How to Hire Top Performers When You Have the Patience of a 2-Year-Old

by Chris Young

hiring when impatient"I want it now! I want it now! I want it now!". These are the famous words of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Actually... I have said these very words in the last year...

We have a Client who is a rapidly-expanding entrepreneur. He is an "entrepreneur's entrepreneur". He once told us, "I have the patience of a 2-year-old" when it comes to getting talent onboard.

Over the last decade, we have seen the consequences of hiring the wrong person for the job. And the consequences are usually profound.

When it comes to hiring top performers - particularly salespeople, do you have the patience of a 2-year-old? Most entrepreneurs and sales managers want their new hires now and the costs of impatience are extraordinarily high.

What can you do?

Calculate the cost of the problem.

The fear of losing drives true entrepreneurs and high-performing sales managers absolutely crazy. If you sat down for 60 minutes and reflected on the cost of hiring the wrong salespeople, you would immediately take action. So stop...

What is the difference between a low and high sales performer? There are two major advantages from a cost standpoint of a high job fit sales team member over a low performer. Your sales management time and profits.  A low job fit salesperson will eat up your valuable management time until you throw in the towel and will not sell nearly as well as a high job fit salesperson.

Job fit matters.  

I love to hear when people say, "My gut feels good about this candidate." I am always polite as I think, "Uh huh..." After comparing performance of the best-of-the-best sales talent and also the worst, I am convinced that sale's leaders whose hiring process consists at maximum of an interview and checking references should be charged with a crime.

Human beings are biased. Interviews by themselves are inaccurate and sometimes the references are too. The best salespeople - whether inside sales, outside sales, or account management - have common traits that are measurable using a valid sales personality test.  Job Fit matters more than anything. Just as your convertible isn't made for snowy winters, some people just aren't fit for sales. 


I tell my Clients the most important decision in every decision is to decide. Decide to do something. So often people see a problem, do the research, nod in agreement that there is indeed a problem, and then do absolutely nothing about it. Decide to hire only the best salespeople and commit to doing so. Once you commit, make sure there is some there to hold you accountable to your decision.

Educate and partner.

Our best Clients educate themselves about the cost of hiring the wrong salespeople. They know how to hire salespeople effectively and to do that they need a scientific approach.

Our best Clients do not hide behind HR (so many people do). Those who hide behind HR say, "HR won't let me... HR does not believe in assessments..."

If this sounds like you, it is time to assess how much your HR department is costing you.

HR must be 100 percent onboard with the strategy to select only the best salespeople.

Have an "ABH" program.

If you are committed to only hiring the very best salespeople possible, the best "antidote" to not being able to find talent is to always be hiring. A wise person once told me, "You will not catch fish if you do not have your line in the water." Keep your line in the water at all times. You never know - the next bite may just feed the whole company.

You need what I call an "ABH Program" (Always Be Hiring).

The more your door is open, the higher the potential that you will identify a star performer.  We have seen situations where it can take hundreds of candidates to identify that truly special sales performer with the appropriate Job Fit, experience, and background.

If you are always in the "hiring mode" - you will have the ability to be choosy.

What should you do next?

Stop rushing the hiring process and follow my advice. All good things come to those who wait. Sometimes you have to patient when hiring because one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch.  Establish an objective sales hiring process that ensures you won't make the wrong hire out of desperation.

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