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The 3 Stages of the Interview Process

October 28, 2020
The 3 Stages of the Interview Process

Do you know the best stages of the interview process to hire rock-star salespeople?

As a sales manager, a strong team is the best asset you can have.

But in order to build a great sales team, you need to hire the best possible candidates for the job.

Screening candidates through a detailed and thorough interview process allows you to find those superstars that’ll elevate your team’s collaborative efforts.

Now, keep in mind that the interview process should be slow and consistent. Your goal is to slowly get to know the candidates, let them get to know you, and solicit feedback from multiple trusted sources.

The following are three stages of the interview process we outline in our comprehensive eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Hiring for Sales Managers

The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Sales Managers
How to Prepare, Screen, Interview, Offer Employment, and Reject Candidates
Download Now

3 Key Stages of the Interview Process

Interview #1 – Scorecard

The first interview is all about first impressions. Use the interview scorecard to drive the majority of this interview.

Your goal is to ask each question and provide a score in each area so the candidate can be fully evaluated. This also enables you to evaluate each candidate fairly and compare them “apples to apples.”

Otherwise, you may end up asking one candidate a series of questions and another candidate an entirely different list of questions.

Focus on “how” and “why” questions, such as:

How do you…

  • go about prospecting for a new business?
  • interact with your peers and your manager on a sales team?
  • prefer to work?
  • balance outbound prospecting and client service?

If the interview goes well and you’re interested in moving along with this candidate, give them some homework.

Bridging Interview Stages with Homework

One easy but valuable step is to have them complete an assessment, like DISC, before the next interview. This helps you get to know the candidate better and provides points for discussion in the next interview.

Another simple homework assignment is a writing sample. If writing is a key part of the sales role in your organization, this can be a good assignment.

Finally, consider assigning homework the is directly relevant to the day-to-day activities of the role. For example, you could ask the candidate to develop a plan for how they'd hit their first quarter's target, then present it to you in the second interview.

Homework is a great way to bridge the first stage of the interview process with the second.

Interview #2 – Deep Dive

Moving along to the next stage of the interview process, the second interview should be all about taking a deeper dive and resolving any areas of concern, both yours and the candidate's.

In preparation, be sure to review the candidate’s resume, interview scorecard, and homework assignments. List any remaining questions that you may have.

Involve members of your team, especially from different departments such as Marketing, Operations, or Customer Service. Also consider scheduling time to have the candidate meet with a key partner or client. They will provide a valuable perspective!

Give the candidate time to ask you questions, and evaluate the quality of the questions they ask you. A sales candidate who doesn't ask good questions in the interview won't ask good questions of your prospects.

At this stage, you may also want to do a chemistry test. This is a great opportunity to get other members of your team involved and see if the candidate thinks well on their feet.

Interview #3 – Close

Now we’ve come full circle, you’re ready to resolve any lingering questions and negotiate terms. Your goal at this stage is to potentially offer this superstar candidate the job.

At this stage of the job interview, be sure that all questions are answered and that you’re ready to move forward.

You may need to negotiate a compensation and benefits package in this interview as well. Be prepared to consider creative ideas, such as additional benefits or commissions, to balance your target base.

To learn best practices for applying these three stages of the interview process to virtual interviews, check out our webinar with Emmy award-winning anchor and producer Kerry Barrett. She knows a thing or two about showing up on video!

Rock Star or Dud? How to Hire Top Salespeople
Making Hiring Work Online with Kerry Barrett Consulting
Register Now

Onboarding Your New Hires

After you hire your new salesperson, make sure you onboard them effectively.

Our comprehensive eBook above includes a summary of onboarding best practices, but for a deep dive check out our eBook dedicated to onboarding.

You'll discover horror stories from onboarding (including a jelly-covered laptop), as well as a guide to avoid being your new hire's horror story.

The CFS Sales Onboarding Process
How to Ensure Your New Hires Hit the Ground Running
Download Now

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