As you know, Advanced Hiring System is a near-foolproof system that gives you all the tools you need to teach you how to hire salespeople, including instruction on how to conduct an interview. This is the step in sales hiring where you adopt your “engineer persona.”

Why the engineer persona? Just because you’ve been through the preliminary steps—you’ve used the pre-employment assessment test to narrow down your prospects to about three or four likely candidates—it’s not time to let your guard down. Too many interviewers tend to relax and get friendly with the candidate; but now is not the time. At this point you want to see what the candidate can deliver.

By adopting the engineer persona, you can simulate one of selling’s biggest challenges: customer inertia. All good salesmen know what this is: the customer may need the product, may even want the product, but doesn’t want to take action and make the decision or the commitment. That’s when the great salespeople turn on the enthusiasm and make it contagious. It spills over to the customer, and the deal is closed.

How does this apply in the area of how to conduct an interview? Well, think of the stereotypical engineer: dead-serious, emotionless, neutral, downright inscrutable. A human embodiment of inertia.

Now, think of the typical salesman. He has a goal-oriented ego that thinks of every sale as a form of self-vindication. Now he may feel he’s facing his toughest sale—he can’t read your reactions, and he has no idea if he’s making an impression or not. If he’s serious about landing the job, this is the point when he should pour on the enthusiasm. After all, if he can’t get enthusiastic about himself, how can he get enthusiastic about your product? If he can’t overcome inertia in the interview you can’t expect him to overcome it in the customer.

Once you know the ins and outs of how to conduct an interview, you understand that, while you’re measuring the candidate’s enthusiasm, you’re also collecting other vital information by using specific interview questions for salespeople. His demeanor and conduct during the interviews will reveal his professionalism, you’ll learn about his background and accomplishments, and certain questions will generate an idea of how goal-oriented he is and what kinds of sales strategies he employs in different situations.

In the AHS philosophy of how to conduct an interview, there are four levels of questions each candidate must answer, and all candidates should be graded on every answer. As the applicants move from one level to the next, you’ll be able to identify inconsistencies that may indicate that there could be trust issues with a candidate. Each higher level of the interview demands more creativity and “outside the box” thinking, so you’ll be able to assess outlook, values, and attitude. By the time you’ve finished the interview process using the full, in-depth AHS questions in how to conduct an interview, you’ll have filled in any information gaps about each candidate, and you’ll know everything you need to know. To choose the best of the bunch, just tally their scores!