Tips for Hiring Commercial Talent - The Lone Wolf

Written by EO Executives on May 05, 2017

The Lone Wolf – Your Biggest Asset and Biggest Problem:

At EO Executives, we frequently get the opportunity to meet with interesting and high profile individuals in the commercial market. Regularly attending C-Suite meetings, we have noticed that there is one obvious key trend that everyone in this space is talking about.

So, let’s discuss this further…

Commercial/ Sales professionals are hired into almost every organisation because they are fundamental to growth and are perhaps one of the most valuable assets to a business. Nonetheless, these individuals can also become challenging to manage in internal situations.

Why is this?

To get some more clarity around this our team began by looking at our wider client portfolio to assess the challenges they have encountered with their Commercial teams and how they have overcome them (it’s worth noting the majority had encountered challenges!).

So, evidently there must be a common problem causing this issue, but is this due to poor management, a bad hiring strategy or just a lack of experience when it comes to hiring top talent?

After speaking with our network, it is clearly a combination of the above.

What should organisations be looking out for?

To be honest, it is likely there are several variables that most of our clients and much of the market are seeing but are ultimately ignoring the issue and avoiding taking strategic action.

One of the biggest contributors to this challenge is an organisations inability to access high profile commercial candidates at the very start of their search process. In high-level roles, it is fundamental for candidates to only be shortlisted for a role if they are the right fit and can work above and beyond the job description. (Find out more about our psychometric profiling here:

If you’re looking to hire a Commercial/ Sales/ VP Director it is crucial to establish rigour to your hiring process from the start. If you choose not to, you run the risk of getting burnt.

See our blog on my 5 Top Tips on Hiring a Quality Chief Commercial Officer here:

What are the actions to prevent this?

Without thoroughly assessing a candidates’ drive, characteristics and ethics you’ll likely to find yourself dealing with a ticking time bomb.

No doubt, we’ve all encountered someone in our career who is a pro at continuously excelling targets (aka the lone wolf/ mavericks) but the destruction they can leave behind can have a detrimental impact on an organisation.

Usually, these people tend to ignore processes/ best practices and eventually when things go wrong other people are left picking up the pieces. For a business to succeed, everyone involved should share a common goal, align on key process/ initiatives and above all work as a team and not in silos.

What are the other options?

Depending on the status of your business, you may benefit from hiring a ‘lone wolf’ to get you from A to B stage in a short amount of time. This will help establish the groundwork and effectively launch your business in the early stages, providing you with the opportunity to re-invest back into your business. However, remember these types of employees are not long-term solutions… they are there to take a business to the next stage but are not great at team collaboration (they usually work in silos) or creating a positive organisational culture.

My advice would be to communicate with leaders in your network and leverage on their experience. Ask for advice from those who have encountered similar challenges and then take the time to ask yourself what is more important, money or a great organisational culture?

It is fundamental to hire someone who understands both the importance of generating revenue and driving a positive business culture through strategic business decisions.

What’s the solution you ask?

As outlined in the beginning a thorough hiring process will be key to hiring top talent to your team.

So, if you’re in need of a more strategic and outcome focused hiring process, feel free to get in contact for a confidential discussion by calling our team directly on  01962 893 300.

Alternatively, why not share your thoughts by commenting below.

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