I have been involved in recruiting sales people now for the best part of 18 years. Sometimes on behalf of my clients, sometimes for my own teams and own businesses. Getting it right all of the time is impossible, getting it right most of the time is vital!
Good sales people are not cheap to hire, they are the face of your business and you place your future success in their hands. Get it wrong and there can be a heavy price to pay! Those customers you worked so hard to acquire could be lost because the person you hired upsets them.
Over the years I have seen so many decisions made on instinct, in haste, and then backfire spectacularly despite the advice on offer.
Recruiting well in sales requires planning. Thought needs to be given to traits you are looking for, pure new business sales vs. a mix of hunter/farmer for example, what culture you are trying to create, is it a team player you want or a lone wolf? …There are lots of other factors to consider before you start the hiring process.
When interviews commence, it’s about the right people delivering the right questions. It requires experience. Experience to spot inconsistencies, and the mental agility to challenge candidates in unexpected ways. The interview can be carried out by a an SD, VP or HR person as long as they understand sales people and know what to look for.
I found some good questions in the article below.
My advice is to look forwards. Use a CV as a selection tool, not an interview tool. Don’t waste time looking backwards at past results.
The best opening to an interview I have ever experienced was early in my career. I was the candidate and went in to an interview expecting the typical CV based question, to which I had all of the answers down to a tee… and then:
“Alan, we’ve been looking forward to meeting you very much. OK. Over to you?” And then nothing. Just a hand gesture from the interviewer towards me suggesting I take it forward from there.
Simple as this may seem I was stumped! My lack of experience shone through and I didn’t get the job. A valuable lesson learnt early in my career.
Subsequently, I have used this approach with lots of different levels of sales people and the results are amazing. You get a great insight into the candidates ability and appetite for the role right from the off.
Do they go to pieces? Do they take the bull by the horns and manage the “sale” of the interview? Or do they ask weak questions and fizzle out?
Give it a go a let me know what you think?
20 OF THE BEST INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR SALES HIRES
~ Alan Fecamp