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Can You Predict Grit? Getting to the Gritty Details in the Hiring Process

can you predict grit

Last month, I joined’s webinar series alongside three talented panelists in the job market space: Evan Sohn, CEO of, Ben Zweig, CEO at Revelio Labs, and Drew Calin, Global Director of Sales at Multiplier.

The webinar started as a discussion about finding talent outside local geographies, but to my pleasant surprise, it took a sharp turn towards the importance of hiring for often-overlooked soft skills.

You might be wondering, “why am I so passionate about soft skills?” Well, they’re a total game-changer in the hiring process. Hiring for the right soft skills makes all the difference when it comes to finding and retaining the best employees.

Landing “The Right” Hire

Whenever a company ventures into a new geography, there’s one crucial moment that makes or breaks the whole endeavor: hiring the first person for the new team.

Too often, we see companies bring on their first US Head of Sales or GM, only to realize they’re not a good fit for the company culture. Before long, they’re out the door just five months later forcing the company to hire multiple people for the same role. Then, the expenses start to add up.

If 2022 was about putting bodies in seats, 2023 is about having a very thorough, thoughtful interview process. I love Drew Calin’s line from the webinar, “interviewing for competency is always important, but in today’s distributed economies, attitude is critical.”

Hiring for soft skills is the key to success in 2023.

The Rise of Soft Skills & Grit

Today’s companies are putting way too much emphasis on fancy diplomas and degrees, but that’s not what really counts when it comes to building a winning team. What they should be focusing on instead are the intrinsic soft skills that truly make a difference. I’m talking about grit, leadership, and adaptability. These intangible qualities take a company to the next level.

As Drew Calin so wisely puts it, “We’re still learning what it means to manage ourselves in a distributed workforce.” And you know what? He’s absolutely right. These companies are in uncharted territory on a global scale, and they need people who can roll with the punches, who have a fire in their belly, and who know how to build strong relationships.

At the end of the day, sales success isn’t just about following a cookie-cutter approach. It’s about being highly consultative and guiding those sales through the pipeline and across the finish line. To build a team that’s truly unstoppable, focus on intrinsic soft skills like grit.

How Do We Assess Grit?

Remote work is here to stay. As Ben Zweig notes, flexible work arrangements are no longer just a nice-to-have perk – they’re an absolute must-have in today’s job market. That means companies need to adapt their hiring strategies to find individuals who can excel in a remote work environment.

To do that, they need to seek out people who are motivated and determined to go the extra mile to get deals done and keep the sales cycle moving.

These individuals need to have the emotional intelligence to communicate effectively with their colleagues and the self-resilience to stay focused and productive when working outside of the traditional office setting.

How can hiring managers assess a candidate’s grit?

Standard interviews are not always the best way to measure a candidate’s intangibles. That’s where alternative methods come into play.

I encourage companies to think outside the box and take advantage of cutting-edge tools like software assessments and psychology platforms to measure soft skills.

There are a variety of assessments available that score candidates on qualities like grit and adaptability. For example, AC Lion’s software evaluates both the hiring manager and job candidates to calculate match scores based on culture fit. These scores range from 0-10 and provide invaluable insights into a candidate’s intrinsic qualities.

Behavioral psychology has made huge strides in assessing emotional intelligence and soft skills, and there’s a wealth of research and academia out there for companies to tap into. If you’re serious about building a winning team, don’t be afraid to break free from the traditional interview process and explore the latest and greatest tools available. It can make all the difference in finding those top-tier candidates who will take your company to the next level.

Concluding Remarks

In today’s fast-paced work environment, companies who put a premium on soft skills will build teams that are stronger, more effective, and totally unstoppable. Sure, assessing soft skills can be a real challenge, but there are tools and techniques out there to help companies make more informed decisions. When companies invest in soft skills, they create a positive culture that promotes growth and success. They benefit in the long run with higher employee retention and an all-around happier, more productive workforce.

Contact us today to learn more about how our award-winning recruiters can help find the right talent for your hiring needs.

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.