Don’t Lead the Witness
Too many untrained interviewers hear what they want to hear and subconsciously ask questions that get them the answers they want instead of uncovering truths. In a court of law, this process would be called leading the witness.
Asking leading questions that predispose the sales candidate to give you answers you’re seeking is a waste of time.
Here are a couple of examples of leading the witness (sales candidate) from hiring interviews that I’ve sat in on as an observer.
“We’re proud of our team environment here. How do you see yourself fitting in?” As you might imagine, even the most introverted loner would become an incredible team player in response to this question.
“We get most of our business from new accounts. How do you feel about cold calling?” Now the salesperson who is a competent Farmer suddenly turns into an avid Hunter in his quest to get hired.
Remember, you’re using the interview process to uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly about the salesperson you’re considering hiring and whose services you will be paying good money for. So, unless you want to waste your money, use the interview to dig for the unvarnished truth, not what you might want to hear.
Ask open questions and look for collaborative facts from other sources such as assessments or reference checks before accepting the information as the gospel truth.
When in the job-seeking mode, salespeople may not lie (although some will), but they’ll certainly stretch the truth to get hired. It’s the interviewer’s job to find out where truth ends, and fantasy begins by getting the witness (the salesperson) to tell the truth and only the truth.