The Best Way to Find “A” Players

Finding “A” players to hire in today’s market is hard for everyone to do. Are you missing out on hiring great employees because you are focusing too much on a specific skill set and how many years of experience they have? Keep in mind, there are people with 10 years of experience selling specifically to your target audience that can be out sold by sales people with 3 years of sales experience and no industry experience, so years of experience and other competencies aren’t the only thing you are measuring in your hiring decisions. Hiring managers, it’s time review your hiring process and see if you are looking at the right factors when you’re talking to candidates. The old school managers hire on skill sets and years of experience, but if you’ve hired successful sales people recently, you should be open to hiring people who can do the job. It’s time to look at success traits, not just how many years of experience they have selling widgets or whatever your company sells. Leadership IQ’s white paper on Hiring for Attitude ( to skyrocket your hiring success rate) provides statistics to back up these thoughts. They say “46% of all newly hired employees will fail within 18 months”. It’s not all about skill set anymore, “contrary to popular belief, technical skills are not the primary reason new hires fail; instead interpersonal skills dominate the list, flaws which many managers admit to overlooking during the interview process.” Their failure list includes coachability as the highest at 26% , emotional intelligence 23%, motivation 17%, temperament 15% and technical skill set at only 11% of the reason people fail in a job. The typical interview focuses too much on skill set and not enough on, “can this person do the job they are interviewing for?” It’s time to focus on identifying what’s really important for someone to be successful in the job. Take some time to identify what it takes for someone to be successful and create your own list. We call it the “critical success factors” and ask some probing questions around those factors. Start paying attention to other things besides the technical skill set and you will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of candidates you start seeing. At ASGR we ask our clients to identify the top 3 critical success factors that should make the person successful at their company in the position they are looking to fill. Here are a few examples:

  1. A drive and hunger for sales – the drive and passion to achieve their full potential
  2. Good discovery skills – the ability to ask good questions and listen closely to identify the prospects pain
  3. Strategic approach – Not too tactical with the ability to overcome objections and show the value proposition of the company
  4. Coachable – The ability to accept feedback from others and make the necessary changes

  Take the time to identify the “critical success factors” for your organization and add that to your job interview. It just may help you find the “A” player you’ve been looking for OR reach out and I’ll help find you an “A” player using our methodology.


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.