According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Job Seeker Trends Report: Why & How People Change Jobs in North America, the #1 obstacle for changing jobs is, “Not knowing what it’s really like to work at the company.”

Job changing obstacles

So beyond the usual suspects (e.g., company website, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), what do you do when deciding whether a new sales job is right for you?

Here are 3 data-backed tips on how to tell if you’re a good fit for a sales job.

1. Role fit in the sales job

There are a lot of different sales jobs these days: BDR or AE? Hunter or farmer? After you’ve decided which sales job is right for you, you have to figure out what makes you happy at work. Maybe it’s more money or a better work-life balance. While these things are definitely important, the research points to some other essential requirements:

  1. Autonomy: control over your schedule and contributions
  2. Mastery: opportunities to get better and better at things that matters to you
  3. Purpose: being inspired by something larger than yourself

Luckily, sales jobs are already known to have some of these central elements of workplace happiness. An HBR article highlighted that sales jobs offer “autonomy, rewards linked to personal effort, and the opportunity to interact with a variety of people.”

Figure out what truly makes you happy in a sales job. Read the job description and find salespeople in the role currently and see how they describe the role themselves.

Meet salespeople for coffee and try to get them to give you a realistic job preview: information on both the positive and negative aspects of the sales job.

2. Personality fit in the sales job

You hear it all the time – your personality would be perfect for this sales job!

Research does show that certain personality traits are a great fit for sales jobs. But it’s not enough to just know what traits to look for, you have to know how to actually measure them.

And science tells us that one of the most accurate ways to measure personality traits is to ask people to rate themselves. So how does it work?

The best way to measure personality fit in sales jobs is to get salespeople currently in the role to complete a personality assessment that measures their empathy, work ethic, and other traits correlated with sales success. As a job seeker, you take the same assessment and then an algorithm figures out how well your personality matches to the sales role. Thank you, science.

3. Culture fit in the sales job

How do you know how well you’ll fit in with your team and the company culture? While there are a few rules of thumb you can use, for example, big companies vs. startups, most of the time it’s a big unknown.

While people want to hire for culture fit, a lot of the time they end up hiring for personal fit: the people they like hanging out with. The reason why employers sometimes rely on easy criteria like whether you went to the same school or play the same sport is because they don’t know that you can measure culture fit more scientifically. How? By using a culture fit assessment that measures company values such as how risk taking, collaborative, and rule-oriented the company.

Similar to assessing personality fit, current salespeople complete a culture fit assessment and then you as the job seeker complete the same assessment and an algorithm determines how well your personal values match the company’s values.

Instead of using a vague “I have a good feeling about this job” judgment, you can use data to make the choice of whether you’d be a good fit at a company.

The takeaway

Employers understand that job candidates are like prospects these days and need to be marketed to and won over. The more innovative companies understand that it’s not just about making pretty videos anymore, you have to use the right data to assess the best candidate fit.

As a job seeker, you can do your due diligence by examining the company’s web site and social media profiles, but you’ll give yourself the edge is by using data – that you provide yourself – and comparing it to the employer’s data to figure out how well you’ll fit into a sales role and company culture.

Are you looking for a sales job? Use Ideal Candidate and let the employers come to you. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min