Above view of young consultant shaking hands with her client.jpegOne of our goals as sales managers is to assemble the best team possible. However, we’ve all had hits and misses when it comes to hiring the right candidates. There are five common mistakes sales managers make during interviews that cause them to hire the wrong people. Here they are:

1. You Look for Talent Instead of Trainability


In a recent post, I discussed why a trainable employee is better to hire than a talented employee. During an interview, we often get caught up on discovering a candidate’s talent. No matter how talented the individual is, they will need to be trained on how things work at your company. Overlooking candidates that are trainable is a big mistake that will end up costing you in the long run. Remember you can teach skills. However, the person learning those skills must be trainable.


2. Your Requirements and Responsibilities are Unclear


Too often, sales managers have a hard time hiring the right candidate because the job requirements and responsibilities are unclear. Sales managers have the misconception that people with sales experience outside their organization will know their company’s terminology, roles, and processes. You must make sure that your sales candidates understand very clearly what the expectations of this position are, and what you will require of them.


3. You Ask your Candidates Hypothetical Situation Questions


Hypothetical situation questions are used frequently in sales interviews. The problem is sales candidates are expecting these types of questions. They have time to memorize an answer that they think you want to hear instead of answering the question truthfully. A better strategy is to use behavior-based questions. Ask your candidate about challenges he faced in his previous job and how he overcame them.


4. Your Interview Isn’t Enough like a Conversation


Remember that you’re interviewing candidates not interrogating them. The interview should be treated like any other conversation. Give the candidate a chance to ask you questions and learn more about you and your company. Ask the candidates questions that will allow you to learn more about their personality. Spend more time listening rather than talking. At the end of the interview, you should have a grasp on who the candidate is. Not listening to a candidate could be the mistake that causes you to hire the wrong candidate.


All sales managers want to hire the best people for their company. During your next interview make sure you avoid these common mistakes and you’ll hire the right candidate the first time.


Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.