Common Mistakes
Most hiring begins with vaguely-defined qualifications. A lot look like this:  male or female, college graduate, with 2 years selling experience, with good communication skills and a pleasant personality. All right, so the intent is to open the doors wide open for many candidates to pour in. And so they do in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The candidates are screened by HR, eliminating attitudinal and behavioral deviants, law violators, standard hygiene offenders, rightly so! Then the candidates take a battery of tests and possibly a psychometric evaluation. These are necessary filters and helpful in drawing profiles. And then there are just a few left. Remaining candidates are interviewed for consistency with psychometric evaluation, previous impressions and to compare with each other to prune down to a shortlist. This is a critical phase where premature subjectivity can eliminate good candidates while allowing in those who may not be the best fit. In the first place, has the interviewer been provided a brief by the requisitioning unit or is the interviewer using her own initiative? Likewise, what questions are being used or are these left to the interviewer’s imagination? Are the interviewers aptly comparing the candidate profile with a pre-defined one? If not, why?
More often the dotted line between the function of the position being filled and what qualitative nuances the candidate must have is not so easy to connect. Often, mere subjective impressions depending on how candidates handle their interviews tend to unduly influence selection as a default of not having a pre defined ideal profile and mapping of qualities to match with eventual candidate functionality for both the immediate and the possible career progression. Obviously these issues are primary sources of sales problems: hiring the wrong candidate!
The Better Way
To avoid hiring and spending tremendous amounts of resources on-boarding and activating the wrong candidates who will eventually fallout or become genuine excuses for missed goals, sales management should clearly define who it is they seek.
This begins with clearly defining the sales channel mission and functions needed to carry such out. Will the salesperson be focused on business-to-business, business- to-consumer, retail selling, telemarketing inbound or outbound, managing accounts, developing new ones, selling existing or introducing new products, selling competitively priced or premium products, covering areas in the metropolis or provincial, having to work during office hours, at night or weekends relative to target market, will need to be mobile via a car, truck, van or public commute? What would be the extent or limits of the salesperson’s responsibilities in the back room? Does he/she need to coordinate internal logistics, does he need to compose correspondence or respond to them? What kind of analysis work will he/she need to perform? Should the salesperson be authorized to negotiate? All these should be organized and mapped out to define the functional ‘DNA’ of the salesperson being searched for  and complemented with the ideal personality and attitudinal profile that can be predictive of success. With these in place, formulating well-designed and sequenced questions becomes the next step. Finally, a candidate interview evaluation template must be provided to the screeners to ensure they relevantly filter and progress to develop the composite picture for semi-final and final candidates. 
With the proper system, hiring the right candidate has a higher success probability, less error-prone and avoids hypertension-inducing frustrations thereafter. Little is left to chance of just being razzle-dazzled with either just the physical attributes or the communication-projection ability of the individual candidates.  Strengthening this phase, will avoid much rework and wasted time in trying to fit into the sales mission a poorly recruited candidate. Likewise, this prevents wasting the time and careers of candidates who should not have been considered in the first place.
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company.  He laid down in equation form, the formula for selling success that accounts for selling mission variances and through his concurrent work as CEO of Connecting Mavens, is continuing to develop Sales DNA-Genome archetypes to better guide Sales Leaders and HR in hiring and developing the right salespeople based on sales missions. For a quarter of a century, he has injected science into almost all disciplines of selling, account development, account management, negotiation among other contributions to the wealth of practicable business knowledge and tools. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to You can also visit