The Sales Interview - When One Candidate is Actually Two?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

sales candidate showing mixed signalsSuppose you are interviewing a candidate and there is a whole lot to like.  On the other hand, you observe and hear some things that you don't like.  

Suppose you have a great first interview with a candidate but you interview the same person, who seems to be a completely different candidate in the second interview?  

What if you conducted the great first interview and the person who conducted the second interview did not feel the same way as you did?  

What if someone else conducted a great first interview and you did not feel the same way as the other person?

You can overlook what you like and discount the candidate.  

You can overlook what you don't like and hire the candidate - a compromise.  

Or you can play best 2 out of 3.

Call the candidate - it has to be spontaneous to catch him/her off guard - and explain what you liked.  Then tell the candidate that there were several things that concerned you, explain what those things are, and shut up.

Allow the candidate address the issues.  If it was a crucial gap in expertise you will obviously have to find another candidate.  If it is a question as to how hungry, skilled, capable, personable, presentable or connected the candidate might be, provide them with an opportunity to change your mind.  If they say, "Yeah, you're right", or "I understand", the no's have it.  If they push back, attempt to change your mind, explain a misunderstanding, correct a fact or otherwise attempt to resurrect your perception of them, ask them to "prove it".  

You should pay more attention to HOW they respond (whether they apologize, keep their cool, provide a simple, concise explanation, are credible; or whether they make excuses, become defensive, stutter, become uncomfortable, etc.), than what they say.

It's best 2 out of 3 so whether they duplicate the favorable or unfavorable impression, it's the final impression that counts.

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Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, sales interview

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six 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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