Some highly Driven people have big personalities and are virtually bursting out of their skin with energy and ideas.
But high levels of Drive can also be found in quieter people who are less assuming, who have underneath a burning Need for Achievement and are ferociously Competitive.
Hiring new personalities can be incredibly stressful. We all know that many salespeople will try to work a fake swagger – those salespeople that will look for a job but are not looking to actually work hard.
How can you weed those all talk, low-Drive candidates out?
Could you imagine trying to detect Drive in a candidate like Warren Buffet? He harbors the beating heart of a lion but does a superb job of staying collected and unboastful. He uses this to his advantage, scouring the world for opportunities to secure deals on his own terms. How do you hire candidates like him?
The key to finding like-minded professionals in your field is using the tools provided by the digital age. The combination of a good sales aptitude test and a thorough behavioral interview are the two best methods to save you from making a money-sink hire.
You do not want to be fooled by the actor with no substance, but you also do not want to miss a potentially high-Drive salesperson just because they may not exhibit an over-the-top personality at first blush.
Finding and hiring these personalities is vital because low key salespeople attract low key customers, who often feel more comfortable with a calmer type of person. Go deep with your sales recruiting and you will dig out some wonderful nuggets that you might otherwise miss by not applying a deeper, one-two assessment punch.
Traits in Successful Salespeople
First, know what traits to look for in powerful candidates. Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a TED talk defining “grit” as a distinct personality trait. She says that a successful hire does not “win” all the time. Instead, the best hires learn from their mistakes and maintain their self confidence through times of failure, recognizing that failure will happen sometimes.
Grit, she maintains, is a combination of hard work and a razor-sharp focus. Her talk addresses how people with grit often create opportunities for themselves.
In sales, the terminology we use to describe a concept similar to grit is Drive. Drive is a combination of three specific, measurable and innate characteristics that are found in the best salespeople:
- Need for Achievement. This is the endless, burning desire to be excellent at everything you do. Candidates that score high in this category will pursue their current sales goal regardless of the obstacles.
- Competitiveness. A candidate can be competitive with themselves or those around them. They keep the competition friendly but fierce; knowing how to use the performance of others to see what is possible.
- Optimism. Optimistic employees recover quickly from disappointment. Whether your salesperson has spent two days chasing a dead lead or had some setbacks at home, the optimistic person never sees dead ends with brick walls. Instead, they hunt around for a pickaxe.
While Drive can be nearly impossible for sales managers to pinpoint during an interview, it is a key factor in determining whether your candidate will have long-term sales performance.
No matter how experienced you are at hiring, without well-developed tools to quantitatively measure these difficult to discern traits, you are bound to make hiring mistakes.
Top 2 Tools to Add to Your Sales Hiring Process
By implementing a combination of strategic hiring tools, you can determine how a candidate will respond within your company.
1. Behavioral Interviewing
The idea behind behavioral interviewing is that the candidates sitting in front of you will perform more or less the same as they did at their last job. The questions assess how they approached problems in the past, which should reflect how they will handle similar situations in your workplace.
The best interview questions will determine if their methodology will be successful when combined with your team. You can learn how the candidate thinks through problems and what they would bring to the table.
Sometimes, you have a candidate who appears to be earnest but does not have the necessary skill set to immediately hit the ground running.
How do you know whether or not to give them a chance? This question is especially crucial when considering hiring recent graduates or a candidate looking to make a career change into sales.
Whether or not the candidate can learn to change their existing methodology or if it could be changed in the future is up to the candidates’ genetics, personality, and Drive.
2. Online Sales Assessments
An effective sales assessment test is the only way to really delve further into your candidate’s personality, underneath the polished interview answers and past all the possible deceptions in order to get down to that grit.
Even if your potential candidate has years of experience selling in your industry, you must push aside the temptation to let the test slide “just that one time.”
There are a lot of reasons a potential hire could be showing a great track record from their previous company. In some cases, that record can be chalked up to a brand doing all the work for the candidate.
Large companies generate leads on their own because everyone knows what that company offers. Other times a salesperson has built their territory around a place they grew up, or slowly compiled their leads over a long period of time, and floats on repeat business.
An expertly developed sales assessment is the only way to accurately measure those three important traits that facilitate success. In conjunction with behavioral interviewing, you will be able to figure out if the candidate can succeed long term, removing those frustrating “if” factors.