general cut and paste,” Shane said.
Not that contacting the recruiter before or after the interview is going to land you the role for certain, but it doesn’t hurt you in any way (unless you do it wrong).
The majority don’t follow up, which is fine, but if you do take the time, make sure to personalize.
5. Culture & the right fit
It’s hard to be the right fit at a place with a tight culture.
Maybe it’s something about your personality that you can’t control that means you didn’t get hired somewhere you interviewed.
But then again, maybe it was…
Shane told a story about a candidate who was a great Outreach user, who interviewed well, and who could absolutely sell.
“When we debriefed, it was unanimous. This person’s probably not the right fit,” Shane said.
They decided not to move forward because this person wasn’t the right fit for the culture.
“Stay on the confidence side. Don’t cross into the arrogant side,” Shane said.
Check out roles we’re recruiting for at Outreach at our career board.