Want to See Your People and Organization Thrive? Then Hire For the Right Seat

Carter Hopkins

Carter Hopkins




Early Stage

Finding the right who when recruiting for an open sales position is only half of the equation – although an essential one. If you don’t place those people, the ones that fit well with your culture, into roles that match their experience, skill sets, and innate hardwiring, you’re going to be left looking for their replacement in the not-too-distant future.

That’s why I want to take a closer look at the critical fourth stage of the hiring funnel – finding the right seat – and what makes it so integral to your sales organization’s present and future success.

What Does it Mean to be in the Right Seat?

As human beings, our hardwiring is usually set in place by our late teens and early 20s. That means by the time we are out of college and ready to take on the world, we already have a good idea of what our natural strengths and curiosities are.

When it comes to finding the right seat, much of it – but not all – depends on that innate hardwiring. If someone is more introverted or reserved but an open sales job requires them to be on the phone all day, it probably won’t be the right seat.

Unfortunately, even though that person might produce great numbers, the role simply doesn’t pair well with their natural hardwiring. And as many hiring professionals can attest, if someone has to stretch in a position to be someone they’re not, there’s a good chance they will quickly leave for something that’s a better fit.

Now that’s not to say that our strengths and skill sets can’t continue to evolve with experience. Someone might be new to sales but with some time and effort, can grow into a top performer. That, in a nutshell, is what constitutes the right seat – where someone’s natural hardwiring and skill set converge in a position that checks all the right boxes.

Understanding a Candidate With Assessments

The concept of hardwiring, although one of the closest things we have to an absolute in recruiting, leaves hiring managers with a significant challenge:

How do you determine what a candidate’s innate strengths are short of just asking them and hoping for the truth?

That’s where assessments play such a pivotal role in the process. Now, I understand that assessments aren’t exactly new in the sales recruiting and hiring process. However, many companies are only scratching the surface in the far-reaching insights that assessments can provide.

Of course, most are already well-acquainted with culture assessments to help identify the right who for an organization. But as I said, the right seat isn’t so much about culture and personality as it is about hardwiring, experience, and skill set.

Therefore, a more predictive assessment that targets personality traits and natural abilities is far more useful in determining if an open sales position is the right seat for a candidate. Before you start searching for a personality assessment for this important stage of the hiring funnel, though, there’s yet another critical topic to keep in mind.

Choosing Between Experience and Potential

Although you can use the same personality and predictive assessment for both an experienced candidate and someone fresh out of college, what you’re looking for and do with the results should be different. Thus, before you can fully leverage assessments to align the right who with the right seat, you have to understand exactly what you’re looking for – experience or potential.

An Experienced Candidate

This is a candidate that already has a proven track record in a similar position to the open seat. In this case, an assessment would focus on their developed skill set rather than their hardwiring since it’s safe to assume past success in a similar role means they have natural strengths for the position.

For the most part, this is a safer bet with less risk for a sales organization since you already have a decent idea of what to expect from them. However, such safe bets usually have a lower ceiling, meaning it’s exceptionally rare to hire an experienced candidate that far exceeds your expectations.

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