Sometimes a sheep dressed like a wolf applies for a sales position. It looks like an alpha wolf, successful and with keen instincts, but behind the fangs it’s fluffy and a little slow. Detection of a sheep in wolf’s clothing requires careful discernment.
Their resume is excellent, and their previous performance appears top notch; however, the CEO’s need to be rescued by the apparent alpha seller can be overpowering and cloud his/her critical judgment. The anticipated rewards of a sizzling sales force, one that can rescue the company, may result in hiring impostors. Therefore, the CEO and interviewing panel need a due-diligence approach to hiring.
There are several steps to mitigate the cycle of mistakenly hiring the sheep instead of the wolf.
Combine a large measure of behavioral interviewing with ongoing willingness to be as objective as possible in the selection process — this is how to avoid costly hiring mistakes.
Don’t fall into the trap of hiring in haste. Having an urgent need to fill the position does not mean you take the first person who wants the job. It is better for both you and the candidate if you take the time to make a good decision.
An alpha seller’s eagerness to fill the position should not exceed your need to have it filled. Many sales deals take months and years to close and in that long process, the salesperson must be able to experience the client’s due diligence process. If this candidate looks too good to be true, he likely is. They, in trying to rush you, are demonstrating their inability to manage their emotions and feelings long enough to close the deal.
Salespeople should also practice a due diligence process where they do not accept the first offer. It is always prudent for both parties to remember that fear of financial insecurity causes financial insecurity.
When a salesperson applies for a position in your organization, it can be difficult to judge from a resume and references alone whether they are a genuine wolf or a sheep dressed like a wolf. If you do make a mistake, remember that it is human nature to hang onto a sheep in the faint hope that the imposter, having found success previously in a corporate setting, will rise again. No matter how hard you hope, the sheep will always be a sheep and you will again need to go hunting for a wolf.
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