Hiring for Traits Not Experience

“An organization can only perform to the capacity of its individual workers; thus, people decisions must be right.” — Peter Drucker

In our industry, one of the most common mistakes I see — at companies of all sizes — is management investing substantial resources in transforming C players into A players. This is a strategy that is doomed to fail. Why? Just as there are natural “athletes” in the world, there are also people who possess natural sales ability. Natural sales talent consists of specific innate personality characteristics formed early in life and you either have them or you don’t.

A 16-month longitudinal study examined the performance gap between A players and C players and concluded that no amount of knowledge, training, time or experience will enable an individual without sales talent to perform at the same level as someone with sales success character traits.

The smarter strategy for managers? Hire candidates who have the personality traits that correlate to sales success.