Its Friday morning and I’m just settling in. It was a strong week for the whole team and I’m really looking forward to this Friday being a great capstone to the Quarter. I get started with cold calls and returning emails, finding a good pace to get myself into before lunch. Just as I am getting into a good rhythm I get a tap on the shoulder.
“Joe, are you busy? We need someone to interview a candidate at 11:30, are you OK to run with this?”
Now, I’m not one to say ‘No’ to a challenge, or tell my manager or colleague that I’m too busy to help them with something, but I’ve never been on that side of the table, and never considered myself to be an interviewer. Of course I said I would do it no problem.
Luckily enough, I had someone to help me get through it. A fellow Sales Development Representative was also asked to run the interview, so we decided to go full-on Step Brothers and interview as a team.
(No, we unfortunately didn’t have tuxedos available to really do the damn thing, but it was Hawaiian Friday so I figured Hawaiian shirts would suffice.)
As we sat down after shaking hands with the candidate, I still had this nagging feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing and this could very well backfire. It would be really unfortunate to lose a potential new-hire because I asked some stupid question. But it finally came to time to start, and I did what any good Sales Development Representative would do on a cold call: I started asking questions.
“So what brought you in today?”
I started with this question because I asked a similar question when I reach out to trade show/ webinar attendees. I am genuinely interested in why they came in for an interview with our company. There was something that compelled them to submit their resume, and if they can tell a great story about that reason, it’ll show me that they have those base skills that are so needed in sales.
“What are you looking for in a sales role?”
A lot of new hires I’ll end up onboarding (blog post currently under construction) come from a wide array of backgrounds. Some people want to join sales because strictly for the paycheck, some for the title, some to gain the skills to start their own business (combo of money and title). If I can get an idea of this candidate’s intentions, I can get an idea of their motivation to do well here.
“What are your thoughts on joining our company softball team?”
This one is meant to be less serious, but it still has value here. Company cohesion is vital to a successful sales floor. Will this person be a closer? Are they good listeners? Will they be helpful with training the next new hire? Translate that to a softball team. Will this person be a team player? Are they a slugger? A good base coach? If they’re not athletic, will they support the team however they can?
It occurred to me that these interview questions I was asking were not so different than when I prospect. Asking questions to navigate accounts and determine if we are good fit and if a relationship here will be mutually beneficial.
Ultimately the candidate wasn’t a good fit for the role and we didn’t call him back for a second interview. Such is life with prospecting: sometimes they’re a perfect fit, sometimes it's best to cut loose before it's too late. However, I learned a lot from the experience. As with Sales Development, interviewing can be ultimately broken down to the core of asking the right questions. I’m not really sure how to end this, but I can tell you that since this experience I’ve been getting that tap on the shoulder to run interviews more often than not.
Have you been asked to run an interview? Would you run an interview if asked? If so, let me know how it goes?
Image Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo