You will probably have a vague idea of what traits you expect new employees to have. However, a list of desired qualities will give you a starting point for writing a job advertisement or beginning the interview process.
When interviewing salespeople take note of these character traits:
• Drive – Competitive people make the best salespeople, so this is an important trait. Competitiveness should be clear in an interview, as the interview process itself is a competitive one. When interviewing as participants to discuss their proudest moment. Proud moments will show whether a person is competitive, as their priority moments will be in surpassing others’ achievements. For example, a competitive person may claim that their greatest achievement is being awarded for the highest number of sales, winning an award or achieving the best grade in a particular module in university. A non-competitive person, however, will state their greatest achievement as something like passing university with a good grade. Sales employees should have a drive to beat others; not just a general drive to do well.
• Urgency – In the sales recruitment process you should look for urgency. Interviewees with a sense of urgency will talk a lot and will carry this into their sales job. They will be organised with a clear idea of what they are going to say, as urgency goes hand-in-hand with being prepared and organised. Interviewees will not excessively repeat any points, and will appear dynamic and energetic in conversation.
• Self-motivation – A successful sales recruitment interviewee should show initiative; perhaps by researching thoroughly about your business, product or service. Self-motivated people will be organised and prepared. This will translate in an interview as being punctual, with a copy of their CV and relevant certificates or even a portfolio. Motivation is important in sales. Although you will work to motivate employees to sell well, they must have the self-motivation to want to sell well in the first place. Ask your interviewee for an example of when they have exceeded expectations or done more than what was asked of them.
• Sociability – It is easy to assess how sociable someone is during an interview. Conversation should flow easily, even when the interviewee is put on the spot. A sociable person will be chatty and should ask relevant questions. Your interviewee should appear to enjoy talking to you, despite an interview being an unnatural situation.
• Assertiveness – Perhaps the interviewee will try to take control of the conversation. Although perhaps frustrating, assertiveness is a positive trait and important in sales recruitment. You will want to employ someone who is confident with their answers to questions and sure of them self. Assertiveness is key to persuasiveness – one of the most important traits. A role play customer/salesperson conversation will show their persuasiveness credentials, but a good interviewee will show a persuasiveness throughout the sales recruitment process in that they will try to persuade you to hire them. Their level of persuasiveness, along with these other traits, will help you to make a decision.