September 26, 2013

Most hiring managers have been here before:

salesperson-hiring-someone-like-you-1The interview with the latest candidate has been going great!

You have been really connecting with the candidate and there have been really strong positive vibes.

In fact, this candidate even reminds you a bit of yourself early on in your career. He or she has many of the same characteristics you do. He even has the same quirky sense of humor!

What is not to like, right?

Actually, hiring a sales candidate who is just like you can potentially be dangerous for several key reasons.


Starting with the Man in the Mirror

It is so enticing to select a candidate that shares your best – and maybe even most idiosyncratic – traits. You know from experience that these characteristics lead to a successful career in sales. I mean, look at you! You have done really well for yourself!

However, before you run off into the sunset with your sales doppleganger, there are some things to keep in mind.


Are You Seeing the Candidate Clearly?

clearly assess the sales candidates that reminds you of yourselfFirst, when a candidate reminds you of yourself, you are often blind to the person’s negative traits.

We have a natural preference for people who share our values and opinions. Although this preference is great for making friends, it can be dangerous for hiring.

This problem is especially pronounced in sales, where the interviewer is often looking for someone who is likeable.

Starting out in your career, you probably had some major weaknesses that you needed to overcome in order to become the success you are today. A candidate that shares your strengths may also share these weaknesses and may require more coaching and investment of time and money to get him on the right path.

Secondly, remember that you are hiring for a sales position – not your own. What makes a great sales manager does not always translate to making a great sales rep. You need to recognize the different skills and traits that are needed in each position and determine how this candidate measures up for the ones necessary to succeed as a sales representative.

That is not to say that you should avoid hiring a candidate that shares commonality with you. We just want to make sure that you are looking objectively for the newest and best recruit for your sales team.


Focusing on the Long Term

conduct an objective sales interview

There are several estimates on how costly it is to hire the wrong salesperson.

Even though it varies from business to business and from industry to industry, the bottom line is the same: hiring mistakes cost you time and money.

The wrong hire means wasted time on training and wasted money on compensation.

So while that candidate who could be your long lost twin might seem great, you need to make sure that he has the Drive to make you money, not the capability to make you lose it!

Here is one simple method to help you avoid the problem of hiring your clone:

When you find yourself bonding strongly with a candidate, during a natural break in the interview process, stop and ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. How is this candidate like me?
  2. What do I like most about this person?
  3. What kinds of things could I be missing because of it? (Hint: think about your own shortcomings.)

Answering these questions allows you to reflect on what character traits you really need in your sales reps, and not just the ones you would like from your friends.


Use a Sales Assessment for an Objective Look

Click here to learn morerp_DTshortreport-300x168.jpg about our sales test, The DriveTest™. We have developed this sales assessment to provide an objective measure of the three critical elements of Drive, Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism, in your sales candidates. Research has shown that successful salespeople share these three traits. Make sure your candidates possess these characteristics before hiring.

Or if you would like to test your existing sales team, learn more about The Production Builder©. Designed to help sales managers gain a better understanding of their teams’ weaknesses and strengths, this sales assessment will allow you to structure your team based on each member’s characteristics.

Still unsure about how a sales assessment can help your hiring process? You can now try our sales assessment for free with our free trial!


Have You Ever Hired Someone Like You?

Did you find that the candidate had the same weaknesses as you? Or did they turn out to be your better half?

If you have ever fallen into the trap of hiring someone like yourself, let us know. What did you learn from the experience? How do you avoid the trap now, knowing it is there?

Share your story with us by commenting below!