We’ve been working with clients to hire top performing salespeople for 16 years.  In truth, from time to time, I feel like I’ve said it all.

And then, I read an article on LinkedIn and realize, once again, why more than 3 out of 4 sales hires fails.

Job applicant smallFirst of all, focus on what you are looking for in an interview. In our System, we profile sales applicants before we meet them.

Because we do this, we know  the values and personality style ahead of time. We know the applicant matches the values and style of most top salespeople.

In the interview you’re looking for the applicant to give examples in their lives  of:
•    Stick-to-ive-ness
•    Follow through
•    Ability to overcome adversity
•    Entrepreneurialism

Second, structured interviews get you high quality answers. Never “wing it” in an interview. Have all your questions planned and prewritten.

Third, ask the same questions, in the same order, of each applicant. By nature we tend to like people we “bond” with. But we’re not looking for a friend here.  We are trying to determine if they applicant is tough enough to do the hard work of selling.

By asking the same questions in the same order,  you are able to compare the applicant’s answers.  This is a key point.

Finally, never ask the following questions that Afa Front in the LinkedIn article suggests. They are too open-ended. You won’t get any information that will help you pick the best applicant.

1. Tell Me About Yourself
This is a horrible question. It gives the applicant to take control of the interview. If you believe that is what selling is about, you’re bound to hire duds.

2. What’s Your Greatest Strength?
Another bad question because you won’t be able to compare the answers you get. One applicant will tell one lie, another applicant will tell another lie.

3. Why Should We Hire You?
What would be a right answer? Exactly there is no way to score this answer. Skip it.

4. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
Can you imagine a lawyer asking that of a witness in a court room? Bad  question. Only gives up control of the interview.

Delivering a structured, scripted interview for every sales applicant puts you ahead of 3 out of 4 sales hirers – and is one of the keys to successful sales hiring.