Don’t Interview Everyone Or You’ll Be Crazy By Number 10!
I’ve seen the look in the eyes of sales managers or owners who have interviewed 20 salespeople and it isn’t pretty! Their sense of balance leaves, the eyes blur, they get cranky and their general attitude toward mankind can be summed up in a 4-letter word best left out of posts.
The number of people you interview should depend on how tight your characteristics were when you defined the kind of salesperson you wanted. The looser the characteristics the more people you will interview; the tighter the characteristics the fewer people you will interview. End of story!
When you define your characteristics there are several elements that you should look at. They are:
Will the candidate fit into the culture you have created for the sales group?
Are you looking for a young pup that you can mold or a grizzled veteran of the wars?
Do you want someone with industry experience?
Are you diversifying your sales group?
Has the salesperson brought with him or her a proven track record?
Do you need a hunter or a farmer?
- Will your new rep need experience selling products with a long sales cycle?
- Is you company relatively new or established?
- If there is travel involved are they prepared for that?
- Will this person relate well with people in other departments in the company?
- Do they fit your incentive program?
Again, a message to the wise. Create very specific characteristics for the type of person you want to hire. A short anecdote from my consulting past. A company I consulted with needed a new salesperson. The individual needed these characteristics:
- Highly analytical
- Highly organized
- No fear of prospecting
- A passion to make $150K plus in annual income
The owner and I found this gentleman and he has succeeded beyond our expectations. He’s never going to be the life of any party but man can he sell!
My rule of thumb is that I don’t want to interview more than 5 candidates. I will conduct phone interviews with more than 5 but I do not want to interview in person more than 5. People, resumes, and conversations tend to blur after that.
The Final Thought: “Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.” Oscar Wilde