Tale of Two Sales Candidates

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 19, 2007 @ 08:07 AM

I interviewed two candidates for a client yesterday.  Candidate #1 had great people skills and didn't answer a single question head on.  In other words, he heard the question and answered something completely different than what I asked.  Why? He didn't have a good answer for what I asked so he chose a story he was comfortable with instead.  It's a good strategy but I can see through it.  Can you?  The stories were great and show the candidate in a wonderful light, but do the stories you are told in the interview really answer your questions?  Always inspect the answers and when they aren't answers to the question you asked, point it out and ask again.

Candidate #2 had a great track record, perfect references, industry experience, assessed as strongly as anyone we ever seen and had perfect, clear, succinct answers.  He was the anti Candidate #1 in all ways, including his people skills.  While the first candidate was extremely social, Candidate #2 was extremely subdued, almost dead.  This was extremely different from how he sounded by phone and had to be different from how a candidate with his track record must act with his prospects.  Did we see the real Candidate #2 or was he off his game?  Were the assessment, references, track record and his interview questions and answers all wrong or did his people skills stay in the car?  Are you asking questions like that?  Always ask "what's wrong with this picture?" type of questions to select the perfect candidate.  The best way to learn the answer?  Tell the candidate, like I did, that his demeanor was horrible.  Invite him back for he final interview and see who shows up!

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: recruiting

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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