Applying the “Moneyball” Techniques to Hiring Your ‘A’ Player Team

Moneyball of Sales Recruitment

Applying the “Moneyball” Techniques to Hiring Your ‘A’ Player Team

Over the weekend I sat down to watch ‘Moneyball’ starring Brad Pitt. It tells the true story of newly appointed Billy Beane, general manager of the American baseball team Oakland A’s. During Beane time he radically changes the recruitment techniques of the baseball team, using computer-generated analysis and statistics to hire, instead of the traditional methods. Using his new predictors of players’ performance the team could overcome the odds and improve their win-loss ratio. In fact, the methods Beane have been adopted by virtually all major-league teams to evaluate and hire players.

It’s this success that got me wondering if you could take the same methodology when recruiting in sales? Are there people who excel at certain steps in the sales process but not others, absolutely! Can a team be restructured, so every member is playing to their strengths, sure can! Why is this possible; because an objective sales recruitment tool already exists.

Let’s begin by analysing a clear picture of the current situation in several organisations. All aboard the S.S Profits, ‘Organisational Revenue Improvement Strategy #1’.

Already replaced these characters with images of people in your company or perhaps yourself? Do you have a farmer posing as a hunter, a hunter struggling to do the work of a farmer, a sales leader ready to jump ship at a moment’s notice or a CEO who lacks ideas?

Make your activity count! Desperately moving the deck chairs around is only a distraction to inevitable disaster. If what your company is currently doing is not working, then you must change what you are doing – a sentiment shared with Moneyball.  

Our sales team selection runs on data. Many recruiters only utilise subjective data when the real insights come from objective data. How could you competently hire a salesperson or a sales manager without the stats to prove that he/she will succeed in that position? We can measure a candidate to accurately predict whether a candidate will succeed in sales based on their scores.

In the film, Beane selects players almost exclusively on what’s known as an on-base percentage rather than rely on experience or intuition- not without opposition from other managers. A sentiment that tends to carry across to any industry or business, a strong resistance to change.

Consider this: the worst sales manager can be the best salespeople; the worst salesperson can be the best sales manager. You can have a team that consistently deliver wins and is familiar with their strengths, weaknesses and even know how to mitigate their weakness- imagine that!

How would you know what you’re good at and what your weaknesses are? If you’re a farmer, focus on being a farmer. But does that mean you can only open doors and not close? No, you can do both.

If you don’t measure it, you can’t fix it.

Our sales team selection tool is fine-tuned and works – 92% of the candidates we recommend that are hired end up in the top half of their sales force within 12 months and 75% of those we don’t recommend who get hired fail within 6 months.

The tagline of the film is, “What are you really worth?”

I want to ask you a question, “What is it worth to you, to get the best?”

Are You Failing Your Phone Interviews?

You have probably applied to various job opportunities via e-mail or social media or websites and have never heard anything back. It’s frustrating. When you finally do get a call, most likely at the most importune time, they start asking you questions about yourself and your experiences. The reality is that from this point you still have several more hoops to jump through before you get a face to face interview.

Too often, well-qualified candidates trip themselves up at the initial phone interview stage. As this is a vital part of the recruitment process and it allows the recruiter or hiring manager to know what type of person you are and how will you deal with their customers, it’s essential to impress.

As the candidate market grows consistently, the job of an HR personnel or recruiter is to have a short phone interview with his/her candidates and qualify them to see who should move into the next phase. At this stage, you will likely deal with someone in human resources or a recruiter whose role it is to pave the way for the hiring manager to decide which candidates to bring in for a more serious discussion. He or she is tasked to gain basic information about multiple candidates and make initial judgments about personality, temperament, communications style, salary expectations and so on.

If you haven’t done so already you should be prepared for the initial:

“Tell me about yourself”

Whilst it is likely that you’ve got your story all bottled up inside, you may not want to get every detail of your life history and capabilities out there all at once. Aim for the interview to last less than half-hour. Contain the urge to tell them day by day account of your life history, rather keep it brief, concise and consider the topics below.

“Why did you leave this job?”

Be prepared to explain at least the last couple of transitions which will give the interviewer an idea of your career progression. Make sure you are clear and to the point. Be sure you can provide suitable evidence and let them know who will be your referees. Do not provide names or contact details until after you have provided the reason for leaving you can say, “A member of senior management who I reported to will be a reference.” This clearly shows that you can verify your story and that you left on good terms.

No matter the reason why you left, it’s important, to be honest, and forthcoming with your potential employer. If you left due to a medical reason, then advise them that you have obtained a medical certificate which clears you to come back to work.

“Can you tell me why you ….?”

Always be prepared to explain everything on your résumé. An experienced recruiter will be able to find any holes or points of concerns on your resume. Don’t worry this is not a negative thing; rather it’s a positive. By pointing out any concerns on the phone interview, the recruiter has you will be able to provide them with a suitable response and it will most likely not come up during your face to face interview. Just be prepared to give more detail, but don’t take too much time on any one answer. After a few sentences, ask: “Is this what you were after, or would you like me to go in a different direction or provide greater detail?”


Your interviewer will be able to tell from your level of self-confidence, personality and ability to communicate effectively from your phone interview. You need to build trust and communicate your knowledge and abilities from the ground up. Don’t rush your answers, and keep an even tone in your voice. But at the same time, do show aspects of your personality.

Difficult Questions

Don’t get flustered when uncomfortable questions arise. Uncomfortable questions almost always rear their heads in a phone screen in one-way or another.

  • Tell me about your biggest weakness.
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Where do you expect to be in five years?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why do you want to work here?

Numerous articles are available which deal with these and similar questions. Go into an interview expecting these questions and know your answers; you wouldn’t go into an exam without studying first. Review them, and practice your answers many times but do not make it sound rehearsed.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

Do your homework and prepare great questions to ask the interviewer. You will likely be given an opportunity to ask questions. Use it to show your enthusiasm and knowledge of their company and industry. You can also ask about aspects of the job but never use this as an opportunity to ask about their process, start dates, salary, benefits or anything else they can do for you.

Control, control, control!

Control your environment, as you may not always be home or at a quiet place during the call. If you are too distracted, then ask if you can call them back later and make sure you set up a time before hanging up the phone. If you can speak then make sure you are in control of the interview, you can do this by asking questions. Always be curious, as you can find out a lot from this initial phone interview that will help you for your face to face interview.

If you focus and remember these tips success will follow. Good luck.

The Five Stages of Grief of a Bad Hiring Decision

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them, they sink because of the water in them. The same goes for business; if your team is underperforming, you could find the company sinking before your very eyes.

Ergo; hiring a bad salesperson can cost your business thousands; the same amount you could be making by hiring a good one.

Unfortunately for anyone who has made a disastrous hiring decision, there’s five stages of grief to battle before you see the light.

1. Denial — “No they can’t be this bad, I had a hand in hiring them!”

At this initial stage, you are still buying into the fact this person is right for the position, for your organisation. It takes a while for the news to sink in, and even when you can see it coming a mile away. Bunker down, this stage can linger on uncomfortably for weeks.

To push forward; fight the urge to protect them, you need to get critical about your team. You want different outcomes. Therefore, you need to think about them differently.

2. Anger/Frustration — “Is this possible? How did this happen? Whose fault is this?”

It’s normal to spend some time in this phase, but some people get stuck here and can’t move forward. That’s self-defeating because that ‘anger’ attitude is a HUGE barrier to moving forward and making the big decisions.

3. Bargaining — “Maybe if I just…”

You start promising yourself that you will be more careful next time. You will do this though in the hope things will change. Some miracle will happen, to demonstrate nothing different needs to be done.

4. Depression — “I’m never going to get another great employee for that position.”

Therefore, I keep what I have – better the devil you know. This is a normal feeling. How motivated are you to change the outcome you deserve?

5. Acceptance — “What’s next? What will I do differently to get a better outcome?”

The fact is that you can change the outcomes by selecting; who to invest in and who you will not. Bouncing off this decision, you WILL find another great employee. You will get through this! Congratulations on reaching this last stage, now to take the next actions to save your ship and move into calmer waters.

Next Steps:

  • RAISE the BAR – Do not allow under-performing to continue
  • TRAINING – Targeted to the needs of the team
  • RECRUIT – Recruit ‘A’ Players only, using the SG Partner’s original and top rated Sales Assessment Tool – Download a Free Sample

“The goal of leaders is to create more leaders, not followers!”