Run Away from the “Face Palm” Sales Candidate

In this series, I’m identifying a group of sales candidates who, when hired, fail to meet expectations. But they all have one thing in common: they interview well.

You struggle to hire good salespeople but experience frustration when they fail to meet their sales goals. Here is an example of a type of sales candidate you’ll want to avoid…

The Face Palm

The Face Palm salesperson lacks common sense. They are a lousy sales candidate and they don’t have the capacity to make clear perceptions about the way business and life function. In other words, they don’t see the obvious. As a result, you find yourself slapping the palm of your hand against your forehead wondering how someone, who appears to be a normal human being, could do something so stupid.

What you see

You see an ordinary sales candidate. They interview well and have the type of sales experience you’re looking for. No alarms go off. You feel comfortable interviewing them. Your colleagues like the person. Literally, there are no worries. You look forward to moving to the next step and probably hiring them.

What you assume

Because they interview well and have experience in a similar sales role, you assume that they will succeed like your other top performers. However, your assumption is mostly based on the surface level observations of personality style combined with their answers to your interview questions. You have no idea what’s going on below the surface.

What you don’t see

You don’t see their lack of common sense. (Yes, we can measure that.) You don’t see the hidden gaps in their thinking that force you to ask a very frustrating question after you’ve hired them: “What were you thinking!?” If you’ve ever had to haul an employee into your office and ask them this question, you know how painful it can be. The problem, you probably won’t see this during your hiring process. And if someone told you they lacked common sense, you might question their comment. Bottom line, this is a lousy sales candidate.

What you get

What you get is a sales rep that cannot “think on their feet”. They struggle performing tasks outside of very defined business processes. They may lack very specific social skills. Although they appear to be normal, they exhibit odd or inappropriate behaviors that can affect relationships with customers, your sales team or your company reputation.

Some examples are that they:

  • Cannot function without a documented procedure (little to no intuition)
  • Struggle with big picture thinking (can’t develop a long-term plan)
  • Violate simple rules without realizing it (I knew a sales rep who hugged a CEO on a sales call!)
  • Challenged by problem solving (cannot develop a useable solution by analyzing the problem)
  • Have difficulty managing a project (They may need constant supervision)
  • Struggle with time management (Inability to set priorities and deadlines and create efficiency)

Avoid hiring lousy sales candidates. Be sure to objectively determine if your sales candidate has the capacity for rational thinking (common sense). Use an in-depth sales assessment tool to help you uncover this hidden attribute that contributes to a sales rep’s success or failure.