As a hiring manager or recruiter, you put your blood, sweat and tears into making certain that the coveted sales gems seated across from you in an interview are potentially the right fit for your company and vice versa.
Having already done much of the heavy lifting, the last thing you want to do is suck the life out of said sales gem with some not-so-stellar interview mishaps — they’re horribly disheartening.
Care to keep a clean slate? That’s what I thought.
Read on to learn more about three of the most prevalent interview problems. Take note, and make a conscious push to avoid them at all costs:
1) You Don’t Have Your S*#t Together
Being organized sounds so obvious and simple, but sadly seems to fall to the wayside. It’s like playing good defense in the NBA — everybody is more than capable of doing it, but few people are disciplined enough to exert the energy to make it happen.
These sought after sales gems often arrive at a place of business, only to sit unattended in a reception area with no earthly idea as to what they’re to do next — it’s superfrustrating. Trust me, it doesn’t come across as an edgy, scrappy startup — it comes across as quite the opposite I’m afraid.
And even if greeted properly, a lack of structure can still make itself known during the interview. Showing up 10 minutes late, while also failing to book a meeting room? Definite no-nos.
You expect them to be organized and prepared, why should you be the exception to the rule?
This laundry list is just the tip of the iceberg, but will help you deliver a flawless, well organized experience:
- Connect with anyone else involved in the interview to get them prepared and organized
- Confirm the interview the day before
- Send an agenda of what to expect, who they’ll be meeting with and what you’re looking to accomplish
- Offer to answer questions in a “prep” call
- Roll out the red carpet when they get there: do they need a restroom break, do they need a beverage, show them around (be sure to point out what makes the team unique in the process, not just the flashy perks)
- PUT YOUR TECHNOLOGY AWAY — the biggest turnoff is someone that isn’t present in a conversation and checking their technology. Not only is this rude, but shows a complete lack of interest in getting to know one another.
- Lay out the process and be sure to follow through (regardless of the outcome)
2) Have you Taken the Time Research?
After a formal greeting, shoddy interviewers often have to pause momentarily, glancing back at the résumé in hand to remember the name of the sales professional being interviewed.
Be honest — have you ever pulled a similar stunt? Ouch.
Look away, though — things get worse …
After forgetting the person’s name, further mind-numbing inquiries are made about educational background, the names of previous employers (including current) and the time spent with each one of them.
The big problem, here?
This information is all clearly visible on a candidate’s résumé or Linkedin profile. Needless to say, when questions solicit the information you already have, interest in your job opening is quickly lost.
This isn’t just an exercise in futility. You’ve invited this person to meet with you for a reason, make the time count. Review what they’ve been doing, what you liked and why to develop the framework for a meaningful conversation.
Remember, the “Golden Rule” rings true here. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re interviewing and think about what you’d like to see and expect if you were them.
3) Do You Really Know What You Want?
Have you ever talked politics with someone who had zero clue what they were getting at? Ill-informed, their opinions were more than likely based purely off of emotion and hearsay.
As harsh as it might sound, when you know nothing about the sales position in question or why you want what you want, you come off the same way. Remember — you’re interviewing sales experts. They know their stuff and so should you.
Yes, the typical interview environment asks that a candidate sells themselves. That said, you’re to do the same thing. If you’re unsure about what a job calls for, you need to be better prepared.
Ask yourself the following; do you really know what you’re looking for, why and can you translate that in conversation? If the answer is no, time to figure it out otherwise you’ll create a bad candidate experience with a high-risk of losing the person in the process.
The interview is for all parties to vet each other, it’s not a one-sided scenario. Those that don’t realize this, have a long road ahead I’m afraid. Good luck finding that A+ sales performer, you’ll need it!
If any of the above points ruffled some feathers, please know now that my intention isn’t to criticize; moreover, to help you dominate sales interviews.
Am I the perfect recruiter or sales person? Absolutely not. Still, having spent over 20 years in the game, I know what works (and what doesn’t) during an interview.
But surely there are more than merely three mishaps, right? Though the biggest ones (in my opinion) are mentioned here, take to the comments section to mention a few more of them.
Naturally, I’ll be checking back to see what you’ve sent my way, responding in turn. As always, thanks for reading!
Note: this piece was originally featured on Linkedin