Getting Better at Interviewing Salespeople

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etcIf you are like most managers, you were promoted to your position because you were proficient at you job.  Top salesmen get promoted to sales managers, top engineers get promoted to chief engineers, top accountants become partners in their firms, etc.

To stay proficient at your role as a manager, you have to make the shift from getting things done yourself to getting things done through other people.   There are a lot of competencies you must master in order to be successful at this and at the same time, it can be narrowed down to just three.  They are your ability to lead, to delegate and to choose your team.

Since this is true, when was the last time you attended any training on how to interview?  Choosing who joins your team is paramount to your overall success and yet, it is assumed that you are naturally good at it.  The techniques we use are typically the ones that were used on us.  After all, that must work because they chose you!

So, in case you have not had any training on how to interview lately, here are a couple of tips.

How to Effectively Interview

  1. interview-intense-getty-293-1303491047Be prepared with a standard list of questions you use every time and on every candidate.  Know not only the proper responses to the questions you ask but also any responses that would indicate a red flag.
  2. Have a scoring mechanism on your interview questionnaire.  It’s ok to weight certain questions more than others if you value correct responses to those questions more than the others.  This way you have a quantitative comparison between two candidates.  This helps take out the emotional appeal one may have over the other.

I had a Texas Hold’em poker player tell me one time that the key to good poker is not watching the cards on the flop but the players’ reactions to the cards.  In Texas Hold’em each player is dealt two cards. Then, three cards are placed face up on the table that every player can use as one or more of their cards to help make their hand.  Those three cards make up what is called the flop.  The majority of the time the flop determines who is going to win the hand.  So, in playing the game, watching the players’ reactions to the flop is more important than you looking at the flop.  “The cards don’t move but the eyes of the players always do,”my friend stated.

Most interviewers look at the question when reading it.  Take my friends advice and memorize the question, ask it while looking at the person, and gauge their reaction.  The questions don’t change but the face of the candidate always does.

How they react is more important than what they say.

Here is quiz that appeared in a blog by the New York Times that tests your skill at reading people:

Can You Read Emotions?

You are good at your job.  Invest in getting good at selecting your team members or use one of your other managerial skills – delegation – and assign it to someone who is.


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