Managers: Are You Screening for Personal Responsibility?

BY Kathy Crosett
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He’s out there. The perfect candidate is just waiting to be hired as your next salesperson. But, how do you make the perfect decision? Writing for Engageselling​.com, Colleen Francis recommends that you screen for the right personality traits.

Sales managers may vary when it comes to the kind of traits they want most in their reps. One manager may prize loyalty and excellence with detail, while another may always hire candidates who appear to be outgoing. As a sales manager, you’re in the unique position of understanding the type of candidate who will fit in with your existing reps and also get the job done.

The candidates interviewing for your open position are likely to have a variety of strengths. Personal responsibility should be among these strengths, says Francis. To delve into this characteristic, prepare solid interview questions in advance. These questions should be designed to get at how the candidate views what has happened in the past.

For example, you might ask the candidate to describe what happened when she lost a big client. Listen carefully to her answer. At some point, if she owns up to what she could have done differently to keep the client, you may have a winner. A candidate who goes on and on about how everyone else was at fault may be a prima donna who won’t want to listen to any of your feedback once she’s on board.

Francis touches on another aspect of personal responsibility, too. Super motivated sales reps are always interested in developing their skills. During the interview process, ask your top candidates about their professional development efforts. If you’re lucky enough to find one who has paid to attend sales workshops on his own, you’ve found a rep who’s willing to take personal responsibility to the highest level.

If it’s been a while since you've reviewed the interview questions you're using, show your willingness to take personal responsibility and update them to ensure you're hiring the best candidate for the position.