Are You Making These Costly Recruiting Mistakes?

Recruiting is a beast in itself. Between the time a candidate decides they’re interested in talking with you to the time your client accepts your submission lies a myriad of possible landmines.

What do I mean?

Recruiting can be risky. Why? Because so many people are doing it wrong. Or at least that’s what we think. Too often the interview process relies on a tunnel vision based upon your “experience, industry knowledge, G.P.A. or where you went to school.”

What’s the problem with this approach? This recruiting methodology focuses on a person’s resume versus a candidate’s story. What they’re all about and why this correlates with what you (hiring party) needs them to get done. Qualifying candidate’s according to bullets on their resume and how many years they’ve been doing something doesn’t mean jack. You might argue this last point but the real differentiator lies in expertise versus experience.

Evidence shows that quantitative criteria matters less in the hiring of successful candidates.  Companies like Google and GE used to hire methodically according to quantitative credentials but they have found they correlate very little to success.

Our interviewing process for ex: focuses on these elements:

  • We screen across 4 critical areas


  1. Overall selling knowledge and capabilities
  2. Client critical success factors* for the role
  3. Overall success elements (creativity, grit, analysis & critical thinking, coachability)
  4. The candidates story*


We believe the ONLY way to find a successful candidate is to evaluate candidates across these four key areas. The goal, find candidates who can do the job, not resume check boxes.

There’s a few of those critical areas I just mentioned that might be unfamiliar terms which I’ll break down a bit further.

Number 2. “Critical Success Factors” for the role.

The easiest way to describe these is if you’ve ready Snap Selling, by Jill Konrath. In her book, she covers the “buyer’s persona” which is a profile you build out and use to define and target what are important buying factors to your buyer. What do they do in their role, what are their goals and objectives and what metrics mean the most to them.

We use a similar approach when hiring. We talk with every client prior to sourcing candidates to understand what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate. You might say this is common but now go beyond culture fit or a candidate’s past quota attainment. These are definitely part of our “candidate sourcing profile” but we want to understand what they need to get the job done.

What have they seen in candidates interviews that they don’t like? What would they have liked to see that no candidates have brought to the table so far? What does a day to day in the open position look like and what do they need this person to be able to achieve in helping them meet their revenue and organizational goals?

Some clients have found this to be a challenge at first but then see the silver lining when our submittals are highly targeted to exactly what they’re looking for. Yes this process takes more time, more effort and more diligence than slinging resumes like you’re Sandy Koufax. But at the end of the day, you’re there to augment your client’s hiring process, otherwise you might as well be shoving a bunch of potatoes up their muffler.

Number 4. “The Candidate’s Story”

One Word. S.T.A.R.

No, not the North Star or Jupiter but rather an acronym meaning: Situation, Task, Approach, Result.

This is a recruiting methodology which we did not invent but rather embrace in qualifying our candidate’s on a behavioral level. You won’t hear me ask a candidate about his/her greatest strength or weakness. For the love of all that is holy how does that still even happen?!

Rather ask questions like this:

  • Tell me about a problem/obstacle you solved in a unique or creative way. What was the result?
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve seen your grit/determination pay off at work. What was the outcome?
  • What steps do you take to diagnose and find a solution to a problem before making a decision? Why?
  • Tell me about a time when you were struggling in a role and what did you do about it?


Do you see how these questions demand responses more than a yes/no or just meaningless quantitative metrics. They require deep conversations where you can hear how your candidate reacts in certain situations, how they’re wired to think and how coachable they might be.

Now to tackle the title of this article. How costly can hiring the wrong person be?

We built a tool called the “Cost of Open Sales Positions Calculator” which determines the amount of revenue being left on the table when your sales roles remain open or from hiring the wrong person.



This is calculated based on the sales position’s yearly quota and accounts for the average 90 day ramp up period.

Over 123k of potential revenue on the table just over the first 90 days of your sales role staying open and/or filling it with the wrong sales person!

You can use this tool to calculate the revenue you might be leaving on the table from hiring incorrectly.

I challenge you to think different about hiring in 2017 and use these tactics I’ve shared in uncovering those uncharacteristic A+players that you might have otherwise looked right passed.

What other recruiting approaches have you found to be successful?




Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.