By Chase

Associate publisher, GTA Construction Report

Do you struggle to find the right candidates to work for your company, especially on the sales side? One of the additional roles I have taken on while working at the Construction News and Report Group has been the human resources role of advertising and finding good candidates for our Canadian publications. My challenge is to find qualified candidates and then start looking for the next one to fill another position or take over for the newest rep who may be struggling.

Our interview process is completely backwards in the sense we do not do the real interview and reference check until the very end of the hiring process. Our first step is a prescreening process where we ask potential candidates to answers a series of questions to demonstrate their true drive for a new career vs. the person who applies for everything they find online. Out of 100 resumes I see a response rate of 5 per cent where people take the time to complete the questions. I will in some cases do a follow up to candidates who have the background for our industry I think will have the skills to succeed.

I will prescreen the responses for signs of intelligence and basic understanding of advertising sales and present a sales survey that generates a score where we look for a percentage obtained to move forward with an offer for a paid trial assignment. To date I have only had two people convince me that their low score should not stop them from moving forward with a work assignment. One person failed completely and the other went on to have success for about a year when their personal life fell apart.

So from the 100 resumes, I end up with five to seven resumes (depending on the extra encouragement I give someone with previous experience) and out of those resumes three people qualify to do the working assignment. Out of the people who do the assignment I am seeing a 20 per cent success rate, two out of every 10. Out of those two candidates, one will disappear within six months and the other will make it past a year.

So if you have been doing the math to get 10 qualified candidates I go through almost 2,000 resumes. The hard work has started to pay off this month with a new rep starting up to serve the Northern Ontario Market. Next up I will be posting across Canada to find a rep to work on the Canadian Design & Construction Report (

How do you attract effective sales reps? How do you screen them and get them to demonstrate their skills?

Chase is director of marketing and client relations for the Construction News and Report Group as well as associate publisher for GTA Construction Report, Ontario Construction Report and the Canadian Design & Construction Report. He also is a director of the Niagara Construction Association.

You can reach him by email at or phone (905) 228-1151.  See also or


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