How to Conduct an Interview by Understanding They Lie

Screening applicants (deciding who to talk with) and interviewing well are critical to hiring well. Yet most sales managers charged with conducting sales hiring interviews commit some fundamental errors.

The result is they don’t get to find out enough about who the applicant really is — only who they are appearing to be.

Screening sales applicants – a quick overview:

You can conduct the best sales interview in the world, but if you dropped your best applicant because of a weak screening process your interview won’t matter that much.

Screening comes first. Unfortunately most average managers think screening means looking for the following from a stack of resumes:

  • good looking resume
  • previous sales experience
  • previous industry sales experience
  • no typos.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sorry. If this is how you screen applicant, all the interview tips in the world won’t make a difference. Why? Because you are probably interviewing the wrong applicants.

Enough about screening, on to interviewing…

Your Sales Hiring Success Ratio Will Go up By 50%!

You should be talking to three good applicants in the interview process. No less and probably no more.

There. That’s simple. How many managers pick one applicant and interview him or her and think they’re hiring right? Most. How many sales hires fail? Three out of four. Oops.

Script your sales hiring interview like a 777 pilot scripts his takeoff

An important sales interview tip to make here is when you invite each applicant in for a first interview have a script to follow.

Be sure not to ask the obvious (need we say stupid) questions. Google “Google “sales interview”.  There are tons of coaches out there who will easily prepare your applicant for the dumb questions.

Make sure your questions force the applicant to give you examples from their life experience. Some of their experience, particularly if they are young applicants might not be from their sales career. That’s OK.

As a green salesperson I didn’t see anything odd about making sales calls on Saturday when I sold radio advertising. My retail clients were there and none of the other salespeople in my industry were competing for their time. Being young and green in sales is not a bad thing.

Give your applicant time to get comfortable then hit them

Plan to conduct at least three and preferably four separate interviews on each applicant. Make sure you have a script, but they can be the same questions all along. Obviously, though, phrase them differently.

What is this about? The first two interviews are throwaways. They provide low-quality information. The applicant is on their guard. By the third and forth interview they are more comfortable and are telling the truth.

Now’s your chance to give a grade

Grade their answers for each question in your script. A to F, 100 to 0, doesn’t matter. Tally the scores. The best scoring should get the job.

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