June 9, 2022

How to Interview SDR (No Experience Required)

How to Interview SDR (No Experience Required)

In today’s episode of the ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with Jeremy Ruch, Founder of ‘Bandalier’. He shares how to interview SDRs who don't have any experience.
Episode Highlights

01:14 – Jeremy mentions, most of the companies they work with would say, it is one of the most risk-prone and one of the hardest hires that they make across the entire organization. 
04:16 – It was kind of the nexus of two things that made him want to start a company to take a shot at the beginning to solve that problem, highlights Jeremy.
05:15 – Sam enquires, how Jeremy tackles hiring SDRs that don't have the experience like a typical salesperson does?
07:15 - The first thing is to identify what those traits are, and ensure that those traits are predictive.
09:35 – Jeremy states that he always recommends starting with a scorecard, especially if you're designing a high-volume recruiting process, seeing how well the scores match up to the performance in the roles knowing that in those first few hires, you're going to make a few mistakes because your scorecard is not going to be perfect.
13:01 - It's possible to find folks with 6 to 12 months of SDR experience who are killing it in cold calling roles that are new, mentions Jeremy.
16:10 - It doesn't matter what the scenario is; it's about describing a time where you faced some type of adversity in some way.
18:11 - If you were answering the resilience question and describing bouncing back from adversity by lying to somebody about a certain thing that would be a red flag, that showcases the lack of integrity, but beyond that, it is pretty linear.
20:17 – The guest says, they’re trying to build out a matrix where every single person who goes through their interview process will have scores with an overall score, but also scores within each of those sub-areas.
22:00 – Jeremy explains, how assessment and exercise are as close to the role as possible.
24:44 – You should be ensuring that your process as closely as possible matches the role that you're going to have these folks in, says Jeremy 
26:34 – Jeremy says they have specific areas where they’re assessing if they took and implemented feedback. That's something they’re certainly going to take note of.
27:04 - When you're bringing somebody on, why are those first two, or three weeks critical from a validation standpoint, enquires Jeremy.
29:49 – Jeremy highlights, if you don't have the experience of having done this with hundreds of people, it's tough to know where to set those baseline parameters. 
31:14 – Jeremy shares, they try to make note of all that feedback, and then every six to 12 months they go back to the interview rubric and redo it.
33:49 – Sam asks Jeremy about a good sampling to start making changes to the rubric.
35:46 – The most common areas where they see red flags are on the ability to take feedback, and they take this seriously, mentions Jeremy.
38:37 - There are folks whose default is to push back feedback which becomes an issue.
41:34 – People with more experience sometimes choose less flattering examples, says Jeremy.

Three Key Points

Jeremy explains how they tackle hiring SDRs with no experience. For the past four and a half years, they’ve designed an interview process where they’re asking questions designed to get at specific traits. Grading out those questions in a very structured way and then every 6 to 12 months, they go back and look at the predictability of those questions of the traits once they&r


In today’s episode of the ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with Jeremy Ruch, Founder of ‘Bandalier’. He shares how to interview SDRs who don't have any experience.

Episode Highlights

  • 01:14 – Jeremy mentions, most of the companies they work with would say, it is one of the most risk-prone and one of the hardest hires that they make across the entire organization. 
  • 04:16 – It was kind of the nexus of two things that made him want to start a company to take a shot at the beginning to solve that problem, highlights Jeremy.
  • 05:15 – Sam enquires, how Jeremy tackles hiring SDRs that don't have the experience like a typical salesperson does?
  • 07:15 - The first thing is to identify what those traits are, and ensure that those traits are predictive.
  • 09:35 – Jeremy states that he always recommends starting with a scorecard, especially if you're designing a high-volume recruiting process, seeing how well the scores match up to the performance in the roles knowing that in those first few hires, you're going to make a few mistakes because your scorecard is not going to be perfect.
  • 13:01 - It's possible to find folks with 6 to 12 months of SDR experience who are killing it in cold calling roles that are new, mentions Jeremy.
  • 16:10 - It doesn't matter what the scenario is; it's about describing a time where you faced some type of adversity in some way.
  • 18:11 - If you were answering the resilience question and describing bouncing back from adversity by lying to somebody about a certain thing that would be a red flag, that showcases the lack of integrity, but beyond that, it is pretty linear.
  • 20:17 – The guest says, they’re trying to build out a matrix where every single person who goes through their interview process will have scores with an overall score, but also scores within each of those sub-areas.
  • 22:00 – Jeremy explains, how assessment and exercise are as close to the role as possible.
  • 24:44 – You should be ensuring that your process as closely as possible matches the role that you're going to have these folks in, says Jeremy 
  • 26:34 – Jeremy says they have specific areas where they’re assessing if they took and implemented feedback. That's something they’re certainly going to take note of.
  • 27:04 - When you're bringing somebody on, why are those first two, or three weeks critical from a validation standpoint, enquires Jeremy.
  • 29:49 – Jeremy highlights, if you don't have the experience of having done this with hundreds of people, it's tough to know where to set those baseline parameters. 
  • 31:14 – Jeremy shares, they try to make note of all that feedback, and then every six to 12 months they go back to the interview rubric and redo it.
  • 33:49 – Sam asks Jeremy about a good sampling to start making changes to the rubric.
  • 35:46 – The most common areas where they see red flags are on the ability to take feedback, and they take this seriously, mentions Jeremy.
  • 38:37 - There are folks whose default is to push back feedback which becomes an issue.
  • 41:34 – People with more experience sometimes choose less flattering examples, says Jeremy.

Three Key Points

  1. Jeremy explains how they tackle hiring SDRs with no experience. For the past four and a half years, they’ve designed an interview process where they’re asking questions designed to get at specific traits. Grading out those questions in a very structured way and then every 6 to 12 months, they go back and look at the predictability of those questions of the traits once they’re on their team, so it’s a two-step process
  2. In identifying the traits, themselves, they ask folks to tell them about a time when they exhibited a trait in any scenario and find out the result of that incident.
  3. These are the traits that they look for - first, resilience, second is coachability which is the ability to take feedback well, and the third is the baseline communication skills.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “If you haven't done cold calling before, I can't ask you about a time that you are Cold Calling. It doesn't make sense.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “I can ask you about times where you have exhibited traits that are predictive of success in these types of roles.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “The key is to keep measuring over time, and then go back to the scorecard and say, which questions were productive, and which weren't.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “It's not data-driven at all, and we’re trying to insert data into that part of the process.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “These roles have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months after which folks are going to be looking to move into management or account executive roles down funnel sales roles.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “One key for us is we ask behavioral questions.” - Jeremy Ruch
  • “The scenarios make absolutely no difference, I don't care what scenario you were in.” - Jeremy Ruch
  • “The baseline communication skills are less important relative to Resilience and Coachability.” – Jeremy Ruch
  • “We try to be deliberate about collecting enough examples to learn and change the rubric.” - Jeremy Ruch

Resources Mentioned

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