The One Question

The One Question

Given the role I play in my professional life, I am often asked by family and friends for the questions they should be asking in an interview. I tell them the one question you should ask in order to determine how clear the company is about the performance expectations for the position you are applying for is this:

“Let’s pretend you hire me and we meet back in this room one year from today. I’ve been on the job for a year and its time for my performance review. What would have to happen over the course of that year in order for you to tell me I’ve done a good job? Not a great job but also not a mediocre one, but a good job, good enough that you would consider giving me a raise?”

This question is for the hiring manager… not the HR specialist, not the recruiter, but the person to whom you will be reporting.

Why this Question is Important

It has been my experience that often hiring managers have unrealistic expectations. They are expecting Superman to show up for the job. I had a manager the other day tell me they expected the person filling this role to sell one-million dollars their first year. I asked him when has any new hire ever sold one-million in their first year. To which he responded, “Never.” I then, spent the next hour working with him to define what a good first year would realistically look like.

Furthermore, most HR departments post positions based on job descriptions. Have you read your own job description lately? Is what you are doing today resemble your job description? Because of this they end up posting jobs that no longer match what the person may actually be doing or don’t account for the fact that salespeople today have to be able to adapt to a very fluid business environment.

You ask this question to see how realistic they are in their expectations. You are also listening to hear if what they describe as a good performance is quantifiable and measurable versus being subjective. Subjective measurements are just that – subjective and open to interpretation.

If what you hear is realistic then, you have to ask yourself if you can you perform at a “good” level in your first year.

At Performance Group, our mission is aligning sales talent to roles that best utilize their talents.

If you are a hiring manager and want help defining performance expectations for a role and the sales skills and strengths needed to execute in that role, contact us.

If you are sales professional and want to better understand your sales talents and what career path is best for you, contact us.