If you are a CEO or a sales manager and you’re in the process of interviewing top sales talent, you probably have been trained on standard behavioral interviewing techniques which are used to make sure that you are getting to the heart of a candidates past behaviors as to predicting future performance. The other critical component that’s probably even more important is to make sure that in your behavioral interviewing process, you’re integrating performance based interviewing questions that really get to the heart of whether or not a candidate has the track record of consistent achievement that is an accurate predictor of their ability to achieve their sales goals once they come to work for you.
Performance based interviewing means that you need to integrate a number of specific measurements of metrics into the actual questions that you ask to a sales interviewee. Those include providing a summary of sales achievements by year against their actual quota, and then moving upstream from there to look at their activities in terms of daily and weekly customer visits, call counts proposals delivers, face to face customer visits, percentage time spent at the sea level versus at the front line decision maker level, etc. A good sales candidate should be able to rattle off these types of measures from previous positions.
Performance based interviewing also means that you’re going beyond just asking a person how they faced and won in a difficult sales challenge. What it translates to is asking the candidate how they’ve consistently beat their sales goals. Those are the kind of people that you’re looking to hire anyway, and by asking performance based questions, you’ll have a much better chance of weeding through a pile of resumes and a pile of potential candidates to get to those true top performers. After all, the true top sales producers, those who are in the top five percent of their class, can outsell the next ten to twenty percent of sales people by a factor of two fold. So why wouldn’t you invest in hiring only the best?