A job interview is the ultimate sales call, so when you’re interviewing for salespeople, the interview process should be used to gain insight into how a candidate sells, from qualification to close. To the extent possible, a business leader must dig into how candidates have prepared for the interviews, in order to gain insight into how they would prepare for an important sales meeting.
Here are six ways to improve the sales interview process and increase your chances of hiring and retaining the right team members for your sales organization.
- Prepare. Prior to the interview, make sure you understand the real business outcomes that you want this person to drive, beyond just the activities on the job description. Develop a simple outline and prepare questions that cover these concepts, and screen resumes to gain information for the interview.
- Demonstrate purpose. Talented sales people have more choices and job opportunities to choose from. The interviewer forms the applicant's first impression of the company. Not only are you trying to determine the best applicant, but you also have to convince the applicant this is the best place for them to work.
- Focus on performance indicators. Identify the knowledge, attributes, and sales skills the applicant needs for success. If the job requires special education, be sure to include it on your list. Identify the top seven attributes or competencies that the job requires and structure the interview accordingly.
- Evaluate for people skills. Identifying the people skills a person bring to the job is hard to determine—but is extremely important. Each applicant wears a mask. A good interviewing and selection process discovers who is behind that mask and determines if a match exists between the individual and the job.
- Look for curiosity. Good candidates will want to know a lot about the company, how they will be measured, how the company will support their efforts, and what they should expect for their own professional growth. The interview should turn two-way during the final stages before making an offer. By understanding the applicant's personality style, values, and motivations, you are guaranteed to improve your hiring and selecting process.
- Create a structured process. The best interview follows a structured process. This doesn't mean the entire process is inflexible without spontaneity. What it means is each applicant is asked the same questions and is scored with a consistent rating process. A structured approach helps avoid bias and gives all applicants a fair chance.
Hiring and retaining a great sales team isn’t easy. Contact Mansfield Sales Partners to see how sales consulting can help you upgrade this all-important process.