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Recruiting, Interviewing and Selecting Sales Force Talent

2. If You Can’t Describe the Sales Job, You Can’t Fill It

All sales jobs are composed of responsibilities and tasks. The higher a job is in an organisation’s hierarchy, the greater the responsibilities, the fewer the tasks; the lower it is in the hierarchy, the greater the tasks with lesser responsibilities.
Here's a process that will help you define and describe any position you are looking to recruit:

Exercise 1
Nominate a position you're likely to recruit in the next 3-6 months and list 3 key responsibilities for that position, ie. what will they be held accountable to achieve.

Of course responsibilities can only be lived up to if people perform tasks.

Exercise 2
Select the #1 responsibility you defined above and list three tasks that must be performed in order to achieve that responsibility, ie. what actions/behaviours are required to achieve that responsibility.

You also need to consider the rules of your specific ball game. Consider for a moment what are the environmental influences or special conditions that will impact how the sales role you’ve identified will be performed. These might include: How will the person be managed; closely, remotely? How directly will they be working with customers? How much travel or off-site meetings are required to fulfill the role? Does the work expose them to any hazardous situations? Does the role require dealing with angry or hostile people?

Exercise 3
Using the above as a guide, list the environmental influences or special conditions that will impact the position you identified in Exercise 1.

With the Responsibilities, Tasks and Special Conditions in mind, when evaluating potential people for the role you then need to consider two critical things:
  • what they Can Do
  • what they Will Do
CAN-DO’s are essentially knowledge, education and skills.

Exercise 4
List the Can-Do’s required to perform the tasks you detailed in Exercise 2.

Exercise 5
List the Can-Do’s that may be required to meet any of the environmental influences or special conditions you identified in Exercise 3.

WILL-DO’s are the personal attributes you need to evaluate that an individual brings to the job and include: Attitude, Aptitudes and Behaviour Traits, and Basic Motivations.

Exercise 6
List the Will-Do’s necessary to perform the tasks in Exercise 2, under the environmental influences or special conditions you determined in Exercise 3.

It’s unusual to find the perfect person; therefore you need to determine what you will settle for.  Review your Can-Do’s and Will-Do’s and specify which are ‘MUST-HAVE’ or ‘NICE-TO-HAVE’ attributes.  A MUST-HAVE is an attribute a person must have in order to do the job because you're unable or unwilling to provide it. A NICE-TO-HAVE is an attribute you're able or willing to provide or can help them develop.

Exercise 7
Identify your MUST-HAVE and NICE-TO-HAVE attributes and remember, it’s a MUST-HAVE if it’s a required attribute you can’t provide!

The more MUST’s you have on your list, the more you can expect to pay.  For certain roles the finished product is rare and expensive.  Don’t just look for winners, they’re usually hard to spot; look for losers (such as those people who don’t have the MUST-HAVE’s or have too many knock-out factors) because they’re easier to identify.
Now we'll take a look at how to prepare for the interview and selection process.
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