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Tattoos Under the Suit: Grit vs Grades


Let’s take a look at the lives of 2 people (not real) that we’ll name James and John. Both of these people are candidates for a inside sales position (AE role) at a Cloud-based company located in the DC metro area that we’ll name Plavix.




James is 26 years old. He has two parents that love him dearly, Ken and Martha. He was born in Fairfax, Virginia at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He lived thru most of his late teenage to early adult years in Fairfax. I say most, because his father was a petroleum engineer for Shell, and throughout James’ childhood, they moved around the world due to his Ken’s career assignments.

Ken and Martha love James with all their heart. Because of that love throughout his life, James had the best schooling that money could buy.

He graduated at the top of his class from Oxford University with a Masters Degree in Business Administration. After deciding not to live in the UK, he moved back home to Fairfax looking for a job. James is tenacious by nature; and wants to make a good living. So he starts applying for sales positions, submits his resume to Plavix, and gets a phone request for him to interview for the role.




John is 26 years old. He has two parents, Jake and Samantha. John was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico at UNM Hospital. Minutes after his birth, his father disappeared and left Samantha to raise John herself. Samantha moved to Washington DC soon after childbirth to stay with her family.

John loves his mother very much. Throughout John’s childhood, he witnessed his mother work 3 part-time jobs at once to raise and take care of John and her. Because of the lack of financial support from his father, he and his mother struggled to make ends meet.

But, from a very early age, John had a passion for business. When he was 8 years old he started a lemonade stand. When he realized no cars were coming down the street, to increase profits, he made the decision on his own to move his stand to a busier street corner, understanding and learning strong business values at an early age.

“candidates with limited education and experience usually exceed their assigned quota versus candidates with higher education.”


After high school, he got hired as a door-to-door salesperson, in a straight commission environment, selling window cleaners. He didn’t have a whole lot of (if any) sales experience. But the one thing he did have was a DRIVE to not let him or his mother live on the streets. Because of this passion, he became excellent at what he did.

One day John happened to knock on the door of the hiring manager at Plavix. After his sales pitch, the hiring manager was so impressed, not only did he buy the window cleaners, he invited John to apply for the inside sales representative position he was hiring for.


Grit VS Grades


According to insidesales.com, candidates with a limited education and experience usually exceed their assigned quota versus candidates with more experience and higher education. The study showed that candidates with 10 years of experience and an MBA achieved 71% of quota, versus a candidate with just a Bachelors degree achieving on average 115% of quota.

If it were you, whom would you hire? Do you feel that both James and John are great candidates for the role?

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