A subtle, but effective technique for getting past a sales candidate’s defenses during the interview is to avoid using “why” questions. During an interview, the word “why” can have a slightly accusing tone, especially if the candidate is concerned about revealing his shortcomings.
Instead of asking “why,” use “what” or “how” questions. For example, instead of asking the candidate, “Why did you do that?” Try asking:
“What caused you to do that?”
“How did you decide to do that?”
Replacing “why” with “what” or “how” is a particularly helpful technique when discussing a sensitive situation or following up after a candidate has admitted a previous mistake. It can make all the difference in helping a candidate to relax enough to give you all the information you need.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales assessment test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. To experience the difference of the DriveTest, contact us today!