How to Best Include Your Team When Interviewing Sales Candidates

How to Best Include Your Team When Interviewing Sales Candidates

Once you or your recruitment partner have found, qualified, and vetted top sales candidates for your open position, the next step is to start the interview process. While it’s tempting to believe the hard part is over, in reality, the interview process is your last chance to evaluate the candidate and determine if they are the right fit for the position and the company.

If you choose the wrong person for the position, you could end up wasting valuable time, money, and resources. Fortunately, the interview process and evaluation doesn’t have to be performed by a single person. Incorporating various team members into the interview process will increase interviewer accuracy, minimize first impression biases, and improve your chances of hiring the best fit.

However, not everyone on your team will know what to look for in a top sales candidate or know how to interpret the candidate’s responses or behaviors. Keep reading to find out 5 ways to best include your team when interviewing for top sales candidates.

Organize the Interview Team
There is not a set number of people that should be included in an interview team, but you should aim for a minimum of three members. These people could consist of an HR leader, sales team leader, VP of Sales, CEO or whoever else is involved in the hiring process.

Also, it’s important to check the future availability of these individuals. If you’re trying to move quickly through the hiring process, you shouldn’t include people who will be out of town for long periods of time or will hold up the process. If you want to hire top sales candidates, you need to move quickly or else the candidate is going to move on.

Assign Each Team Member a Targeted Dimension or Criteria
The best way to get the most out of each interview is to assign each team member a targeted dimension to focus on.

For example, one interviewer’s targeted dimensions might be character and integrity while another candidate’s targeted dimensions could be motivation and selling ability. The interviewers would then ask specific questions related to those targeted dimensions.

Giving each interviewer their own targeted dimensions ensures the same questions won’t be asked in every interview and helps the interviewer become more focused on what to look for and answers to expect. You can choose whatever targeted dimensions you think are most important for the position and your company.

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Create a Criteria for Your Ideal Candidate
If someone on your team has never interviewed a candidate for a position at your company before, they may not know what behaviors or answers to expect from a top candidate. Also, if someone doesn’t have experience hiring for a sales rep position, it’s especially important to create criteria of what a top sales rep acts like.
Give your team words or phrases to listen for or behaviors in their past companies that are consistent with target behaviors required for success in a sales position.

Also, it’s a sales rep’s job to sell a product, service, and even themselves to a potential prospect or customer. Sometimes it may be difficult to determine whether they’re giving a sales pitch, or if they’re just telling you what you want to hear.

Train your interview team to ask the right questions and look for tangible or quantifiable results. If the sales candidate tries to skirt around your questions, try to ask it in a different way until you get the answer you’re looking for.

Organize Meetings with Your Team Before the Interview
There is nothing more unprofessional than an interviewer looking at a job description and resume for the first time five minutes before walking into an interview. A sales candidate will pick up on this and might get the impression that you’re not taking the interview or their candidacy very seriously.

You should be conscious that your interview team has their own job responsibilities and obligations, but they also need to held accountable for the time they spend before, after and during the interview.

Hold a meeting with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows their targeted dimensions and interview questions. Also, all interviewers should have a copy of the Interview Schedule, Candidate Resume, Selection System Elements Matrix, Job Description, and Interview Evaluation Form.

Set Expectations and Post Interview Evaluation Meeting
Before the interviews begin, let your team know that they will be filling out an interview evaluation form. Not only do they need to give each candidate a score, they should also provide information and examples about why they gave that score.

Also, schedule the post-interview evaluation meeting after all the interviews have finished, preferably on the same day. You want to make sure the candidate and their responses are still fresh in your team’s minds.

Including your team during the interview process will help you increase your chances of hiring the right person for the position and eliminate any doubts caused by bias. If you want to see examples of targeted dimensions and sales questions to go along with them, please download our Employer Interview Guide: How to Hire and Select Star Salespeople for Your Business!