Candidates need to be able to answer your questions in a non-scripted and persuasive way, while engaging in meaningful and direct dialogue with interviewers.
When an interviewee starts to ask in-depth questions during an interview, companies can take that as a sign of a more serious candidate that they may want to move forward with.
Pre-Screen Sales Candidates Before Interviewing
Before a company starts the interviewing process, a sales employment screening can be a powerful and effective tool to implement. The job market today is full of candidates who are willing to do or say anything to get hired for a job, regardless of whether it is the right fit for the company.
When candidates who are the wrong fit make it through a traditional interview process, managers sometimes find that the whole hiring process was a charade.
Sales candidates need to be Driven and have the deep-seated skills necessary to thrive in such a difficult environment.
Some people wrongly move to sales when they cannot find another type of job. This leads to unqualified salespeople getting hired, which in turn costs the company thousands of dollars and frustrates sales managers to no end.
Pre-screening with a well-developed sales aptitude test will measure the innate ability of your candidates and can help weed out those unqualified, less-Driven candidates prior to the interview.
Once a company has the results of the sales aptitude test, the hiring team can start looking more carefully at individual candidates and, specifically, at how the candidates are interacting with them.
Questions You Should Hear from an Interviewee
After pre-screening your candidates with a sales assessment, you can be sure that the candidates that move on to the in-person interview have the traits needed for success in sales.
The goal during the interview process is to get a sense of the prospective employee’s aspirations, culture fit and work ethic/style.
One telling sign of a great potential sales team member is his or her ability to engage proactively in the interview process. Simply responding to questions in a reactive manner is not enough to ensure that a candidate is ready for the sales environment.
He must also be able to think quickly and dive into any subject matter with a high level of comfort. When a candidate starts asking difficult questions, your company can take that as a marker of potential success.
Here are some of the top questions an interviewee can ask to indicate their level of interest in your company and likelihood for success there:
- Anything specific regarding your company.
As soon as you hear, “I was reading up on your company’s history and learned that…” followed by a question, you know that the candidate did his homework.
That willingness to do in-depth research on a company indicates that a candidate will be motivated to take the extra step to achieve success with your clients as well.
- What does a typical workday look like here?
This question is not broad level. It gets into the heart of a job. From this, a candidate determines the company’s environment, whether it is high stress with abrupt deadlines or if a typical day lies on the other end of the spectrum, with a more natural approach to sales and a team-oriented environment.
A candidate who wants to learn more about the culture is thinking about his own long-term success and level of comfort as a potential team member.
- What are you looking for in your ideal candidate?
A job description will generally list the hard skills that a candidate must have to be successful at a company. It will not, however, indicate the soft skills such as humility, willingness to work outside of a job description and other traits that work well in a company’s unique environment.
A candidate with high Need for Achievement will want to know how he can attain success in the eyes of the company.
- How do you expect your new hire to impact your company in the next 6 months?
This question not only reveals a candidate’s sense of goals and expectations, it also allows a company to set the bar for performance from the beginning.
A candidate who is willing to ask this question is often showing his willingness to make a meaningful impact on the company.
- What do you like most about working with this company?
Candidates who ask this question are often looking for anything that might hint at dissonance in the current environment, again indicating his interest in company culture.
Common concerns are often ‘Is the company open to suggestions and do workers truly work as a team?” or “Is the environment more or less dictated by an overseeing manager?”
- How does your management team promote success?
Successful salespeople like to work in a competitive, but optimistic environment. Most individuals, including salespeople, rely on reward-based systems and constructive criticism to continually improve their work.
Management teams that are more motivated to avoid failure rather than focusing on successes may not foster a positive or successful work environment.
These questions also give employers an opportunity to see the candidate’s reaction to the answers.
Candidates who further engage in dialogue surrounding a question or who remain quiet and stick to their questions often indicate what’s most important to them in a potential employer.
When Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism are reflected in both the sales aptitude test and throughout the in-person interview, then hiring teams can feel confident that they have a prospective employee who will perform well over time.
Additional Indicators to Look For
While questions that interviewees ask are important for employers to note, their overall conversation can also be very telling. Look for wording and conversation indicators that support your sales employment screening results. Strong candidates will be:
- Adaptable and agreeable
- Willing to take constructive feedback
If you can find all of these traits in a prospective employee, then chances are good that you will not have to experience the same difficulties of a churning sales team turnover rate as your competitors.
The key in the process it to use a balance of science-based tools, like a sales assessment, and your own knowledge and intuition on company fit. By using a sales assessment test as a standard tool in your hiring process, you will find a pool of qualified candidates much more efficiently and effectively than hiring solely based on traditional methods.
Your ideal candidate should take the initiative to ask you in-depth questions like the ones listed above, while highlighting his own skill set by engaging in meaningful dialogue.
When a candidate can bring that level of depth to an interview process, then you have likely found the right fit for your company.
What other questions do you like to hear from your sales interviewees?
Share your questions in the comments section below!