When sourcing and phone screening, we tend to come across salespeople who have been laid off from a previous position.  Layoffs are obviously a common occurrence in business, but they are problematic in sales.

Most companies do not lay off salespeople who are closing profitable business. 

Granted, some companies view salespeople as an expense and assume the customer relationship will remain – big mistake.  Some smaller companies are family owned and keep the family members employed as the business contracts.  There are always exceptions, but they are not the rule.

When we encounter a salesperson who has been laid off, we immediately look for logical specifics regarding their shortened tenure.  The candidate needs to clearly define the circumstances and the rationale behind the company’s decision.  If these items cannot be explained, the assumption has to be that the salesperson was not performing at the expected level (fair or not).

This item isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for a candidate so please don’t take me out of context.  My suggestion is to drill down thoroughly on this topic when talking to the candidate.  Make sure you are confident in the circumstances and keep your focus on what the candidate could bring to your company.  The candidate may simply have been misemployed in the previous role.

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