Top 10 Things - The First Minute of a Sales Candidate Interview

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 02, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

sales interviewIn just the first minute of your interview with a sales candidate you should know whether you don't want that candidate working for you.  Think about it.  If you decide in minute one that this candidate is NOT for you, there are options.  You can end the interview and find yourself an hour that you didn't expect to have.  You can complete the interview for practice or you can do it to see if the candidate succeeds at winning you over during the remainder of the interview.  If you can be won over after you have written a candidate off, that is exactly what you want in a salesperson.

What should you look for in the first minute that would suggest you don't want this candidate?

It depends on what you want in a candidate.  Most clients provide me with wish lists. in addition to a candidate's sales ability, clients want the candidates to possess certain traits that appeal to the clients.  Most of those traits are unnecessary.  Many of those traits only serve to make the clients happy.  Most of those traits don't help the salespeople sell more effectively.  So they aren't necessarily the things you should look for in the first minute.  

I have problems with candidates who exhibit any of the following 10 behaviors:

  1. aren't prepared to begin the conversation
  2. don't attempt to overcome my resistance
  3. can't look me in the eye
  4. don't answer my questions with direct answers
  5. dress like s**t
  6. fidget
  7. get so nervous they break out in a rash
  8. make excuses for their track record or jumping around from job to job
  9. talk too loud
  10. can't handle being challenged
I'm very impressed with candidates who are capable of these 10 things:
  1. push back and challenge me without starting an argument
  2. ask intelligent questions that aren't about benefits
  3. talk concisely versus ramble
  4. explain rather than claim
  5. express rather than state
  6. be memorable instead of forgetable
  7. demonstrate their ability to succeed
  8. distract me from my interview strategy
  9. connect with me
  10. [please provide us with the one thing you look for in an interview]

Topics: Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, sales candidate 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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