Avoiding the "Likeability Trap" When Interviewing Sales Candidates | Safari Solutions

Avoiding the “Likeability Trap” When Interviewing Sales Candidates

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Have you ever fallen prey to the “Likability Trap” when hiring sales professionals? Perhaps you have had an instant connection with a sales candidate that made you feel like you know, like, and trust him. You know the feeling . . . easy person to talk with, have common interests, know the same friends, or went to the same school. And if this candidate also works within your industry, you might think you have hit the jackpot with the perfect candidate. Before you make a snap decision about the candidate, be sure to perform your due diligence. Sales people are typically good at selling themselves. Yet, that does not automatically make them good sales professionals. Building instant rapport is important in sales, but there are many other factors that will determine their success.

Here are five interview tips to keep you from falling into the Likability Trap.

1. Never interview just one sales candidate: You may think hiring a referral candidate is easier than embarking on a thorough search, yet without a basis of comparison, how will you know if your candidate is good? Compare and contrast candidates to make educated hiring decisions.

2. Ask interview questions based on the key accountabilities for the position: Be specific about the role and ask questions about the steps they will take to be successful. Ask about past experiences that translate to the opportunity.

3. Have at least five conversations with a sales candidate before making an offer: Conduct a phone interview, office interview, second office interview, follow-up phone interview, and have a trial offer/close conversation. Continue to probe with behavioral based questions and look for consistency in answers.

4. Seek outside consultation on final candidates for an independent, objective viewpoint: Engage a sales trainer, business coach, or recruiter to conduct a phone or office interview with your final candidate. Candidates often share more information with a recruiter and this information may help in understanding the candidate’s motivation for a job change.

5. Use sales assessments to evaluate strengths and weaknesses: When you “like” a candidate, it is easy to overlook red flags. Assessments provide objective data points that may not be easily identified in an interview.

If you need ideas on effective interview questions, click here for a comprehensive list tailored for sales professionals. Select 8-10 questions that best fit the job and ask the same questions of each candidate so you have a good basis of comparison.

To learn more on how to hire the right sales professionals for your company, give us a call at 317-578-1310.

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