When hiring a new rep, be sure to avoid this bias

A few months ago I wrote an article regarding the numbers myopia, an insight for those who find themselves in the difficult situation to hire a new sales rep.

In the article I focused on the fact that, in judging the sales career, numbers can lie: as I said, the numbers must be contextualised according to the situation that the salesperson was experiencing at that time.

In other words, there are several other variables to consider because in this work, numbers tell just a part of the truth.


Today I’d like to give another advice for those who are hiring: more specifically, I will focus on a bias that hits most of the new sales managers promoted from an individual contributor role.


Let me start (as always) with a forward, which will give us the basis where to build our discussion: very often a salesperson is promoted on the basis of her performance.

Indeed, it can be said that the vast majority of companies promote those who have consistently achieved their numbers, very often exceeding them.


Without delving into the topic of the skills required (skills developed as a salesperson are not enough for a managerial position, because it’s a total different job), another enemy these people constantly fight with is what I call the hiring bias.

What’s this bias about?


Hiring bias is the error which leads new managers to hire mainly considering the characteristics that led them to be promoted.

In other words, because those characteristics were crucial for his promotion, they are the right ones to look for.


Although the argument makes logical sense (after all, we are talking about a ‘mental mistake’ which knows how to lie to us), the implications are not positive.

In fact a manager who is a victim of the hiring bias, in the effort to look primarily at himself and his skills, will overlook all other characteristics necessary to evaluate a capable salesperson.


This leads to the creation of a team that is not very diverse and which is built in the image and likeness of the manager – a team built taking into account characteristics and skills that are most likely no longer suitable for the company those manager represent.

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