3 years ago
January 6, 2015

Who Should Be Involved In The Sales Interview Process and When

By investing in the sales interview process, your organization can save itself recruiting and hiring costs in the long term.

Rhys Metler

A quality sales interview process results in higher quality of hire. By investing in the sales interview process, your organization can save itself recruiting and hiring costs in the long term. Yet setting up a workable sales interview process can be a daunting task, and many question who should be involved in that process and at what point their contribution should be made. This inspection of a traditional sales interview process can help.

How to Determine Who to Involve in the Sales Interview Process: Internal Management and Executives

Sales management and executives will usually have the right to make the final decision on who to hire, with two or more individuals at this level sharing the greatest responsibility for making that decision. However, the feedback of other managers and executives is valuable, and should include at a minimum:

  • Human resources manager
  • Sales manager
  • Supervising manager/supervisor
  • Vice President of Sales

If you are working with a sales recruiter, he or she will likely be collaborating with all decision makers in order to select the most qualified candidate. Throughout, those involved in the sales interview process should be working together beginning with the screening and selection process through to the final round of candidates. Though each manager might not be present at every meeting, it is important that the decision makers keep one another updated until a final hiring decision is reached.

How to Determine Who to Involve in the Sales Interview Process: Peer Feedback

The decision on peer group interviews is influenced more by the company’s culture than any other parameter. However, following any peer group interview it is common to find that the individuals involved have differing opinions of a candidate. Establish how much weight the feedback of peers will have early on in the process to avoid future problems.

Other organizations solicit the feedback of a more select group of peers. If you decide to involve the sales team members who will eventually be the peers of the successful candidate, try to include those who have the best understanding of what your organization needs in a candidate. These individuals will likely come from the top tier of your sales team, though not always. Be sure to inform these individuals exactly what you are asking them to do, be it asking questions during the interview, sharing company information, or sitting in to provide feedback after the interview closes.

How to Determine When Each Contributor Should Be Involved in the Sales Interview Process

Though you may ultimately have several contributors in your interview team, it is not necessary that each contributor be involved at every step in the process. Imagine if you were entering the sales interview process as a beginning to intermediate level candidate and there were six or more people present at the interview table! That scenario is more common at the executive level, but does not need to happen for most routine sales positions. In a traditional sales interview process, responsibilities for contributing to the hiring decision are assigned according to areas of strength as well as overall accountability for the quality of the hire:

  • Sales recruiter: Telephone interview, first interview
  • Human resources manager: Telephone interview, first interview
  • Sales manager: First interview, second interview
  • Peer group: Second interview
  • Select peers: Second and/or third interview
  • Supervising manager/supervisor: All interviews
  • Vice President of Sales: Final interview

Note that the supervising manager or supervisor will be working most closely with and will be most responsible for the performance of the chosen candidate, so it is important that he or she has all possible information about the hire.

There are no hard and fast rules for who should be involved in the sales interview process and when, but by understanding what has worked for other organizations, your business can implement a quality sales interview process. If your organization is working with a sales recruiter, he or she can provide further help in tailoring your sales interview process for results.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.