There is a saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee and it’s applicable to sales hiring. Sometimes the sales candidate we finally select  is more the result of trying to satisfy too many opinions instead of reflecting the small number of key competencies needed to do the job.

And the culprit – the silent killer – is profile creep, the introduction of subjective and at times random candidate profile criteria that do not reflect the core competencies needed to do a critical sales role.

What gradually happens is that each stakeholder in the hiring process develops – separately – their own view of the “perfect” candidate profile. If for example, you have 3 people involved in a hiring project on the employer side, you can end up trying to satisfy 3 completely different candidate profiles, even as early as the first interview stage.

How to Avoid Profile Creep

A Small Set of Critical Profile Criteria: Agree upfront on a single set of candidate profile criteria following this pattern: Essential, Advantageous and Nice-to-have. You can develop such a profile using this one-page profile template.

A Single Decision Owner: While it’s inevitable that there will be multiple stakeholders on the employer side in a hiring process, there still needs to be a single manager who can assemble all feedback and decide what is relevant and useful. That person should be the manager with the most to lose in the event of a bad hire, usually the person to whom the new hire will report. They own the final decision about a candidate and they own the outcomes.

Filter Casual Feedback: Casual feedback can create red line selection issues that then turn out not to matter. It would be nice to find someone who is full of energy and wants to make a mark, can turn into an impossible-to-find, holy grail search for a candidate who does not exist.

Download Candidate Profile Templates