3 years ago
January 5, 2015

3 Guidelines for Interviewing Inside Sales Reps

These three guidelines for interviewing inside sales reps will help you find outstanding candidates for your sales team.

Rhys Metler

Investing time in improving your process for interviewing inside sales reps can result in higher productivity and higher revenues from your sales team. However, interviewing inside sales reps takes time, and if you are like most sales hiring managers you are always looking for ways to improve your hiring process. These three guidelines for interviewing inside sales reps will help you make the most of the resources at your disposal for finding outstanding candidates for your sales team.

Save Time by Conducting the First Interview over the Phone

Most in person interviews involve scheduling at least one hour away from your day-to-day tasks. By comparison, the typical phone interview is scheduled for half an hour or less. For interviewing inside sales reps, conducting an initial interview by phone instead of in person has several advantages, including:

  • The reduced time commitment, which allows you to narrow your candidate list in less time
  • The reduced interpersonal commitment, which can allow you to cut the interview short with less inconvenience should it become clear that the candidate is not a good match
  • The ability to hear what the sales rep will sound like to leads and prospects on initial contact

Since virtually all sales positions involve substantial activity over the phone, pre-screening inside sales reps by phone is a common procedure. However, by moving the initial interview to the phone rather than using an abbreviated pre-screening, you can increase your efficiency and capture a better idea of the candidate’s skills and abilities prior to scheduling an in-person interview.

Interview Candidates for Fit, not just Cultural Fit but also the Specific Way Your Organization Sells

You know your business inside and out, and in time, so will the right sales person. However, not all candidates may be able to adopt your best practices and established process for selling. When interviewing inside sales reps, take the opportunity to analyze whether their past activities and experiences have prepared them to sell the way that you expect. Ask questions while interviewing inside sales reps that:

  • Uncover the sales rep’s ability to follow established procedures and documentation processes
  • Establish whether a sales rep has the necessary experience for, or ability to learn, your preferred selling methods
  • Help establish the sales rep’s adaptability to change and new ideas

Interviewing inside sales reps is easier when you know what you are looking for in your candidates, and the ability to sell your product according to expectations is likely at the top of the list of important skills. Be sure to measure this and not just the ability to sell when interviewing inside sales reps.

Use a Process to Compare Candidates and Select the Best of the Best

One of the top reasons that organizations struggle with hiring the best qualified candidates is lack of an established process for interviewing inside sales people. Just like in other business areas, an established process for interviewing inside sales people contributes to predictable results. If you have no process in place, it is a good idea to solicit input from management peers and executives to create and execute processes for interviewing inside sales people in the following areas:

  • Consistent interview questions. By asking the same key interview questions of all candidates, you have a basis on which to compare answers.
  • Dependable candidate screening. After screening candidates with a telephone interview, consider having all candidates complete the same behavioral, personality, and skills tests for a deeper basis for comparison.
  • Post-interview checklists. As soon as possible following an interview, complete an established post-interview checklist with your impressions on how a candidate fits your ideal profile.

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.