Past the impressive resume and sales numbers, breaking through the interview to tell the difference between a candidate good at selling themselves and a candidate who’ll bring repeated success can be a shot in the dark.
Entelo’s Sam East narrows it down to six key traits in our How to Hire a Sales Team webinar. Missed the live event? Here’s the quick version.
“If you’re unable to learn, you won’t succeed as a sales professional." Coachability is a tough trait to establish in an interview environment. Simply asking if candidates are fast thinkers or quick learners won’t tell you much about their ability to absorb information and put knowledge to (effective) action.
Ask about a time in a past role they struggled with a challenge, or failed. How did they work on themselves to overcome those challenges? Who did they leverage for help? Keep a lookout for candidates who can tell the story about what in particular was difficult about their situation. Do they focus on placing blame rather than explaining the solution, if there was one? Candidates who also mention a mentor know how to leverage their network’s experiences to get perspective on their situation, and improve. Coachable sales candidates can learn, and manage feedback to fine-tune their work.
This trait is key to finding sales people genuinely interested in learning more about what their customers are working on, and how to address their pain points.
Curious candidates are inquisitive from the phone screen all the way through the final interview. Think “What can I do to make your job easier?” instead of “What do you like most about your company?”
Good candidates are naturally interested in learning more about the org, the role, challenges, and opportunities for them. These candidates are also curious about what’s going on in their life outside of work. What are they interested in getting better at? How are they finding out more about people who aren’t in their circle of colleagues?
Fairly straightforward. You can pick this up in their voice during a phone screen, or during the in-person interview – eye contact, firm handshake, articulation. Confidence yields trust and respect. Ultimately what you’re looking for are candidates you feel will take the initiative and get stuff done, candidates who don’t require hand-holding, and who understand how to communicate their grit.
This goes hand-in-hand with confidence. A candidate who’s articulate and understands how to tell a story about their skills and experiences knows how to connect with people, and think and work with logic and rationale.
Drive and discipline
An unmotivated sales team won’t meet their goals over and over again. Do candidates know themselves well enough to understand where their motivation comes from? What are they willing to do to meet their goals? Are they able to separate their personal and professional lives to finish their work? Do they have the resilience to make a comeback from failure? Find out what sparks candidates’ ambition, and their thought processes for maintaining it.
As with interviewing candidates for other roles, poking around about a candidate’s work experience won’t tell you everything about their qualification for a role. Be curious about how they’re adding extra zest and zeal to their lives outside of work, how they build relationships with people, and how that kind of energy can play a positive effect on your team and the company’s goals.
Don’t forget – you can get the full version of this post in How to Hire a Sales Team. Check it out here!