Drive is composed of three non-teachable—after adulthood—characteristics: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism. These traits, when combined, allow a salesperson to sustain high performance over time in an environment of extreme competition and rejection . . . things that eventually grind down non-Driven salespeople.
Unfortunately, it is easy to fake Drive for short bursts. A great looking, charming candidate can memorize lines from books on giving a great performance at a job interview, and he can probably line up a few friends as references, but once he hits the street as a salesperson, he cannot act that way for long before his real, core personality takes over. And if that does not include Drive, he will be destined to disappoint you and cost you an astonishing amount of money in the process for training him, carrying him and terminating him.
How do you protect yourself from fakers? First, start out with a personality test that gets at Drive. Second, back up that assessment with Drive-focused behavioral questions:
“When was the last time you met a really tough goal? How did you do it? Give me details.”
You are looking for the ability to sustain Drive toward achievement. Pay attention to the details. For example, if he says, “I ran a marathon,” find out how he trained, how long it took to prepare and did he finish?
“Tell me about a time everyone thought you were wrong about something but you persevered anyway and the outcome was successful.”
You are looking for strong self-belief and dedication to achieve no matter what.
“Are you competitive? Why?”
You are looking for how he expresses his feelings about competition . . . how it turns him on and, often, how much he hates losing.
We have many more interview questions available in our book, Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again, (you can download the PDF here at no charge), but the main point here is that it would be nice if “actors” who fake us out in job interviews could sustain their performances and sell well over time, but they can’t … and they don’t.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. For more information, click here.