Why You Don’t Hire for Experience or Degree – The Difference Between Sourcing and Selecting Criteria


There are two types of hiring criteria; the sourcing criteria and the selection criteria and too often we get them confused.

When were looking to hire our next “A” player or that new CSO, we create a list of the things we want in the person.  It usually looks like this:

  1. 10 years of selling experience
  2. At least 5 years in XYZ industry
  3. Experience managing large enterprise accounts
  4. Bachelors or MBA required
  5. Experience selling XYZ products
  6. Experience managing teams of 200 or more
  7. Ability to grow sales organization from 10 million to 100 million
  8. Ability to manage large international team
  9. Has led or currently manages a large channel sales team
  10. Successful track record of moving from outside sale to inside sale
  11. etc.

Nothing special about this right.  Seems like your typical sales or VP of sales list.

Take a closer look, can you tell the difference between the sourcing criteria and the selection criteria?  I suppose you are wondering, what’s the difference? Why does it matter? It matters because sourcing criteria is like profiling or segmenting, where selection criteria is assessing.

Things like number of years experience, previous jobs, degree, certain industry expertise, etc. are all sourcing criteria. That means they should be used to “source” candidates in the beginning. They are the price to play. They should NOT be used as selection criteria.

Selection criteria is the data that can be ascertained that demonstrates someone can actually DO the job they are hiring for.  Selection criteria is the proof, sourcing criteria is the filter.

To often organization hire the person based on sourcing criteria. They hire the degree, the previous job, the years of experience, the “credentials” and that is a mistake. Degree’s, previous job titles, years of experience, etc. only correlate to success, they don’t cause it. Sourcing criteria should be given to the recruiter to find or source the initial field of candidates and then left with the recruiter. Sourcing criteria should NEVER make it’s way into the selection process.

Selection criteria is all about proof, demonstration, evidence, methodologies, skills identification, talent assessment, knowledge transfer and more. Selection criteria look more like this:

  1. Has demonstrated and proven ability to scale small sales organizations into large
  2. Has a proven methodology and approach to team development and succession planning
  3. Can demonstrate effective, direct-team selling methodologies to accelerate sales cycle times
  4. Delivered strong case for international growth planning and risk mitigation
  5. Demonstrated strong proclivity for planning and execution

These are selection criteria. If a candidate can demonstrate the above, then they are making strong case they would be successful in the role. If someone met all the sourcing criteria but was unable to deliver on the above, you lose.

Don’t mix up your candidate criteria. Be very clear what you are filter for vs what you are hiring for — they are VERY different.