The ONLY Sales Interview Process You’ll Ever Need

April 17, 2019
The ONLY Sales Interview Process You’ll Ever Need

**This is a transcription of episode 145 of our Let's Talk Sales! training podcast. To listen, click here**

Are you a sales manager or a sales leader currently talking hiring new sales reps? If you are, you're probably facing a myriad of emotions from stress to excitement and everything in between.

In the latest hiring eBook, you’ll find a structured interview process mapped out. Structure is crucial for a great hiring or interview process. Without structure, there’s no way to fairly compare candidates and make sure you make the best hire possible.

So, your job descriptions are solid and you have your interview scorecards for each step of the interview process. What are the steps we recommend? Well, we have found that you need at least three interviews with any given candidate to be sure whether are a fit.

The ONLY Sales Interview Process You'll Ever Need

Sales Interview #1

The first interview is usually a video or phone screen. Again, this is when you would decide if you wanted to add a step.

Our clients have found success in a short initial phone screen followed up by a video interview before the candidate even comes to the office. The perk of this is that it saves time if someone lacks necessary characteristics for a position that would disqualify them from the first handshake. And remember, regardless of the number of interviews, you want to have an interview scorecard for each.

The phone screen is all about cutting to the chase.

Do you have the basic skills to be a viable candidate for the position? For example, if the position is for a Bookkeeper, the candidate should have accounting experience. If not, they are not a fit, no matter how nice or personable they are.

The interview for the phone screening should pertain to the basic requirements necessary in your job description as well as reasons the candidate is looking for a new position. Degree, years of experience, basic skills, and phone presence are examples of things you’d score.

Sales Interview #2

The second interview gets more into the experience of the job. Does the candidate have any past experiences that align with what you are looking for?

The questions in this interview will relate more to the “responsibilities” sections of the job description. The interviewer will ask more long-form questions to really analyze the candidates’ ability to think critically and on their feet. It will also show the interviewer how they handle being challenged.

You’ll also want to ask questions that pertain to your office culture. One we always ask is the candidates’ thoughts on working for tight-knit team and wearing a lot of hats.

Sales Interview Deliverables

Between the second and third interview, we recommend having candidates complete deliverables.

Something that we require every candidate to complete is a blog post and a DISC Assessment at minimum. If the position requires a specific skill that can’t be seen in interviews, we will create another deliverable.

For one position, we actually brought candidates to client meetings to see how they would fare. For a client hiring a Sales Operations Manager, we recommended they ask the candidate to create a sales forecasting plan or a way to analyze the salesforce data the company wasn’t using.

But back to the DISC Assessment, this is a great way to learn more about a candidate.

One thing to point out is that the DISC assessment isn’t exactly a qualifier or disqualifier. It’s just a way to see more into the personality of the candidate. It also helps you place the candidate with a manager or supervisor that would best match their communication style.

Now, although I said it wasn’t a disqualifier, the candidates’ reaction to it may be. A lot of times, there are negative behaviors that show up on these assessments. If the candidate vehemently denies the behaviors and becomes aggressively defensive, it may lead you think twice about their ability to receive feedback and learn or grow within your firm.

Success Insights Snapshot Behavioral Assessments by Criteria for Success

Sales Interview #3

The third, or final, interview is where the fun happens.

Everyone get your notepads out or hit record on your phones because I’m about to give you our trade secret for hiring the right candidate. We call it the Chemistry Test.

The Chemistry test is the best way to see how a candidate operates. In the final interview, we get those who would be on the candidate’s team together. If that is a lot of people for your firm, maybe just the managers and a few team members who you trust their opinion.

After introducing the team, explain to the candidate that you have a whiteboard exercise for them. If you don’t have a whiteboard, you’ll have to be creative and make this work in the space you have. On the whiteboard, you’ll draw out four columns.

They are as follows:

  • Core values
  • What I do not like to do but will do anyway
  • A personal or professional win
  • Anything else

When the candidate is done, have a conversation about their responses and let team members ask questions. Then at the end of the interview, write their name and take a picture of it. You’d be surprised how much fun this can be.

So, what makes this the only sales interview process you'll ever need? Besides the fact that it includes the chemistry test (it really is that great), this process is meant to be customized per position. Each sales position is different and it's important that you find out the right information to make the right decisions.

Have any other ides for a sales interview process? Let us know in the comments!

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