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7 Ways to Conduct Brilliant Interviews

You want the very best sales staff for your sales team, and to do that, you need to conduct brilliant interviews (for advice on finding said talent 'how to attract top sales staff'). And we're going to look at here is seven great ways to ensure that you give a great interview and attract the right candidates:

1) Think of the Setting - What you don't want is a room at the end of the open-plan office where the poor individual has to walk through all the existing members of the team so that they're nervous before they even walk into the interview room.

Recruitment is a two-way thing. As important as it is for you to find the right person, it's as important for the applicant to find the right business. So, therefore, you must sell to them. Get the candidate excited about your business, the role, and the opportunity.

2) Plan the Recruitment Campaign - One of the key things about interviewing is planning. And that is planning not only on your structure to your interview - because the very best interviews are structured and planned beforehand. Here is a link to 75 top sales interview questions for you to look at and select the best for your process. There are also links to competency-based interviews and a very robust recruitment process checklist to help you interview effectively.

3) Read the CV - It's imperative that you read the candidate's CV prior to the interview, even if it's just getting a quick handle on them and their interests and hobbies and what makes them tick and what they've achieved. But do know something. It means so much to candidates when it's evident that you've read their CV beforehand. If their CV seems too good to be true, we offer an independent CV verification service to give you peace of mind.

4) Set the agenda - At the beginning of the meeting, tell them how long the meeting is likely to be and precisely what the agenda is going to be. How I conduct interviews myself is to say this meeting is going to last between 45 minutes and an hour.

We're going to kick off by putting some meat on the bones of your CV. We're then going to go into the meat of the interview, which would be a competency-based interview. There will be opportunities to ask questions throughout.

And I actively ask candidates to get involved. The very best interview, data has shown, are 60% the interviewee and 40% present the interviewer. Try and strike that balance so it's a two-way thing.

5) Settle the Candidate - Kick off every interview with a settling question, something that's going to put the candidate at ease and bring the best out of them. A settling question is no more complicated than what research have you done prior to this interview? Or what do you know about our business? Or what did the recruiter tell you about the specific role? For more info on relaxing candidates and putting them at ease, see 'how to relax candidates'.

It doesn't have to be any more than that. But because most candidates will have researched, it means that they can relax, settle, and get this information out of all the research they've done. And straight away, they've calmed down, they're relaxed, and you're going to see the best of the applicant.

6) 'Sell the Sizzle'! - When you conduct interviews, you've got to set the environment so the candidate is passionate, enthusiastic, and wants to join your business. I do not doubt that your business has great direction, great focus, fantastic products that are unique in the marketplace. You've won awards, and you've won competitions.

You've got a very tight-knit team and very low staff attrition, all of these fantastic things. Think about it beforehand so that when you meet candidates at the sales interview, you sell your business and make them want to join your organisation. See The Importance of Selling to Candidates at Interview.

7) Feedback - Finally, feedback is so important. Business is such a small world. And I've met tens, hundreds of candidates who have been for interviews and never heard if things were going to move forward or not.

Always let the recruiter know if they're not going to move forward. If it's a direct applicant, in short, they get a nice email or a friendly letter turning them down. That means that they'll always leave your business with a positive image. You never know, one day they might be an employee of the future. Here are our tips on 'how to give candidates feedback'.

Also, if you've conducted anything like psychometrics or skills testing or whatever it may be as part of your process, give that to the candidate so that they've got that for future reference. So I hope this video has given you seven ways to conduct brilliant interviews. Good luck with interviewing your sales applicants.

Published: 26th March 2021

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About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

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