What does your current process for selecting high potential sales candidates entail?
A simple question, which typically garners an array of different responses:
- Some sales managers simply rely on their “gut-instinct”.
- Others utilize behavioral interview questions.
- Many focus on past sales experience and recommendations.
- And there those that use validated pre-selection sales assessment tools in combination with analyzing past experience, interviews, and other desired criteria.
(You will notice that we left the “Fog the Mirror” test off the list!)
Do any of these examples describe your current process?
While any of the above strategies may have brought some degree of success for you over the years, how many times has an “imposter” or poor performer found there way onto your team?
Go with me for a second and think back to your last sales hire that did not work out…
Looking back, did you find yourself relying too heavily on a few of shining recommendations, or the fact that the candidate had been in sales for 10 years prior to applying at your company?
The big question that many hiring managers must face is - Are recommendations and past experience an adequate predictor of potential success that the candidate will have on your team, as part of your distinct culture, selling your products?
Or are they just smokescreens that take the focus off of the specific style, skills and ability of the candidate?
The traditional interview process by itself has a way of allowing human bias to creep into the equation, which can cloud even the most pragmatic person’s judgment.
With unemployment levels remaining high, many people are clamoring for any available job. Quite frankly, many candidates do not come close to fitting attributes that the job requires, but are simply looking for a paycheck.
The strategic organizations that are able to more effectively filter and select strong sales talent, will create a distinct advantage over those who view the hiring process as an event to “fill a seat” with the hope that he or she will work out.
4 Simple Sales Interview Tips to help add value to your current selection process:
1.) Actively involve other key stakeholders (i.e. Sales Manager/Supervisors) in the process, and ask for their unfiltered opinions. This helps guard against candidate infatuation, and also creates stronger buy-in.
2.) Allow the candidate to shadow a current team member for an afternoon, to get better aquatinted with some of the specifics of the job and the overall work environment.
3.) Ask better questions. Engage candidates with questions that enable them to feel more comfortable, which will help create more free-flowing dialogue. Often times, candidates will stick to short “talking points” that rarely give you insight into their true style.
Taking a more strategic approach to your questioning will help give you insight into how they formulate thoughts and ultimately communicate with others.
4.) Create a multi-interview approach. Mindset is a power thing, and by setting the tone early that the organization is taking a very strategic and intensive approach to properly identify the best candidate, it will help shape the candidate’s mindset of the organization as well.