Leadership, Sales Management, Sales Recruitment

Is it time to change the way we interview Sales Professionals?

The internet is not short of lists of questions to ask sales candidates. Questions to test skill, behaviour, results, teamwork, all that stuff. But here’s my sales interview puzzle, how can you be sure if the nervous person sitting in front of you is any good at building relationships, arguably one of the most important skills in sales, as you test their skill during one of the most unnatural environments we are ever likely to find ourselves in, the dreaded interview.

What about if we did it all differently.  What about if we set the candidate up to show us who they really are. What about if we listened to our own advice on what’s important in selling and applied it to the interview process to let those great candidates shine through. Why aren’t we as caring with our potential new team members as we are with our potential new clients?  It certainly seems to be as hard to find great sales people as it is to win new business.  Or maybe winning business is hard because we haven’t improved how we hire. Here’s an idea.

What about if it was a meeting, not an ‘interview’

I deliberately say ‘meeting’ as opposed to ‘interview’ as it’s a scary word, most people fear an interview. How about if we propositioned it differently. Instead of ‘we’d like to invite you to an interview next week, we said, “I’m really interested in meeting you for a coffee and learning more about what you’ve been up to, do you have any time next week?

We’d never say to a prospect “I’d like to do a needs analysis to see if I think I can sell to you”.  We’re so careful with our use of language when dealing with sales  prospects, I wonder what it would be like if we applied that same care to our potential new team members?

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