Lessons Odysseus And The "Halo Effect" Teach Us About Hiring Hotties

by Chris Young

Attractive Sales Candidates Can Be Like The Sirens

According to Greek mythology, The Sirens were mythical beings who lured sailors through sweetness of their song to dash their boats upon the rocks of Scylla.  Legend described them as half bird and half woman.  


In Homer's, "The Odyssey", Odysseus ordered his crew to put wax in their ears so that they were deaf to The Sirens.  Odysseus was able to hear the music and had himself tied to the mast so that he could not steer the ship off course.  

What are you doing to keep your "sales ship" on course - to avoid doing what humans naturally do - hiring attractive sales candidates who may not completely fit your ideal hiring criteria?A_sales_personality_test_will_confirm_if_an_attractive_candidate_is_going_to_be_a_sales_wolf

It is human nature...  Attractive people make attractive candidates.  

The "Halo Effect" Leads To Bad Sales Hiring Decisions

We are supposed to know better...  Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the existence of the "Halo Effect" - also known as the physical attractiveness stereotype and the "what is beautiful is good" principle.  The "Halo Effect" refers to the tendency to rate attractive individuals more favorably for their personality traits or characteristics than those who are less attractive. 

A few years ago, I observed a seasoned Sales VP hire an attractive salesperson.  I cautioned the Sales VP to use the hiring scorecard we helped them develop.  I cautioned them on the attractive candidate's lack of experience and lack of job fit.  My warnings were not heard.  Their mind was already made up.  The Sales VP could not ignore the "Siren Song" of the attractive sales candidate and hired them saying, "I see potential in her."

Fast forward three years later the Sales VP was forced to let this particular salesperson go due to poor sales performance.  

Imagine that.  

I have to wonder just how much hiring this particular salesperson primarily based on their appearance cost the company and their Sales VP.  It was literally several million in lost sales.  And it stained the reputation of the Sales VP.  

Listen...  You must avoid making stupid hiring decisions based upon human nature.  The decision is yours.  

The five steps you must implement to keep The Sirens and the "Halo Effect" out of your sales hiring decisions:

  1. Decide to only hire "sales wolves".  Only hire salespeople who have the potential to perform in the top 20th performance percentile.

  2. Use a powerful multi-science sales aptitude personality test like the TriMetrix HD in combination with a customized Job Benchmark to ensure you are objectively identifying high job fit sales candidates.

  3. Establish a sales hiring process and stick with it without exception.  

  4. Create a sales hiring scorecard and use it with every hiring decision.  The assessment results should be no more than 20 percent of the hiring decision.  Odysseus knew his nature would cause him to steer the ship towards the rocks so he had himself tied to the mast.  Your hiring scorecard is your "mast".  

  5. Make your sales hiring process transparent.  Your sales hiring process should be so amazing that if it were to be presented on the front page of your favorite business magazine your reputation would be golden - not cooked.  Making your hiring process transparent is your "mast".  

Implement these five steps and you will not only avoid the "Halo Effect" but you will also dramatically improve sales.  
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