When an applicant comes through the door if they are truly interested in the advertised position they will be fully prepared to answer all of your questions. Conversely, as a hiring manager you should also be prepared with an established set of interview questions for sales people to let them know you are ready to hire the most qualified candidate. If you appear unprepared or not interested in the sales hiring process you could chase away the best qualified candidate.
Remember that everyone being interviewed must have already scored well on a sales aptitude test and shows promise, but that doesn’t always mean they will fit into your organization. Each of the candidates interviewed should be asked the same questions. As they move along in the hiring process the interview questions for sales people should result in different levels of response. The better sales candidates will be able to maintain a high level of answers while some of the lesser qualified candidates, feeling they are looking better to you since they are advancing through the process, become more lax in their responses.
This is where the abilities of the interviewer will come into play during the sales hiring process. Notice the phrase hiring process, as it is a process and not any special technique. Although it takes a certain amount of knowledge to hire properly, sales hiring is a process and the successful candidates will move through it, with you gaining more confidence in their abilities with each step they take.
Too many sales managers have an inflated opinion of their ability to evaluate how a candidate was able to sell themselves. The better sales candidates will know when they have made a mistake in an interview and be able to right their wrong and keep moving through the process. This is the part of the sales hiring process that many managers are unfamiliar with and a sales aptitude test will most often reveal.
Even if a candidate has never been involved in sales before that doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified for the position. During the sales hiring process if they have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, can overcome adversity and can manage their emotions they may be a better hire than those with years of experience. When considering someone for a sales position it may be better to look beyond a lack of experience that can be replaced with the traits that make the best sales people.