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Interviewing Inside Sales Reps: 5 Rules

by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, Aug 21, 2008

We recently posted an article on Sales Interview Preparation: Candidate Side.  Now I would like to talk about the other side of the coin and offer "5 Rules" for interviewing Inside Sales candidates.

Making a hiring mistake is extremely costly. Consider:

  • Dollars in terms of recruitment expense
  • Lost revenue in uncovered territories
  • Demotivation for rest of the team

We have to get better at identifying the key skills for our teams and then evaluating candidates against those skills.  Here are some rules of thumb:

  1. Always do your first interview over the phone. You don't care what the person looks like but you do care about their ability to clearly articulate their thought process. Focus on their use of proper grammar, their ability to think on their feet and their speech patterns.

  2. Hire someone who has the experience to sell what you sell. This is true even when you are hiring Inside Reps to do pipeline development. If you sell a service, hire someone who has sold a service before. If you sell a $150K solution, hire someone who has sold an enterprise solution before. Don't make the mistake of thinking "they are young and eager, they will figure it out." They will eventually but in the meantime you are not going to get the productivity you need to make your numbers.

  3. Have a well defined interview process. If you are going to have the candidate interview with multiple people, have a process for collecting feedback. Create a feedback sheet that details the key skills you are looking for and have each interviewee rate the candidate on a scale of 1 to 4. This will take emotion out of the equation and give you a rating system to compare each candidate you interview against others.

  4. Ask the candidate to send you an email recapping their impressions of the interview process. The objective here is twofold. First, you may uncover some information about them or your own process that you were unaware of. Second, you get to evaluate their writing skills. This is so important! Bad grammar and punctuation are okay when text messaging but not when you are trying to communicate your value proposition!

  5. Ask to see last year's W2. Did you ever get a resume that did not say the candidate was 110% of quota? The whole world is 110% of quota! You know what their target income was at their last job so seeing the W2 gives you a chance to determine if in fact they did over achieve. If it does not substantiate that fact, then you have a bigger issue - one of honesty. PS - If you are uncomfortable asking for the document ask your recruiter or HR person to do it for you.

We hope you find this information useful.  Please feel free to post other ideas you have on identifying "A" players!

Topics: inside sales management, best practices, recruiting, inside sales hiring

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