The Best Way to Evaluate a Sales Candidate

How do you evaluate a sales candidate? Resume, background check, and interviews? Sure, those are important elements of your hiring process. However, you need to do more than ask questions. You need to see them in action. Follow the lead of professional sports teams – give them a tryout.

The best way to evaluate a sales candidate is to run them through a series of role plays. For example, let’s say you’re hiring an outside sales rep who will hunt for new business. That means, prospecting is the first step of the sales process.

Here’s what you do:

Have your sales candidate go out into the hall of lobby and cold call you on your cell phone. When they call, put them on speakerphone. Have another person with you who records the call on their phone. You play the role of the prospect. Inform your sales candidate to attempt to secure an appointment with you. Don’t prep them for the call. If they have any experience cold calling, let them show you what they can do. Many times, the hype of a sales candidates quickly falls once they feel the pressure of a cold call role play.

Here’s what you’re listening for:

1. Words

What words did your sales candidate use on the cold call? Did they use slang or unprofessional language? What words were effective and which one’s turned you off. Surprisingly, the word quality is actually a turnoff, yet a lot of sales reps use it. When you evaluate a sales candidate, make notes of any words that reduce their credibility.

2. Tone

What is the tone of their voice? Soft? Loud? Forceful? Polite? Professional? Do they speak clearly? How about their inflection? Many sales reps learn a script and sound very flat and very scripted. A real turn off for the buyer. You be the judge.

3. Confidence

How confident do they sound? Do they come across as a true sales professional or a scared sales rep? Do they sound like they believe in their product or service? How well do they have facts and information to support their claims? Do they speak too fast or with a confident tone of a competent sales professional?

4. Value

Do they communicate value to the point you would accept a visit or a phone appointment with them? How well did they make a case for taking the next step? Do they translate their offerings to a proposition that invites a meeting? How excited are you at hearing more from this sales rep?

Evaluate a sales candidate with a role play… every time. And never violate this principle. Always listen for these four things when conducting a telephone cold call role play. Once you finish the role play, invite them back in if they did well. If necessary, conduct several cold call role plays with other members of your staff to get other peoples’ perspectives. Record each one and listen back to them to get a sense of their ability to modify their approach based on with whom they’re talking.

If you have the opportunity to do face to face role play, add these two items to your evaluation list:

5. Dress, Style, Image

How well dressed is your sales candidate? Did their attire and style match what you expect from a sales professional? Do they project the type of image you want representing your company? Get input from others in your office to weigh in. It helps to get multiple inputs from others.

6. Manners

Finally, how well does your sales candidate act as a guest in your office? How well do they treat the receptionist? How well do they greet you and others for the interview? Do they show up on time? Early? How well prepared are they for the interview?

These are some ways you can increase the effectiveness of your job interviews. Role playing is the best way to evaluate a sales candidate.