Interviewing Sales People
|This month we are giving you some ideas and techniques on how to find and initially evaluate candidates for a sales associate position. We focused on qualities and traits you want in a sales associate, where to find them, and how to use resumes and applications to help you identify who you want to interview. Next we are focusing on the personal interactions of hiring.
This week we won't dig into every aspect of interviewing, but we will look at three concepts that are specific to engaging sales associate candidates; initial phone conversation, face-to-face interview, and using Market Surveys as a tool for evaluating sales associates.
Initial Phone Conversation
When interviewing, we encourage business owners to schedule the initial conversation over the phone. This is usually a 15 to 20 minute conversation with the purpose to engage a candidate and determine if they are still a fit for the position and if a face-to-face interview is warranted. When conducting this phone interview, there are a couple items you (or whoever is conducting this interview) should be aware of with a sales associate candidate.
If a candidate makes it through the initial phone conversation you will schedule the first face-to-face interview. Most business owners already have an interview format and we won't go into detail on interviewing in general. However, for the purpose of interviewing a sales associate, there are some items we want to mention.When interviewing to your required characteristics and traits, keep in mind sales people are more relationship driven and have charisma. They can easily come across as the perfect candidate by building rapport and being likable. Therefore, specific questions that bring out answers to determine if the candidate has the characteristics and traits you want are essential. Below are some example questions for certain characteristics and traits.
Market Opinion Surveys
As mentioned earlier, sales associate candidates tend to be great conversationalists, have charisma, and are very likable and friendly. These are definitely traits you want to look for in a sales associate. However, when hiring, there is also a need to know if they will actually execute the position; will they have the gumption to do the job; will they successfully engage with customers and clients. An evaluation on this "will do" is essential.Market surveys are a way to evaluate the "will do" of a candidate. Sometime after the first interview and before making an offer, you can request the candidate have several conversations with prospects, customers, or people in their network (depending on the nature of sales in the business) and document those conversations. These can be in person or over the phone. Such market surveys include a standard form with questions for them to ask and a simple, short script.
Market surveys are implemented by scheduling a time for the candidate to complete the surveys; we recommend they complete no less than five. After giving them instructions on completing the surveys, and collaborating with them on names or markets to contact, leave them to have the conversations outside the office, or show them to a desk and phone in your place of business to make the calls.
After the time frame for getting the surveys is completed, review them together and have a conversation about the candidate's experience. Here are a few sample questions to spark the conversation:
Month Wrap Up
In conclusion, having a well-planned hiring strategy is crucial to bringing on the right sales associate. When you have a solid hiring process and invest the time to do it right, you can confidently select the right sales associate, and not desperately fill a spot. Happy hunting!