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Recruiting Mastery: Interview Tactics


Let’s cut to the chase: a lot of you sales managers and sales executives have tons of experience, you know what you’re doing, you know what you’re looking for. But what I’d like to do is give you two very out of the box interview tactics that will help you and supplement what you are already doing to find the right candidates.

First Identify How A Person Thinks Of Themselves

Let me tell you a really quick story. The president of a Baltimore, Maryland, CPA firm and I were in his office working on sales functions. He reads an email from an employee and gets mad. He goes on to tell me about what this person is doing—all the things that you don’t want your salespeople doing and I looked at him and said “I don’t know why you’re mad at the person you hired because it’s really your fault.” He said, “Hey, what do you mean it was my fault?” “You hired that person. It’s your fault. You don’t have a strong recruiting program in place. You’re loose here. Otherwise you would have hired the right person and you wouldn’t be having this situation. It’s so preventive.” I replied. He slammed his fist down on his desk and said “Give me one recruiting tactic that will help me try to choose the right person.” “Okay. The person who sent you this email—is their car in the parking lot?” He said yes. So we take the elevator to the parking garage, and as we walk up to the car of the person he’s complaining about, the first thing I notice is that both quarter panels have got dents in them, and I also notice that it’s white… but it’s not really white—it’s dirty. It’s a four-door car and I walk up to the passenger side window and look in and see a grungy, disgusting middle console and McDonald’s bags, which had probably been in there for months, everywhere. I look in the back seat of the car and what do I see? Two spare tires. Now, there are challenges people have in their lives, but let’s see what your level of self-esteem is, what persona you want to show to others, let’s see who you are as a result of looking at your car.

So here’s interview tactic number one:

Always excuse yourself out of the face-to-face interview, find out what kind of car the interviewee is driving, where its parked, and take a look at it—exterior and interior. My typical rule of thumb is this—if it’s missing one hubcap, they’re out.

Here’s interview tactic number two:

Again we’re talking sales here, not HR or customer service—involves putting a script in front of them, giving them a person’s name and phone number, giving them a phone, and telling them “Call that person and run that script.” It doesn’t matter whether they make that call: you watch their body language. If the person calmly looks at the script, says “Sure,” and makes the call, perfect. But if the person looks at the script and scoots back in their chair just an eighth of an inch, they have fear, and fear and high-revenue producing sales can’t co-exist.

Fearless people do far better than fearful people.

Look at the person’s body language. If the person moves toward the phone, they have no fear. If the person moves away from the phone, they have fear. Identifying how a person thinks of themselves and finding out if a person has fear at the prospect of making a sales call will save you a lot of heartache in the future and, more importantly, when you get the person with the right car and the person who will go ahead and make that call without thinking about it, then you typically have the right person for that job. Now, are these the only tactics you need to identify a good salesperson? No. There are still more things that must be included in the interview process, but these are two key things that will help you determine whether you have the right candidate or not. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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