Employers Hub | Is your team accountable?
Almost every sales manager I talk to rates accountability at the very top of the list when it comes to traits they are looking for in their new hires.
This has only been amplified due to COVID-19 as sales teams are working remotely, away from the watchful eye of managers. Am I hiring someone who will own an issue or a problem or someone that shirks responsibility? What activity will we see when no one is looking?
So, how do you recruit for this skill set, and how do you pick it in an interview?
An easy place to start is by finding out why candidates left previous roles. If the blame consistently shifts to external factors, this is a major red flag – my manager, my territory, etc. Don’t get me wrong, a bad culture and a bad manager are valid reasons to leave a role, but if there is a pattern that emerges, it’s time to dig deeper.
Moreover, I want to get a sense of ownership for issues they have faced and an acceptance of a world that isn’t perfect. I’m looking for an attitude of “how I responded and managed these situations is what defines me, not the situations themselves”. Is there motivation to own an issue and take on the challenge, or is there a sense of inculpability?
Accountability goes hand in hand with grit, and, like all traits, they are partly innate and partly developed. For example, the candidate who ran a business or worked in a commission-only sales role early in their career stands out to me because there is definite accountability right there on paper. It points to someone who relishes a challenge and is forced to be accountable.
On the other hand, the candidate that has worked for the big vendor for ten years + with great tenure might also be “institutionalized” over time and learnt bad habits. Of course, no assumptions should be made, but it’s important to get context and ask situational questions that uncover their motivation to own issues.
Accountability for solving problems, personal results, and owning a sales cycle sets someone up for success in the modern sales age.
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Pulse Recruitment is a specialist tech sales recruitment agency, designed specifically to help find sales staff within the highly competitive Asia-Pacific market. Find out more by visiting our hire staff page!
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