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Sales Hiring: Building an Ideal Candidate Profile

Hiring is one of the most important responsibilities across an organization. Companies that have a consistent and well-thought-out hiring cadence have a massive advantage over those that do not have an agreed-upon process. One of the keys to creating a streamlined and repeatable process is ensuring that all stakeholders are consulted early and often along with a standardized format that all hiring decisions take. One of the most valuable tools an organization can develop and deploy in making hiring decisions is an Ideal Candidate Profile or ICP. Below, we’ll discuss how you should think about setting up your hiring process as well as some of the key considerations for your Ideal Candidate Profile. At the bottom, we’ll include a template of an ICP that you can use to get started.

Beginning the Process

To begin your search, there are several questions you’ll want to ask yourself, among them are:

  1. Will this be an internal or external search or both?
  2. What level of experience is minimally required for this role?
  3. What are the expectations of this role?
  4. What is the budget for this role?
  5. What skills will be required to perform in this role?

It’s imperative to answer these questions as thoroughly as possible before starting your search to ensure that time is not spent on candidates who do not fit the role. All departments who will be part of the hiring process should be included early to ensure that there are no surprises or disagreements further down the road. In most hiring situations, you’ll want to move quickly once there is an agreed-upon candidate. Lack of synergy between individuals and departments at the end of the process often leads to candidates dropping out of the process. Once you have an idea of what the role will look like and buy-in from the key decision-makers, you’ll want to put together an Ideal Candidate Profile otherwise known as an ICP. A general template of an ICP can be found here.

Building your Ideal Candidate Profile

In general, you’ll want your ICP to consist of seven to nine sections that offer an in-depth outline of what you’ll be looking for. The Rhythm ICP includes the following sections:

  • Mission: What are the main components of the role? Described in 1 to 3 sentences.
  • Outcome: How will success in this role be measured? This includes both quantitative and qualitative measurements of success.
  • Job Competencies: What are the skills and competencies needed to succeed in this role? It’s critical to be as specific as possible here to ensure all decision-makers are on the same page.
  • Hard Requirements: What are the absolute minimum requirements for someone to be considered for this role? Generally, these are a mix of both quantitative and qualitative factors.
  • Responsibilities: What will the major responsibilities of this position be? You’ll want to be specific here as well, this information is generally shared both internally and externally.
  • Initial Screen Questions: What will the first point-of-contact be asking to determine if a candidate moves onto the next round? Ideally, you’ll want to provide the ideal answers to these questions as well to ensure that the individual charged with moving candidates forward has a clear understanding of what they need to ask.
  • Preferred Interview Plan and Interviewers: In what format do you want the interview to be conducted? Who do you want to be conducting the interview?
  • Ideal Companies to Source From: Are there any specific companies or industries that the hiring team should be especially focused on?

  • Gates: What are the stages an interviewee needs to go through in order to move to the next round?

While building an Ideal Candidate Profile can be time-consuming on the front end, it helps to ensure that hours are not wasted interviewing and analyzing candidates who do not fit the standards of the role. A strong ICP format allows your organization to standardize hiring to the highest degree possible. Because hiring is primarily qualitative, it’s important to make as much of the process repeatable and consistent as possible. The great thing about ICPs is that once you’ve built one for a specific role, it can be continuously redeployed and iterated upon if/when the role needs to be filled.

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