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Profile for Rob Scott, Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

First off, what is a "competency interview?" It is nothing more complicated than a well-prepared and planned interview where you ask questions based on what has the candidate actually done. What have they actually achieved? How have they gone about achieving that? Rather than hypothetical questions, such as, in this situation, what would you do if I gave you this challenge? How would you undertake it?

So dispel the myth. It's nothing more complicated than give me examples of when you have, rather than what would you do if? It's all in the planning. It takes time to conduct the first competency interview. But once you've done one, the next time it won't take any time at all. I would recommend committing somewhere between three and four hours to really planning your competency interview in conjunction with your colleagues to get it right.

The key to success in competency interviewing is involving at least two other colleagues, one who's perhaps in the sales role or in a similar department or division, but somebody else who this individual touches. That could be credit control. It could be accounts. It could be marketing. It could be whatever. But involve somebody else from outside your direct division or department.

In terms of the planning, take the job specification and think of somewhere between 5 to 10 key competencies, skills, attributes, qualities, that really are required to succeed in this particular role. Make a list of them. Get agreement from your colleagues that this is exactly what is required.

Once you've set the competencies, now think of a really good, open interview question which will really tease out the information from the candidates so that you can get the evidence to score each candidate against that competency effectively. Then have a scoring mechanism. Either use between 1 and 5 or 1 and 10 and have a grade of what level the candidate has to meet to meet that particular score.

So if a candidate meets a very minimum level, that's one or two. If they meet an average level, three or four. If they really do demonstrate in that interview that they do have that competency, you're then looking at the high scores. So devise the scoring system so that you can then score candidates effectively.

And you may want to weight one competency higher than another. How you weight it is perhaps like times it by one and a half or maybe even two for that really important competency that's required in the role. Then when you come to scoring up, you can then tally all of the scores up, included the weighted scores, and you get a number at the bottom that then helps you to compare candidate A against candidate B against candidate C.

Now we have constructed the list of competencies. We've devised an open question per competency. What we must now do is think of laddering questions for each of those competencies. And laddering questions are no more complicated than drilling the detail on the answer that the candidate gives.

What is really important in competency interviewing, and I know it is so tempting, but you mustn't confer. You mustn't discuss applicants with colleagues that are involved in the recruitment process until all of the notes are written up, all of the scores are tallied together, and you get together in what's conventionally known as the wash-up, the meeting where you each discuss your views on each particular candidate, and you then start making effective decisions.

You have the ability to influence your colleagues. Your colleagues have the ability to influence you. Make sure it doesn't happen. The key is to make your own notes. They'll make their own notes. Bring them together at the end once you've scored each candidate up.

The benefits of competency interviewing are huge. Every candidate will get the same experience, so you don't bias one candidate over another. Also, the candidates that have the interviews with you will enjoy a very structured, planned, and prepared interview with your business, and this will make them want to join your organization.

But also, we've all been there before where we've taken on somebody because their kid went to the same school as ours, or they supported the same football team, or they were interested in the American Civil War in the same way that I am, whatever it may be. By competency interviewing, you're scoring, objectively, one candidate against the other, and that gut feeling, whilst it's important, doesn't take over the entire recruitment process.

Brian Tracy, the business guru, gives a great bit of advice when he says that an interview should have a three by three by three process. That is, three different interviewers, interviewing individually, scoring up, with one of those interviews taking place outside of the office environment. If you conduct three competency interviews with each applicant in that way, you will make great recruitment decisions.

I hope this information has been useful. There is loads of information on our website, including a full guide of how to conduct a competency interview. There's also the competency interview questions that we ask when recruiting our own consultants, and there's also the competencies that we use when recruiting ourselves. So go to to download all of that information, and good luck with your competency interviews.  

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Example of a Competency Intervew Form to Download

Example Competency Interview Questions


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Milton Keynes
01908 061 400


01543 227973

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis’ services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

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Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them

C. Caine, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

D. Richards, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dawrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles saught to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

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