Why choose us?
We offer a vast range of resources - for clients and candidates. Guiding you through preparation, interview, follow-up and starting new talent/roles. Free forever, on us - and if you need more advice, just give us a call on 01908 061 400
In this section
The Importance of Selling to Candidates at Interview
Have you ever lost a great candidate because a candidate turned down a job? Or worse, took a counteroffer? It may be because either you personally or your organisation could not engage or sell the candidate the job on offer.
Therefore, to be successful, an 'offer process' must be created that builds a compelling case for the candidate and clearly reinforces why they should accept your role and offer above all others.
When a candidate is presented with multiple job offers, it seems like the one most often picked is where the employer really sold the company. However, candidates CAN and will always be picky, and it is very common that too many companies take their own selling points for granted and don't bother spelling them out.
Furthermore, if you can talk about social events, team building and investment in people, you stand a much better chance of making the company a more attractive proposition than simply focussing on the job and how it fits into the corporate structure.
A significant number of employers are forgetting and failing to 'sell' and 'engage' candidates... So how and what should you be "selling" to potential employees during the interview process?
Stability And Flexibility
In the current economy, it could be seen that applicants are not always in the position to be as "picky" as they once were, but there are everyday things that they are looking for. Stability is essential, and many candidates may have been laid off by one company after another.
Providing great benefits and flexible time options offer great selling points, especially to applicants with families and/or are single parents.
Explain that your employees are your most valuable asset and an asset you treat well. Yes, talk about all the necessary points that need to be discussed, but do not under-communicate that you value your employees and their lives. This is probably an underused "branding" point right there! Employee appreciation lunch, Christmas parties and simple "thank you's" go a long, long, long way and mean more than most realise.
Don't tell them sweet little lies: Sell the truth
I believe it doesn't serve anyone to sell a potential employee promises that cannot be fulfilled– the truth is better; otherwise, you may find yourself repeating the process and employing another susceptible candidate. Making promises that cannot be fulfilled will get both the employer and employee nowhere. Sell the truth about the position but do so with excitement. This will help engage the candidate. It could be worth evaluating hiring managers to ensure that your company brand is demonstrated effectively during interviews.
Balance It Out
The following are samples of question styles found in well-balanced interviews. Generally, different combinations of questions used during interviewing help provide variety, which helps engage interviewees. Please bear in mind that the position for which candidates are being interviewed will influence the questions asked.
1. Open-ended Questions
This type of question, intended to allow the applicant to do most of the talking, draws out attitudes and information. Examples are:
What do you know about our company? Our industry?
What are your strengths and how do they relate to our company?
What are your biggest accomplishments, work, sales achievements, non-work, during the past few years?
What new skills or capabilities have you developed over the past year?
What do you feel would be your biggest contribution to our sales department? Our Company?
Is there anything you would like to tell me or add to your previous answers?
2. Probing Questions
This type of question allows the applicant to do the talking and is intended to clarify facts and attitudes. Examples are:
Do you enjoy talking to people on the telephone?
Why are you leaving your present position?
How well do you take criticism?
How well do you react to direction from a supervisor?
Is working under pressure a problem?
3. Close-ended Questions
Questions that are phrased to evoke yes or no answers should not dominate the interview. However, sometimes, it is helpful to pin down an applicant's response. Examples are:
Are you able to work overtime when necessary?
Would you be able to accommodate a change in your work shift?
Are you able to travel 50% of your work time?
Are you willing to relocate?
Make It Private
Arrange a private room with a desk or table and at least two chairs. An unused office or conference room where the candidate will not be interrupted is absolutely vital! The room must remain private for the entire duration of the interview. This will help relax the candidate, which consequently will enhance their engaging abilities. A comfortable, relaxed, engaged interviewee makes a happier and more successful interview.
Don't Get Too Engaged
Develop a standard set of questions and ask all of your candidates the same if not similar questions. It is extremely easy not to cover everything you wish to if your method is to create questions on the spot - especially if your candidate is very engaging and interesting. Ten is a good number of questions to aim for (give or take a few). You want to compare all candidates' answers to see who is a good fit for your organisation and engage the candidate, not overwhelm them with a vast amount of questions. Conversely, you don't want to send them to sleep with only a handful of undemanding basic questions.
Use Role Play
Perform a mini-role play. Salespeople will be expecting to answer typical interview questions like "what are your biggest strengths?" and "what are your biggest weaknesses". It's harder to role play and fake it with a "canned answer". Instead, ask the candidate how they would handle specific sales scenarios that would relate to the environment that your company works within.
The Interview Itself
Although you will be asking the majority of the questions, remember to give the candidate openings to ask their own – see if they can turn the interview into a mutually comfortable conversation (this helps engagement and relaxation). If not, find a point within the interview where you can throw out some open-ended questions that will allow the candidate to open up and get beyond pre-prepared answers. This will enable you to really get to know them on a more relaxed level. An example could be "Tell me about a project you are very proud of".
Stay Cool Under Fire
Due to the nature of a selling environment, most sales roles involve a great deal of pressure; however, don't use "stress interviews" to measure this quality – they don't work simply because you can't replicate "real-world" stress in an interview. As an alternative, ask candidates to describe how they handled the most stressful situation they've ever encountered.
Top-level sales candidates are just as rigorous and discerning about the company that they choose to work for as the hiring manager is about them – and sometimes even more so. Therefore the hiring manager mustn't just 'recruit', but they should actively market and sell themselves to candidates throughout the entire recruitment process. You could even view each stage of the process as a customer relationship management opportunity to build consensus with the candidate through each part of the process. If you can do this well, the success rate of hiring first choice candidates will measurably increase. A comfortable and relaxed candidate will make for a better interview, which will inevitably enable you to pick the right candidate.
Recruit sales staff
Just fill in your details below to get started
by Rob Scott
About the author
From our blogRead more
Our employers say...
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
Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.
UK Sales Manager, Nexcom
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
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
Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.
Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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
Our candidates say...
Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.
C. Hoy, 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
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
Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.
E. Heley, Candidate
The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.
L. Colagrossi, Candidate
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
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
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
Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)
K. Everitt, 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
Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.
R. Buckley, Candidate
Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance 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
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 helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles sought 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
Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.
R. Speakman, 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
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