8 years ago
April 18, 2016

5 Tips for Sales Job Phone Interviews

Here are five tips to conducting those phone interviews, so you can rest assured you are hiring the right employee for your sales job.

Rhys Metler

When you own a business, you know how vital it is to have a strong sales team. But finding that right person when you are looking to fill a sales job can be time consuming and daunting. Whether you are trying to replace an employee who has moved on or are trying to build your sales department with another sales representative, you know that you need to find the right fit for your company.

Of course, to find this perfect employee, you need to conduct interviews. Sometimes, this becomes a chore. You have to schedule time away from other business responsibilities and you have to wait for candidates to show up-and sometimes they don’t-which wastes some of your valuable time. To speed up the process and make it more convenient for you and your schedule, you can conduct phone interviews for the sales job available at your company.

Here are five tips to conducting those phone interviews, so you can rest assured you are hiring the right employee for your sales job.

1.     Be prepared.

Phone interviews often seem more informal than face-to-face meetings. This doesn’t mean that you should call up potential candidates for your sales job without being prepared. Have your questions ready ahead of time so you don’t fumble unprofessionally and face a lot of awkward dead air. Also importantly, know exactly what answers you are looking for from these questions so you will be able to judge quickly whether the candidate is a good match or not.

2.     Start by asking initial screening questions.

You know what you need your new employee to accomplish in the sales job, so start by asking about these vital qualifications first. Not every skill or skill level is evident on a resume, so when you start with these screen-out questions, you will be able to weed out unqualified candidates quickly, so you can end the phone interviews if needed and save yourself some time.

3.     Ask open-ended questions.

You want to keep the candidate talking as much as possible. Most people have preplanned answers to typical interview questions, and you want to be able to dig beneath these to learn more valuable information. When you use open-ended questions, you will be better able to choose the right person for your sales job.

4.     Take verbatim notes.

Sure, you might have a great memory, but if you are setting up a lot of phone interviews and you don’t have a face to connect to the answers, you might get the candidates and their answers mixed up. Because you are both talking, you might not be able to completely dissect each answer while on the phone. When you take verbatim notes during your phone interviews, you will be sure to remember exactly what each candidate said so you can analyze their answers further once you hang up.

5.     Score the candidates.

There may be significant time lapses between all the phone interviews you conduct, as well as additional time before you end up actually hiring that new employee for your sales job. Create a score chart for all the skills, characteristics, and qualifications that you are looking for in a new sales person and mark each candidate as you interview. Then, give them a total score based on these categories. This score chart will help you compare and contrast each candidate and allow you to be at ease once it’s time to make your final decision.

Start setting up those phone interviews.

Hiring the right person is vital for the success of your company. Now that you know how to proceed with your phone interviews using these five tips, you will be better prepared once the time comes to pick up the phone and start interviewing. You will be able to ensure that you are getting the best new employee for your sales job, so your business can thrive.  

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.