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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Do You Roll the Dice for Sales Talent?

Roll_the_DiceAre you a gambler? I have never been a big risk taker myself, but every once in a while I have fun at a dice game or maybe a little Blackjack. I do know people who love to gamble though, and there are a lot of opportunities to do that these days.

Is recruiting and hiring salespeople one of them?  We do not think so! Games of chance do not mix well with finding, qualifying and vetting good potential sales candidates.

Keeping your Talent “Pipeline” filled with good, potential salespeople is important to your continued success as a manager but we know sales recruitment is challenging. As a Talent Analyst with The Center for Sales Strategy, my job is to use our validated talent instrument to measure the innate talents of potential sales candidates before our clients make their hiring decisions. They don’t want to take chances – and they don’t have to!  Neither do you.

Here are three “sure bets” to consider as you work through your next recruitment effort: 

Interview Observations

Don’t gamble on the assumption that a referral from a friend or colleague is a buttoned up, talented candidate. Plan to meet with them twice, once in a formal or office setting then once again in a coffee house or casual restaurant setting. You can learn a lot from observing people in these environments. How do they treat the staff? Are they considerate? Are they polite? Conversely, what else might you see? Are they impatient? Do they demonstrate disrespect or a lack of eye contact? Are there any other behaviors you see that would be off-putting to potential clients or co-workers? If you are uncomfortable with a candidate’s style in a public setting it is guaranteed that your clients will feel the same way! Gambling on the possibilities of improved behavior is a mistake.


Reference checking is another opportunity to either follow good practices or “Roll the Dice”. Whether you are making a formal call to a previous employer or a friendly call to a colleague, stick to your plan! Prepare a list of substantive, probing questions. Ask for examples of observed behaviors in a sales setting. Dig for measurable sales performance information. Prepare comparative questions about past sales performance if possible. Ask about how a client issue or maybe a billing problem was handled by this candidate in the past. Our business is full of events! Ask about participation in community events. Are they a planner and organizer for these events? Do they naturally light up a room and love to entertain clients? Asking questions about the candidate’s competitive nature will also be helpful to you. Do they like contests and thrive in a robust competitive environment? Uncovering some of these natural tendencies may be invaluable to you as you prepare to make an important hiring decision and that is so much better than crossing your fingers and “Gambling” on a potential candidate! 

Structured Talent Interview

Once you have identified your top candidates and checked references it is time to move to next steps.  We at The Center for Sales Strategy recommend using a structured interview, an interview that is predictive not just descriptive. Adding a statistically validated, proven step to your hiring process will not only save your company time and money, but will take the “Game of Chance” out of the hiring process! 

Buy a lotto Ticket! Have a great weekend in Vegas with your friends! But, don’t gamble on recruiting and hiring salespeople! It will not pay off. The only certainty when choosing to “Roll the Dice” is that you will lose more often than you would like.

Download our Talent Bank Status Report Worksheet to be sure you've got talented candidates in the funnel for your next sales hire. 

The Talent Bank Worksheet