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How HubSpot hires high-performing sales talent with Bryana Duval

Hannah Johnston

Sep 7, 2023
min read

We caught up with Bryana, Senior Recruiter at Hubspot to learn about how the team hires high-performing sales talent.

If you haven’t heard of HubSpot, they’re a leading CRM platform for scaling companies with over one hundred thousand customers across the globe. 

There’s a reason why HubSpot attracts the best of the best talent to their teams. Their approach to hiring binds with their core values and is strongly differentiated in the market. We recently got to sit down with Bryana Duval, Senior Recruiter at HubSpot Australia to learn more about how the team attracts and retains high-performing sales talent. 

Read on as we go deeper into how HubSpot works its hiring magic. 

How do you provide candidates insight into the team they'll be joining throughout the hiring process?

Bryana: HubSpot’s Sales org is segmented and then sliced into smaller teams, designed to maintain an optimal manager-to-rep ratio of around seven or eight individuals per team ensuring that every team member benefits from the full attention and support of their manager. 

It does mean though that in larger segments we don’t always know who the Hiring Manager will be until we get closer to the end of the interview process. In these instances, candidates will meet multiple managers from the segment throughout their interviews and if successful, we will consider a number of factors when deciding their manager to ensure we’re building teams with a diverse mix of people and experience. 

What do you think the benefit is for a candidate to meet multiple hiring managers throughout the process?

Bryana: It means that we have diversity of thought and are mitigating bias when it is time to debrief a candidate, by not having the decision sit with just one individual. It also gives the candidate an opportunity to get a better feel for the segment as a whole. Small Business at HubSpot has seven teams and Mid-Market has five, so just meeting one hiring manager would not give the candidate a holistic view of the wider team. 

Both managers and candidates can have unique interview styles. When we make a decision on whose team a candidate should join towards the end of the process rather than at the start, it allows us to also take into consideration who they gelled with the best and whose management style would align best to their strengths and weaknesses.

How do you give the candidate an insight into the culture and environment of your teams when you’re having initial conversations?

Bryana: We always encourage people to be prepared and do as much research as possible before their interviews. It is the biggest piece of advice I can give anybody, given how readily available this content is online. This is where a candidate will gain a rich understanding of the different company pillars (sales, customer success, marketing, etc.) and our overarching company culture.

Of course, there will always be subcultures within different regions and pillars which is the natural outcome of having diverse management styles and personalities within each team. However, one non-negotiable at HubSpot is the type of people we hire. Culture add vs Culture fit. 

If you’ve seen our Culture Code, you would have heard about how we hire people with HEART (Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent). Culture at HubSpot isn’t about Friday beers and it’s not tied to an office location or fancy events - it’s about the type of people we hire, and how they collaborate and contribute. It doesn’t matter how impressive your CV is, we won’t hire anyone who doesn't bleed our 5 tenants.  

Whilst most of these are personality traits, it’s important to remember that the R in HEART stands for Remarkable. We have a high-performance culture here at HubSpot which we are passionate about maintaining and developing. Whilst candidates need to be humble and empathetic, it’s equally important that they demonstrate a history of being a high performer with clear goals and motivations. 

Are there specific kinds of questions that you ask during the hiring process to get a sense of whether someone fits your HEART values?

Bryana: We don’t have specific questions to test HEART, but each role has its own core attributes and we’re looking for these traits in every response. 

For example, we may ask something like “tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a customer”. This question is testing your Customer-First Mentality, but within your response we’re listening to see if you were adaptable, transparent, empathetic, etc. If we’re asking about the greatest achievement you’ve ever had - we’re testing that you are Results Driven, but also paying attention to whether you are humble.

We do ask about people’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. If you’ve done your research you would know how committed HubSpot is to DI&B, so it’s safe to assume that this will come up at some point during your interviews. We understand that some companies prioritise this more than others and that some people may have had more opportunities to get involved in initiatives depending on where they’ve worked previously. However, the type of people we want to hire at HubSpot are just as passionate about this as we are, so even if you haven’t had the chance to join an ERG or contribute in a more formal way, think about how you show up every day in little ways. For example, championing certain behaviour or calling out behaviour that doesn't align with your values. 

What can help a candidate stand out in the hiring process?

Bryana: All of our sales roles have minimum experience requirements. This means that having relevant experience on your CV is the first step to progressing to an interview. Once you're at the interview stage though, the best advice I can give to stand out is to be prepared

This doesn’t mean just doing research on the company, but also on the role and team you are interviewing for and ensuring that during your interview you are highlighting the most relevant parts of your experience.  

Being able to effectively communicate your relevant experience is the difference between progressing or being rejected in the early stages. If you’re going for a Small Business role, share examples of closing Small Business deals. As impressive as it may be, it’s not relevant to share examples of closing multi-million dollar deals that took 12 months to negotiate.

Contextualise your experience so that it makes sense to people outside of your organisation. This is especially important when it comes to performance metrics. Candidates will often share examples like “Closed $150k in revenue last year” - but if I don’t work for your company, this doesn’t tell me anything... Is $150k a lot? What was your quota? It is much more effective to share your attainment (e.g. “Achieved 150% of $100k annual quota) as this will resonate with people outside of your company. 

You mentioned candidates need to have relevant experience as the first step. If this is lacking, what can they do?

Bryana: Be strategic about the roles you take and make decisions that will help you secure the role you want in the future. 

When we say “relevant experience”, we’re talking about the core activities and responsibilities in your day-to-day. It’s less about what you’re selling, and more about how you’re selling it. Think about things like the volume of activities you perform each day, the average deal size, how long it takes to close a deal, the sales methodologies you utilise, the complexity of the product, how you're held accountable to KPIs, etc. If these things aren’t aligned when you look at your experience and the role you’re applying for side by side, then you may need to consider a sideways step or potentially even a “step back” in terms of title or salary, in order to move forward in the company/industry of your choice. 

How do you communicate with candidates about salary packages in the most effective way?

Bryana: We’re very transparent about this at HubSpot. Everybody internally has access to the Sales Compensation Wiki where you can see the salaries for each level in each region. If you’re in Mid-Market Level 2 in Australia, you can rest assured you’re being paid the same as everyone else at the same level. Our packages also include uncapped commissions, equity and other benefits such as a health insurance allowance, education allowance, and fitness reimbursement - to name a few. 

On top of competitive compensation, candidates are always excited to hear about the growth potential at HubSpot. Here, salespeople are in control of their career progression because it is performance based. In order to trigger for the next level and increase your salary package you just need to achieve clearly outlined KPIs. There’s no interview required for a promo within your segment and you don’t have to wait for a role to be available. The majority of people trigger for their first promotion within the first 12 months. 

What do you recommend to someone in their early career who wants to work at HubSpot but doesn’t have direct experience yet?

Bryana: Same as above where I spoke about candidates who want to transition roles or build relevant experience - be strategic. Worry less about the title and more about the core activity and responsibilities. 

If you have some early outbound sales experience, but it’s not in tech, you should be able to look at BDR roles. For example, we’ve hired people into our BDR team from membership sales at a gym because of the similarities with daily activity KPIs, phone based cold-calling and alignment to how they were held accountable to sales targets. This is favourable compared to, for example, someone from in-store retail who’d only ever sold to walk-in customers on the shop floor. 

If you don’t have any relevant sales experience, you can look at inbound roles to get started. Some companies will have these as part of their sales teams and they will have a development path to an Outbound BDR, or sometimes these are in Customer Service or Support teams. 

At HubSpot, we have a position called an Inbound Success Coach. This team manages all inbound queries and triages requests to the correct teams. If you don’t have any sales experience yet, but you’re passionate about a career in tech sales and want the opportunity to learn the product from the inside out before progressing into quota carrying sales, this would be the best place to start. 

Learn more about life at HubSpot

There is no doubt that life at HubSpot is a great move for ambitious early career folk who want to quickly grow in their tech sales career. It is also clear that the team's hiring processes and strategies that are so core to their company values are inspiring for many other high-growth teams. What will you take from learning more about the hiring process at HubSpot? 

Read more about life at HubSpot and keep an eye out for new roles at HubSpot on Hatch. 

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