Remote work isn’t new to the sales profession. In fact, it’s in the top 7 industries for most remote jobs. Field representatives and account executives often travel to meet with and manage their clients. So while there are some adjustments to be made during this isolation period, sales people have been ready and prepared for the challenges of working alone for some time. The key to hiring a successful sales professional who can work well away from the office, is to look for mental toughness during the hiring process.

Why should you look for #MentalToughness during the hiring process? @CaliperCorp shows you why it might make all the difference for #remote employees: Click To Tweet

Habits of Mental Toughness

While there’s no test to target mental toughness in your candidates, there are key characteristics and skills to look for during the hiring process. By catering your interviews and questions to certain habits, you can start to suss out those candidates who may have mental toughness.

Here are a few ways to focus your questions to gauge mental toughness:

Ask them about the way they communicate. 

Communication is key when working independently, and those who have mental toughness are well-organized and informed. Those willing to have regular one-to-one conversations demonstrate that they are prepared and ready to talk about their work. Staying informed is important to what they’re doing, and they understand that keeping their managers informed is equally important. This also provides them ample opportunity to articulate and break down any barriers they’re facing.

Ask them how they stay focused. 

Individuals with mental toughness know that maintaining focus is key to achieving their goals. Talk to your candidates to better understand what they do to self-manage and stay organized so that they’re able to maintain their motivation and follow through on their tasks. Without mental toughness, candidates may struggle to come up with tried and true methods to remain focused without someone checking in on them. Look for proactive answers over reactive answers.

Ask them about their process.

Mentally tough individuals are thorough and structured. Athletes often have rituals they repeat over and over, and in a professional setting, that can often translate to having a refined, repeatable process that they’ve found works well for them on a reliable basis. Ask them about how they measure their success, and how they structure their workflow and processes around the lessons they’ve learned from their successes and failures.

Ask them about how they listen.

Mental toughness means an individual has a lot of internal strength and fortitude, but they usually get there by listening carefully to feedback and paying attention to the needs of their teammates, coaches, or nuances of the game. In the sales field, a mentally tough person will not only listen carefully to the feedback from their managers and peers, but they also understand the value of active listening to their prospects. They’ll want to get deep insights into the problem so that they can better understand the solution.

Ask them about their follow-through

Mentally tough salespeople take pride in their work and are thorough from start to finish. They understand that deals can fall through at any time, and don’t leave any loose ends. Ask candidates how they wrap up a deal, and what their closing processes are like. Someone who hands off the contract and moves onto the next deal might miss a few key interactions without someone double-checking their work.

Bonus Content: Build Your All-Star Sales Team!

Finding Energy to Succeed From Home

Another key aspect of mental toughness that can be uncovered during the hiring process, is learning more about the way the candidates find the energy and persistence to stay motivated while working away from the office. Not only do they need to be self-driven, but they have to be able to talk themselves through disappointment when there isn’t a coworker there to provide a pep talk.

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Things you can ask your candidates to gauge the way they self-motivate include:

  • What kinds of shorthand or efficiency tricks have you discovered in the way you work?
  • How do you know when it’s time to take a break, and what do you do to re-energize?
  • What’s your motivator that keeps you going even when you’re tired or discouraged? How did you find it?
  • What do you do to maintain balance between your work and personal life to avoid burnout?
  • Tell me about the relationships you build with clients and how they help you close deals?

The more your candidates know about themselves and their processes, the stronger the indication that they possess mental toughness. They’ve reflected on their needs, their successes, their failures, and their relationships with others that help or hinder their success. Being able to talk through such introspective topics can give interviewers meaningful insights into the potential performance of the candidate.

The Caliper Profile Can Make it Easier

When the interview process combines guided and targeted interview questions with the Caliper Profile, a better, more holistic understanding of your candidates is possible. The Caliper Profile is built with decades of research to pinpoint individual strengths, natural inclinations, preferred work and communication styles, and specific personality traits that can indicate potential success in a given role.

When used alongside the Caliper Job Models, hiring managers can see how a personality matches up with their potential effectiveness for a different type of sales role. A competency report helps put those insights into context, so managers can more effectively manage, develop, and retain the best people for the job.

Caliper can help you find, identify, and nurture mentally tough sales professionals. To learn more, reach out to our experts today to get started building your all-star sales team.

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