Are You Getting Hiring Right?


Barrett King, a seasoned professional with eight years of experience at HubSpot, sat down with James on a recent episode of Tech Salescraft for an insightful discussion on the importance of hiring in building a high-performance sales team. In his engaging conversation, he shed light on the transformative power of getting the hiring process right. Barrett emphasised that high-performing sales teams are not solely about recruiting top-tier salespeople but rather about the art of hiring effectively.

Barrett’s journey into the world of sales was unconventional. Armed with a degree in digital arts and design, he initially ventured into the world of photography but soon found it unsatisfying. During the tumultuous economic climate of 2008, he explored various avenues, eventually winding up in the restaurant industry. It was during his time managing restaurants that he discovered his affinity for human interaction and communication.

Interestingly, Barrett’s passion for the spoken word was sparked during his graduation, when a peer praised his public speaking skills, describing his words as a form of art. This moment left a profound impact on Barrett, shaping his career choices in the years to come.

His career journey continued to meander as he transitioned between different roles, experiencing both the tech industry and the restaurant business. Fate led him to a startup in the restaurant technology sector, where he honed his sales skills. A pivotal moment occurred when the company’s VP of sales was let go, and Barrett, despite being a relatively new addition to the team, was not among those facing the chopping block. This led to an unexpected turn of events where he was entrusted with a leadership role in sales.

Under Barrett’s guidance, the company thrived, eventually being acquired, which marked a significant milestone in his career. As he contemplated his next move, an opportunity at HubSpot presented itself through a friend. His first meeting at HubSpot with Brad Coffee, who later became the Chief Strategy Officer, left a lasting impression on him. Brad’s words about HubSpot’s mission to help companies grow by working with partners resonated deeply with Barrett.

“In sales, you’re not just selling a product or service; you’re selling trust and a solution to your customer’s problems.”

What followed was an intensive interview process involving nine rounds, each designed to assess Barrett’s suitability for the role. The Director of Sales, after the final interview, offered him a choice, Barrett accepted the challenge and embarked on his journey with HubSpot.

Reflecting on his early days in sales, Barrett acknowledged that he made some hiring decisions that, in hindsight, were less than ideal. He realized that he would have approached hiring differently, using data, economic considerations, and a focus on product-market fit. His early hiring choices were based more on gut instinct, and he now recognises the value of a more strategic and data-driven approach.

Barrett’s insights extend beyond his experiences with startups. He believes in the importance of finding candidates with the “figure it out” factor—individuals who are tenacious, eager to learn, and possess a natural ability to sell. He emphasises the need for a clear, concise articulation of your company’s mission and the problem it solves when assessing candidates.

Moreover, Barrett advocates for designing interview processes that are thorough, objective, and structured around assessing candidates’ abilities to navigate real-world challenges. By presenting candidates with actual problems and evaluating how they approach solutions, companies can gain deeper insights into their problem-solving skills and adaptability.

Barrett also underscores the significance of creating a mutual, conversational atmosphere during interviews. Rather than viewing interviews as interrogations, he suggests that companies make them collaborative discussions where both parties can assess the fit.

Throughout Barrett’s career journey, from restaurants to tech startups and ultimately to HubSpot, he’s learned that hiring the right people is an art in itself. It’s about finding individuals who not only fit the job description but also embody the core values of your company. By valuing attributes like tenacity, adaptability, and a passion for learning, businesses can assemble teams that drive growth and success.

Barrett’s experiences and insights serve as a valuable guide for anyone navigating the intricate world of hiring in sales. Watch the full episode on YouTube, or across all major podcast streaming platforms.