3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Sales Candidate

Hiring a sales candidate can be exciting and difficult. As a Sales Manager, you can’t help but be excited about the prospect of a high volume salesperson in your organization. They could be the one to take your whole team to the next level. It’s also difficult to identify the real sales superstars from the mediocre. Many lousy sales reps know how to interview well.

In addition, a sales candidate’s sales numbers from their previous employers can also be deceiving. Drill down with these three questions to determine the validity of your candidates past success.

1. Who serviced the account?

Sure the candidate’s numbers look great, but who took care of the account once the deal was sealed? In some organizations, once a salesperson lands a deal, they “hand-off” the account to an Account Executive who provides the service. This allows the salesperson to spend more time prospecting so sales will typically be higher. If your organization doesn’t do the “hand-off,” then this type of salesperson may not be right for you. You would need someone that could service an account even after the deal is closed.

Questions you should ask during the interview:
•  After you completed a sale, who managed or serviced the account?
•  How much time each week did you dedicate to prospecting?

2. Who did the prospecting?

Another contributing factor to high volume sales numbers is lead sourcing. Many top performing candidates benefit from certain aspects that contribute leads to their pipeline. These could include a strong marketing machine, efficient call center, productive appointment setters, a well-branded company, inherited accounts or pre-existing relationships. However, your company many not have those resources. If working for you means your salesperson will start with no inherited accounts and a cold territory, be sure to drill down into how the candidate acquired leads in the past. Understand whom they relied on for prospecting.

Questions you should ask during the interview:
• Were your leads self-generated or company-generated?
• How many accounts did you inherit when you got hired? Who were they?
• What methods did you employ to get leads on your own?

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3. How involved was your Sales Manager?

There are salespeople who work well inside an office with a strong Sales Manager presence. Others fare better when they are in a satellite with less management presence or working from home with minimal, if any, management presence. What type of management role is the candidate coming from? Will they flourish in your organization if it is vastly different from their past experience? Check their level of independence and self-management capacity to make sure it lines up with your geographical set-up. Remember, the farther away a salesperson is from you, the less control you have over their actions and the more you need a strong entrepreneurial sales professional to self-manage the role.

Questions to ask during the interview:
• What level of autonomy did your Sales Manager provide you?
How often did your Sales Manager assist you in closing sales?
• What do you feel you need from a Sales Manager in order to be successful?

Hiring a sales candidate is never easy. So, ask these three questions during the interview process. You will better understand how a top-performing sales rep was able to achieve their numbers. In addition, using a good sales assessment will help you uncover hidden issues that might prevent them from being successful. Beyond that, you’ll have a firm grasp of whether or not their past experiences and selling style will fit with the requirements of the role you’re trying to fill.