Jan 032010

Which one of the below have I heard recently?

  1. I got hired when I met the VP at a class.
  2. Many of the people in the office were hired after meeting each other at church. That is normal at my company.
  3. The Vice-President hired me before my eventual manager met me. No one told my manager.

The answer: 1, 2 and 3.

Hiring a salesperson is one of the biggest decisions a company makes. Managing that salesperson (aligning his or her goals to the company’s objectives) to be successful is going to underwrite the success of the firm.

Hiring a salesperson should never be left to feeling. ‘More science, less art’ as I always say.

Part of the problem is that the hiring managers really do not know how to hire. There is a general notion of the kind of salesperson should be hired (very much like the general public likes to eat Sushi, but doesn’t know enough to stay away from Kushi i.e. Korean ‘Sushi’ or Cushi i.e. Chinese ‘Sushi’), but the feeling is never formalized. Given this dilemma, it is no wonder that salespersons are often mismatch.


Any company and its hiring team need to have formal and written criteria on what constitutes a good hire. As importantly, the plan is useless if not followed. No more, “I liked her. She seemed aggressive” platitudes.

A good hiring process includes:

  1. A formal qualifications list derived from industry best practices, company objectives and what has worked at the company.
  2. The interviewer(s) need to be familiar with the position and its requirements.
  3. The candidate should be able to sell the interviewer on him or herself and their track record of success.
  4. The candidate should be able to sell the interviewer on a product or service. This doesn’t need to be the company’s own given that the person is, as of yet, not intimately familiar with those.
  5. The candidate needs to demonstrate a presence of mind and the ability to handle surprise questions and unexpected situations. The reality is that customers are more knowledgeable and educated than ever. Since no one can predict a prospect’s next question or reaction or an existing customer’s issues being able to respond with knowledge and respect is important.

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