by: Nicole Nelson

How to Interview Salespeople

You have selected the top candidates after the screening phone call. You may already know how to interview salespeople. But we have some tips to increase success.

Now it is up to you to make this a positive experience for you both. We hope these tips help you maximize the interviews and better find the right candidate!

Break Up the Interview Schedule

Schedule interviews with breaks between them, even across a few days if possible. Ensure that you are able to feel present rather than rushed. Interviews can be tiring and it is important to present a fresh brain and face to each recruit. Allow time between them to take extra notes, have some water, and discuss things if there are multiple people conducting the interviews.

Look at the next interviewee’s resume. Remember their name and general experience before inviting them in.

Prepare the Front Desk Staff to Greet Recruits

Make sure the front desk knows the interview schedule. This way, they can greet each person and make them feel welcomed. This may not be the literal first impression but it is perhaps one of the most important moments in this whole experience. Start by being on top of things.

Be Prepared and Professional

If more than one person is conducting the interview, make sure everyone is on the same page. Require interviewers to have read the questions first. Ask them to make physical observations rather than judgment statements when taking notes. For example: “They made us repeat a question three ti

mes” rather than “They were too nervous to remember the question.”

Don’t invite employees to help conduct the interview unless you feel they will actively contribute to the process.

Lead in with an Intro and Rapport Building Questions

Even just by thanking them for being interested in the role, it will help put their nerves at ease. As mentioned, make sure you review their resume before you interview them and remember their name. Introduce them to everyone else in the room.

Let them know what to expect. For example:  “We are going to ask you some questions and then at the end, we would love to hear

if you have any.”

Say something reassuring to help them settle in to the situation. We all perform better when we feel welcomed and comfortable.

Ask Candidates the Same Questions

Ask the same questions so you have concrete answers and data to compare when you are making a decision. This means you should also always take notes for reference later.

Focus on Behavioral Questions

You will train them later but for now, what would they do when facing a tough choice? How easy is it for them to think it through? Are they willing to be honest and say they don’t know something? Are they making sense? Do they seem prepared?

It is not necessarily the goal to hire someone that knows everything about your industry or what they will be required to do.

It is more important to hire someone that will be a good addition to the team dynamics, eager and motivated to learn, and worthy of trust.

How to interview salespeople

Tailor Questions for the Specific Role

Think about one of the most challenging aspects of the role you are interviewing for and ask them directly how they will handle it. “Sometimes our customers ask us to break our refund policy. How would you handle that?”

Give them a chance to show how much natural instinct they already have for the job ahead.

For Commission Only Roles, Try Group Interviews

For commission only recruits and situations where you are hiring multiple reps often, group interviews are best practice.

Consider having orientations for interested recruits after the first phone interview to save time and weed out those not interested. This blog is a great resource on how to conduct the orientation. Even in a group setting, make efforts to seem welcoming and provide a positive first experience.

Happy Hiring!