Why Can't We Hire This Sales Candidate?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

sales recruiting processWe interviewed him; she's from our industry; we really like him; but your assessment says she is not recommended.  Why can't we hire her?

That's probably the single, most frequently asked question that we hear.

So, to answer the "Why can't we?" question, there are two more questions:

  1. Why is this happening?
  2. Why isn't the candidate recommended?
#1 is easy.  It happens when clients fail to follow the proper sequence of events, jump the gun and interview a candidate prior to assessing.  That is the only way for a client to fall in love with a candidate who isn't recommended.  If the proper sequence had been followed, the candidate would have been assessed, and if not recommended, there would not have been an interview.  So, whenever this scenario does occur, we must look at compliance: Who is allowing managers to not adhere (and/or why are managers not adhering) to the sales recruiting process that was established?
#2 isn't as simple.  Not recommended occurs whenever the candidate fails to meet established minimum requirements for the position.  We customize our assessments to the degree where we are able to accurately predict whether a particular candidate will succeed selling your specific product or service, with your price points, against your competition, to your market, by title, with all the specific challenges and nuances that your salespeople face, and with the support, management and expectations that sales management will provide.  As a result, there are dozens of criteria variations and it is not practical to address all of them here.  To keep  it simple, let's take a macro look here:
  • The candidate must have both strong desire and strong commitment for sales success.  Deal breakers.
  • The candidate must enjoy selling and be highly motivated.  Deal breakers.
  • The candidate must possess the minimum required sales DNA (the strengths that support successful selling) for their role at your company.  Deal breaker.
  • The candidate must have the minimum required selling skills for the role.  Deal breaker.
  • The candidate must meet all of the client-specific selling criteria for the role.  Deal breaker.
Most frequently, the push back on the recommendation has to do with Desire or Commitment.  A salesperson could be quite successful and strong, but lack desire and/or commitment.  What clients fail to understand is that these are not inaccurate findings relative to the candidate's history; they are accurate predictions relative to the candidate's future!
It doesn't matter what a candidate has achieved to this point in time:
  • They could have struggled and be at the point where they can make a tremendous contribution;
  • They could have succeeded and be at the point where they can't do it (build a territory, book of business or customer base) again;
  • They could have struggled and, because little has changed, they will continue to struggle;
  • They could have succeeded and be well-positioned for continued success.
It's all about what this candidate will bring to the table tomorrow and beyond.
When a strong candidate lacks Desire or Commitment for sales success, it doesn't mean that they are no longer strong.  It means that when the going gets tough, they may not have it in them to do what they used to do - hang in there, persevere, do what it takes, overcome resistance, navigate the politics or red tape of an opportunity.
How much of this can you get from a personality test?  None of it!

How consistent is your sales recruiting process?  Use this free sales recruiting process grader and find out.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Personality Tests, sales assessment tests, sales assessments, objective management group

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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