Hiring Wisdom from a Business Coach: Part I

Empty ChairsIs there anything more critical to your organization than its hiring process? Maybe not. After all, an organization’s talent defines its capabilities. So although bringing new employees on board can be a consuming process, it needs to be a careful one. And that’s exactly why some hiring managers call on Jackie Trepanier-Simon.

Through her business, Cultivated Coaching, Jackie offers her services as an executive and business coach to the Metro-Detroit region. One of those services includes identifying strong candidates for hiring clients. When I tapped into her wisdom recently to find out what advice she can offer to sales managers on the topic, it all came down to two crucial, common hiring mistakes. Each will be covered in our two-part series.


Identify leads, check. Communicate effectively, check. Have you ever gone into an interview with a checklist of things that a new hire must be able to do? If so, you may be on the wrong track – at least according to Jackie. “More often than not, leaders hire for role competency more so than culture fit,” she said. “But just because someone can technically do a job does not mean they’re a good culture fit for your team.”

That’s what it comes down to: culture. Jackie defines the term as “shared values within an organization.” And when those values are misaligned, it may mean missed opportunities for success. “Someone whose values don’t match with their organization’s values might not be able to function as well within the team or know how to communicate with team members in order to produce results,” she explained.


Jackie identifies a candidate’s values and whether those are a fit for the hiring team as soon as the first interview begins. She crafts open-ended questions to get interviewees talking. Here’s one of her examples: “If you ask someone: ‘How have your experiences with building candidate relationships led you to interview with this organization?’ You’re exploring a few things: their experience, their passion around building relationships, what their values are around that and why they’re where they are today.”

Of course, some hiring managers choose to stick with their checklists. “They have the ‘I can mold them as long as they know the basics’ approach,” Jackie says. But in comparing competency and culture, it’s the competency portion that can usually be taught; skills can typically be developed, whereas values may be a more complicated story.

While all managers should consider workplace culture, Jackie says it’s especially important for those within sales: “On the sales side, you want more than someone who can work effectively with clients; they have to be able to communicate effectively and produce results internally, too.” In other words, when an employee fits into their surrounding culture, it allows for stronger relationships both inside and outside of the organization. Ultimately, Jackie says, that opens doors for “success in creating a cohesive team, having strong retention and creating an innovative, fun environment.” So maybe next time you should set the checklist aside – or at least add “Culture Fit” to the top.

Tune in to Part II tomorrow to find out how you can further assure that you’re hiring the best talent for your sales team. In the meantime, you can learn more about Jackie Trepanier-Simon on cultivatedcoaching.com or find her on Twitter, @jackietrepanier

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