Beware of Salespeople Who Interview Well

Hiring a salesperson who interviews well is an easy trap to fall into. The person is usually a charmer. He’s answered every question eloquently and in depth, giving you far more information that you asked for. He’s articulate, witty, personable, and obviously knows his stuff.

Maybe, maybe not. You may have just been sold.

You may be dealing with a highly trained interviewee who has a social streak a mile wide. What do I mean by highly trained? Keep in mind that there is much more material floating around on how to “ace the interview’ than there is on “how to interview.”

Websites abound to help salespeople second-guess your every question and come up with pat answers that they’re told you want to hear. Unfortunately, not all these answers are truthful which is why reference checking is so important.

There are a ton of books out there for job seekers to help them prepare for the moment of truth  the hiring interview.

You can side-step this hiring trap by reading the same books the job hunters are reading. That way you’ll have a better sense of whether you’re getting a stock answer out of some book or if you’re getting close to the truth.

A lot of these people will not only know what questions you are likely to ask but what answers they should be giving if they are to impress you enough to get the job. Your job is to prepare a set of interview questions that will get the candidate to reveal his real self, not just the image he wants you to see.

In addition to being well prepared to answer your questions, some of these people fall into the overly social personality category and have the gift of gab which enhances their likeability during the interview process.

A way around this is to have a set of standard interview questions that are appropriate to you, your company, and what the candidates are expected to sell, and use those questions at every interview. After a period, you’ll know what answers to expect and a red flag will go up whenever you come across someone who is trying to bury you in BS (a technical term).

To paraphrase the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” when you’re asking interview questions, “If you don’t know what answer to expect, any answer will do.”

When you suspect that the person is just too glib and you’re getting long answers to short questions, beware. Sometimes you’re getting long answers because the longer the answers, the fewer the questions you’re likely to ask.

Your challenge is to be even better prepared for the interview than the candidate. Your bottom line may depend upon that preparation.

Remember that the salesperson who is sitting across from you during the hiring process has only one purpose and that is to “sell” you on making him a job offer.

Be careful what you buy.