We’ve all hired someone we shouldn’t have hired. We get busy and need help, so we pick the first person that seems to fit the bill. Within a few days, weeks or months – depending on how questionable the hire was – we see the error of our ways and feel the pain of our bad decision.

Hopefully, we learn from the mistakes we made from our bad hire and do a better job the next time…but sometimes we don’t.

One of the biggest areas where this mistake is made is in hiring an ISA. Many of us don’t like to make phone calls so we’re all too eager to bring someone on board who is happy to make calls for us (even if they’re not the right person for the job). Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake and it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in lost salary and missed sales opportunities.

One of the best ways to determine if an ISA candidate is going to kill it on the phone is to see him/her in action by doing a role-play or two with him/her.

I usually lead into the role-play by asking them about the toughest objection they faced in any of their prior inside sales or sales jobs. By doing this, I’m setting them up to give me their best shot at dealing with the objection that may have stopped them in their tracks in the past.

Once they tell me what it is, I say, “Great. Let’s go ahead and role-play that.” I put them on the spot and see how they not only handle the objection, but also how they deal with pressure.

You may see some red faces, sweaty palms, and dry mouths, but the badass ISA candidates are going to eat that role-play for lunch and handle it as well as you would—with master’s-level savvy.

For the rest of the candidates who aren’t the right person for the job, that role-play session is going to eat their lunch, effectively weeding them out of the process.

In addition to seeing how they perform in the heat of battle, you’re also looking to hear their tone of voice during the process. People’s tone of voice conveys virtually everything about them: their confidence, what’s going on in their mind at the time, and how emotionally grounded they are. It also reveals how resilient, empathetic, ambitious, and open they are.

  • Resilience is the ability to cope with and transcend adverse reality. It is the ability to work through disappointments, failures, misfortunes, suffering without collapsing. It enables a person over time to transcend pain, suffering, disappointment, and failures. ISAs are frequently confronted by disappointment. It’s their resilience and ability to turn the disappointment around that makes them effective.
  • Empathy is the ability to comprehend precisely the emotional and psychological state of other people, including their desires and motives. Through empathy…you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.
  • Ambition is the most important of the four talents. Ambition is the drive to be successful in every sense of the word. Ambition is the continuous pursuit of excellence in every vital and meaningful undertaking in one’s life. Ambition is bigger than just being competitive. It’s wider than achievement in our job. Ambition refers to the intensity with which one pursues happiness. ISAs must be ambitious in order to succeed in their position.
  • Openness refers to curiosity about the world in which we find ourselves. It is the desire to learn new things and to acquaint oneself with new ideas. Openness refers to a tolerance for different points of view, to an appreciation of the differences and richness in life. A person with robust openness seeks to expand his/her beliefs about one’s social environment, science, culture, hobbies…anything of significance to a person. It’s the desire to learn information about everything and anything.


Resilience, empathy, ambition, and openness are key attributes of top ISAs and you don’t want to hire an ISA that lacks in any of these areas.

What you should find is that candidates with a high D personality will reveal a tremendous amount of resilience and ambition in their role-plays and interviews with you. People with high D personalities are often pioneering and not afraid to push forward in reaching their goals.

At the same time, candidates with high I personalities are likely to exhibit a high degree of empathy and openness. High I ISAs are willing to carry on conversation with just about anyone and to a certain extent, care what others think about them. To that end, they are more willing to get along with their prospects through empathy and being open to what they hear and encounter on the phone. These traits are critical to being an amazing ISA and a candidate with a high I should fit the part well.

A good interview with good questions will ensure that you don’t miss the mark.

At this point, people often ask me: “What happens if the candidate is a superstar on the phone, but isn’t a core value fit?” My answer is simple: “Don’t hire them.”

And here’s why…

According to the same survey from Robert Half International that I mentioned earlier, 95 percent of financial executives surveyed said that making a bad hire at least somewhat affects the morale of the team, and 35 percent said a poor hire greatly influences employee morale. In many cases, bad hires do not get along with other employees, which can cause additional problems for the cohesiveness of your team.

Unfortunately, sometimes we get excited about a candidate and we overlook the core value fit simply to put a “check in the box” regarding the hire. It’s vital to hire someone who can do the job, will do the job, and who is ultimately a good team fit in order to get the best results you can from the ISA.