Jeremy Pruitt was just selected as the University of Tennessee’s next football coach He has coached in multiple college programs that have won national championships. He has been mentored by the best, and he has twice won the national award for best recruiter in college football.

Here’s what he said when a reporter asked him about recruiting as he was introduced in yesterday’s press conference: “We will identify who fits … someone who has the critical factors at the position. For defensive backs, we want size, speed, someone who can play the ball in the deep part of the field …. and we want to make sure of the intangibles: leadership, dependability, any kind of (character) issues they might have.”

When addressing a question about “the urgency to get his staffers out recruiting in the early signing period,” Coach Pruitt said, “I would rather wait and find someone who fits, so don’t get out of whack if you don’t see the roster fill out as fast as you want … we want someone who fits!”

Three things to remember:

  1. Identify the critical factors in a position including the character intangibles.
  2. Choose people who have them.
  3. Don’t be rushed and hire someone who doesn’t fit. Wait and find someone who fits.

(“fits” – someone who can sell what you sell, at the right level and in a way that’s responsible and uplifts your brand – for a college or a business)

Why are these things important when recruiting high-activity sales professionals?

Sales Culture
Ultimately, the sales culture is a reflection of who you are as the leader – your expectations, the critical factors important in a hire and who you recruit. Low sales, dishonest business practices, customer loyalty and escalations, brand strength, repeat business, turnover of good sales reps are because of your choices and leadership values and beliefs.

It is possible to have high profits and poor customer service and high employee turnover, but eventually it will hurt you in some way. Look at Enron, Uber, Harvey Weinstein and Wells Fargo. If you become a rich leader without paying attention to “critical factors” you will always in some way hurt people and diminish your own humanity.

Championships – Record Sales
What happens if you do not identify them? What if you rush to fill the position without concern for the type of person you hire? What if they have “issues.” What if they can sell, but they are dishonest? What if they are not dependable? What if they interview well, but they cannot keep their activity level up? Which is worst – losing sales for a time or hiring the best people for long-term growth and a great culture?

Great performers want to a part of effort it takes to accomplish high sales goals. You can win championships in sports or business and it starts with paying attention to the critical factors in recruiting. Do you know what they are for a high-activity salesperson? Here are the intangibles ones that keep sales, profits and customer loyalty high, turnover down and great employee retention.


  • Honest
  • Hard work ethic
  • Personal responsibility
  • Concern for others


  • Loves the sales profession
  • Loves your type of products

Motivation (at least one of these)

  • Wants to win and be recognized as being one of the best salespeople
  • Wants to earn a specific amount of money for a specific reason

Build a great sales culture where reps make a lot of money with outstanding sales and customer service. Don’t rush the hire and life will be better for everyone and you will enjoy being national champions.

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