• What Are The Golden Questions In Recruiting Sales Talent?

    When I walk into an interview, a lot of things are running through my head.  I’m thinking about how the candidate presented on paper and now in person, wondering what their level of interest is for the position, and whether or not they have done their homework on our company.

    I’m also always concerned that I won’t be able to get them to open up enough for me to learn what I need to learn about them. While adjectives like “competitive, hard working, driven, focused, energetic and personable” are important, I want to get to know candidates beyond what they’ve already told me in their resume and cover letter.  I want to hear about their ability to multi-task, how they would work in a team environment, their drive to exceed goals, and why they’re excited about the potential of working with us.  Ultimately, I want to be confident in: a. their ability to listen to and retain our training program, b. the strength of their verbal and written communications skills, and c. their ability to sound confident and comfortable in business conversations with VP and C level executives.  If the candidate struggles in certain areas, I want to know how they plan to overcome challenges.

    The candidates that I’ve interviewed who were most excited about their opportunity to interview and who were best prepared to share specific reasons why they would be an asset have generally turned into the most successful employees at AG Salesworks.

    Different people have different strategies for getting an interviewee to open up about themselves, but for now, I have narrowed my approach down to three questions:

    1.  What is your understanding of the position?

    2.  What could I expect from you if you were on my team?

    3.  Tell me about a scenario in your life (can be school or a job) when your plans fell apart, when you had to come up with a plan B or C to solve the issue.  What did you do?

    The objective of these questions is to learn about the candidate outside of canned adjectives.  It’s to see if they truly understand what the job description is and what their day to day responsibilities would include, and to get an idea of how they work under pressure. How a candidate reacts to open ended questions tells me a lot about their personality and communication skills.

    Whether a candidate has a booming presence or is more of an introvert, I am looking for confidence.  I want to see that they are eager to be a part of our team and can clearly express the reasons behind their interest.

    What other questions should I be asking to be certain that I’m learning as much relevant information as possible about each candidate that I’m interviewing?

    Jill Ryan is Manager, Client Operations at AG Salesworks.  To view all company blogs go to AG Salesworks blog site.

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