You’ve reviewed a host of resumes and narrowed down the list, and now you’re working your way through the interview process and winnowing out all but the best sales candidates. One of them is presenting you with a conundrum. She has a fine track record, an appropriate education, and an appropriate knowledge of the sales process and the products related to your industry. There’s just one issue: She seems to have a shy, retreating, quiet personality.

Traditionally, you tend to choose a sales candidate who excel on paper and who also display gregarious outgoing natures. Often, these two traits go hand in hand. But this time they don’t. So what should you do? When you’re faced with a shy candidate who might (or might not) be a great hire, keep these thoughts in mind.

Can the candidate overcome her natural instincts to make cold calls and close deals?

If you aren’t sure, ask. Use your question to open a dialogue, and encourage the candidate to provide you with as much information as she can. For example, ask how much she has enjoyed previous sales jobs. Ask which parts of the job she enjoys the most. How about the least? Glean what you can to gain a sense of how happy she’ll be in this role.

If you sense genuine pain, think twice.

The candidate probably won’t be a good fit for a sales job if she survives the day through sheer force of will—by powering through—despite intense pain and difficulty. Socially anxious people who feel heavily burdened by the daily tasks required of a salesperson should not have to endure this lifestyle…and they won’t. They will very likely leave within a year or two, so it’s best to make things easier for both of you by saying no at the outset.

If you believe the candidate can overcome her challenges, plan on giving her a chance.

If the candidate is naturally shy but very interested in finding ways to overcome this challenge, it won’t hurt or cost much to provide her with coaching and training. Your decision to hire this candidate may pay big dividends. But only if you’re willing to put in the work and grant the resources she needs. If you can do this, your shy candidate may bloom and become a superstar within a year, but you’ll have to follow through and do your part.

Keep your expectations reasonable, be ready to invest in your new hire, and count on her other traits and skills to cover the gap left by her shy nature. Together, you can provide each other with the support and talent both of you need for success. To learn more, contact the staffing experts at Extension.


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