Data-Driven Hiring: Assess Sales Talent Before the Interview

Sales Talent Assessment
As the use of Moneyball tactics grew within the Oakland organization and in other big-league baseball clubs, the job of traditional scouts changed. Metrics did not eliminate the need for scouts, but clubs needed fewer and used them in different ways.

Today most companies review resumes and then subject candidates to as many manager interviews as possible.  As talent assessment becomes better understood and utilized to select sales stars, the traditional hiring process will have to change.

‘You Can’t Teach Height’

Red Auerbach, the great basketball coach, famously said, “You can’t teach height.” Being tall is an important advantage in basketball, and it is something you either have or lack. The analogy to height in the hiring process is that the talent interview must come first because talent is tough to teach.

Talent is best measured via a web-based assessment tool, particularly for lower level positions. The web assessment is important because it eliminates the biases inherent in job interviews and ensures hiring managers are interviewing candidates who have the necessary talent for the role.

Companies sometimes strongly object to the emphasis on EVERY candidate taking a talent assessment. These employers prefer to measure talent only for candidates they like. This common hiring practice is like a basketball scout falling in love with a 4-foot-tall center who must compete against 7-foot-tall players. Can you imagine Spud Webb trying to guard Dikembe Mutombo?

It’s best not to “fall in love” with any candidate until you know the candidate has sufficient talent for the role. The best organizations put constraints on themselves and establish minimum thresholds for their talent assessments. They don’t interview anyone who fails to meet their minimum requirements.

It may sound harsh, but remember, “You can’t teach height.” A company will save itself enormous headaches if it begins with talented candidates. With skillful training, talents can be improved within limits, but only if they already exist. A tall center can be trained to use his height to full advantage, but he must already be tall.

Discover more ways to use data-driven hiring to improve your sales results in my 15-minute presentation at the Sales Acceleration Summit. It’s now available on demand. Click the image below to see my session on Data-Driven Hiring.

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