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Let’s face it; every sales person has a great CV. And they all interview well. Those that don’t just get a lot more practice before they eventually turn up at your office.

We also know there is a huge difference between those that can sell, and those that actually will. Those that say all the right things and those that can actually execute the plan.

“Sell me this pen”. Do you remember that popular interview question from the eighties?

Those of us that asked it quickly discovered that answers to this question and many others failed to predict accurately whether the hopeful candidate would actually be able to sell.

So what questioning strategies might work better?

Cheat! Using targeted interview questions derived from a thorough skills and competencies assessment tool, such as the Devine Inventory. These enable the interviewer to probe essential competencies such as “ambition and Drive”, “ positive outlook” “self-responsibility” and even “sales prospecting”. The report suggests questions to ask, quickly turning an amateur interviewer into a professional.
Collect a list of tough questions that work for you. Here are 5 from my top 40.
“ Why do people buy, and how do they make decisions?”

“Successful sales people are always getting referrals and regularly prospecting. I’m sure you keep a list of prospects to call. Would you mind making a couple of calls now while I listen in?”

“ Tell me about the prospecting plan you have developed for your job search?”

“ What questions do you ask a prospect on the phone in order to determine whether they qualify for a meeting?”

“We have a culture of accountability. That means we’re going to have measurements of behaviors – cold calling, follow up calls, appointments set, and of course sales closed. Accountability means that you’ll be reporting these behaviors on a weekly basis. What’s your opinion and past experience with accountability?”

The interview is often a meeting between 2 needy parties. The candidate who needs a job, and the company that needs to hire. Tough questions are just one way to avoid hiring mistakes.


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