April 22, 2013
Can you identify a great sales person from a whole pack of applicants? Maybe you look at their past accomplishments, the way they use LinkedIn, their way with people or whether they seem to have an outgoing personality. You’ll check their resume and their references. Of course their phone calls to you, their job interview and the way they present themselves is critical. But none of these describes the single trait that successful sales people share. Read on to get the scoop.
First, some background. Several new initiatives are using Big Data to do a gut check for HR purposes. They are identifying the traits of employees who are very successful in their jobs. The results of the data analytics are sometimes very different from the conventional wisdom and traditional practices followed by HR and hiring managers, according to this report in the New York Times.
Sales Reps Single Most Important Trait
For instance, an outgoing personality has been assumed to be the defining trait of successful sales people, Tim Geisart, chief marketing officer for IBM’s Kenexa unit, told the NYT (NYSE:IBM). But that’s not what the data shows. According to Kenexa’s research which is based on millions of worker surveys, tests and manager assessments, the most important characteristic for sales success is emotional courage or a persistence to keep going even after initially being told no.
(IBM acquired Kenexa last year for $1.3 billion. The company does recruiting, hiring and training, as well as surveys and assessments of job applicants, employees and managers. It is one of several companies identified as specializing in Big Data analysis for human resources and productivity optimization purposes.)
The following provides a quick look at some other interesting misconceptions and data points about finding the right employees that were provided by the report:
In call center environments, the quality of the supervisor is more important than the skills of the workers themselves
An applicant’s work history (job hopping, a period of unemployment) is no indication of the worker’s future performance
Google has found that the most innovative workers (also the happiest by the company’s definition) are those with a strong sense of mission about their work who also feel they have a great deal of personal autonomy
Google has abandoned screening by SAT scores and college grade-point averages — metrics initially favored by its founders
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