World-class managers understand this essential element of hiring salespeople: talent is meaningless without FIT!
As a hiring manager, considering fit as carefully as talent is critical to a successful hire. Unfortunately, some managers discover fit problems after they hire a seller. Avoid this problem by evaluating these eight fit factors during the hiring process.
8 Fit Factors to Evaluate During the Hiring Process
1. Manager (that’s you)
The manager is the most important variable in whether the prospective hire will be a good fit. Managers have unique needs, expectations, strengths, non-strengths, hot buttons, tolerances, and styles of interaction. Each of these can impact the productivity and growth of your new hire. Know your own fit factors and be ready to invest in the relationship.
Does the candidate have the skills necessary to succeed in the job? If not, are you willing to provide the training necessary? Look back at the job description, if you have one, or your specification sheet for this job.
Do the candidate’s experiences (in life and in their career) suggest that this will be a strong or a weak fit? It’s often a mistake to hire experience over talent, but when talent is strong, consider experience. Reference your spec sheet, and think about your tolerance for a “learning curve” in a candidate whose experience is less than ideal.
Does this job place the candidate on a track aimed directly at his/her professed career focus? If not, expect less job satisfaction and a shorter tenure.
Is there a good fit between the candidate’s style and talents, and the accounts you expect the candidate to develop and grow?
Is there any incompatibility between the candidate’s talents, values, and temperament and the product the candidate will represent? Some enthusiasm and interest in the product will be helpful.
In some sales departments, there is a culture of camaraderie, mutual assistance, and problem-solving. In such work groups, social and professional compatibility with other sellers may be a legitimate fit factor.
Some managers prefer to hire sellers who have certain strengths that are in limited supply among the other sellers on their staff. We prefer that our clients hire and retain highly talented individual sellers.
However, when there is a growing list of accounts that are not a good fit for your current sellers, then hiring a new seller who has a different range of talents, skills, and experience might be a smart move.
The Most Important Decision
As a manager, you will be faced with many decisions. The most important decisions are attached to people. Be sure to spend time thinking about fit the next time you are adding a seller to the team. Remember, talent is meaningless without FIT!
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2019 and has since been updated.