Keenan, writing for the ‘A Sales Guy’ blog had some interesting perspective on hiring a sales superstar (all of us want those), given the fact that salespeople are used to interviews, since many of them regard the interview as nothing more than another sales call. (We’re going to assume that you’ve gone through our attribute ranking system).
Here are some things to look for in the interview:
1. Business acumen: does the person know about your business, or business in general? Has he/she looked at your web site before the interview? What business periodicals does he/she read? Rank this from 1 to 5, 5 being the best.
2. Creativity: does the interviewee demonstrate creative problem solving skills? Give them a hypothetical (or actual) sales dilemma that one of your people has faced, and see how they solve it. Again, rank their answer.
3. Leadership: Does the interviewee take direction well or exclusively, or does he/she exhibit some problem solving skills? Might he/she be able to lead your sales team one day?
4. Drive: Is he/she self-starting, or does he/she wait for direction? Is he/she willing to do whatever it takes to be a success? What’s their track record? Why are they leaving their current position?
Some of these questions may make the candidate uncomfortable, and if so, then you don’t have a superstar. You have to be comfortable making them uncomfortable. Challenge their decisions, make them explain themselves. You might seem like the inquisitior, but it leads to better hiring decisions.
As you can see from the four attributes you’re measuring for above, you need to ask open-ended questions.
Superstars are superstars in all phases of their lives, and they don’t mind sharing what they’ve done. However, be cautious that you’re not hiring someone who thinks his/her opinion is the only one. Do they listen well? (effective selling is 80% listening)