Interviewing: Part One

posted: Friday, February 26, 2010

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Previously we talked about recruiting quality people and how it's an on-going process. The question now becomes: once you find a pool of people who are interested in becoming part of your sales team, how do you decide which one(s) to hire? It can be a difficult decision, especially if you have not had much experience. Today we are going to talk about the interviewing process.

The first rule of interviewing is to let the people you are interviewing tell you who they are without prompts. For example, if you advertise that you are looking for a salesperson that is outgoing and aggressive, then chances are good that that's how the applicant is going to act in the interview. The problem is, you might hire someone who may not actually have the qualities you desire. Bottom line: design your questions to find out about the person, don't give them the answers.

Every process should begin with three to five applicants that you decide are worth bringing in for an initial interview. I believe that you should never hire anyone after only one interview. That doesn't mean it has to be a long process, though. The second meeting could be as soon as later that same day if you interview someone you think will be a great addition to your staff.

The first interview should be set up to determine if the applicant is self-motivated, can carry on a conversation, has had any problems with past employers, is reliable, stable and if they are a good fit with the rest of your team. It is also a good time to let the applicant know some of the basics of the job, including a general pay scale, basic benefits and your expectations of them if hired. A sample of first interview questions is listed below:
  • Why did you leave you last position(s)?
  • Why do you want to leave your current position?
  • What did you like most about your job?
  • What did you dislike most about your job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
These are just a few of the types of questions you would ask in a first interview. Next time we will move on to the second interview and examine what goes into that.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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