Throw Away Resume. Judge LEARNING ATTITUDE of Candidate in Sales Interviews.

Finding good sales person is always a challenge, irrespective of industry. I always suggest sales managers in my company to recruit persons, who have learning attitude, rather than his past experiences and achievements. Once you recruit such reps, they can be molded as per our requirements. Five years back, one manager asked me about how he can judge one’s learning attitude by looking at their CV or interviewing him for half an hour.  I realized then, that I was totally clueless. I had no idea of execution part of my own suggestion. I am quite sure; this problem is faced by almost every sales manager.

As far as CV is concerned, can it be taken seriously? Resume can be prepared by taking professional assistance. A seasoned sales professional, undergone several interview processes in different organization, can easily fool you by highlighting “Good to Read” points, that catches your attention. Achievements shown in bullet points can hardly be cross checked. There are possibilities, that you reject a potential sales champ only by looking at grammatical errors in resume. Remember, you don’t recruit sale rep to write novel.

What to do then? In last five years, I tried to work out some ways. I discussed this matter with several sales managers from different industries and got one practical idea, which I would like to share with you. I applied their suggestion with fair success. This is actually very simple, but needs little practice and sharp observation. PROVIDE THEM FEEDBACK FOR SOMETHING AND OBSERVE HOW THEY TAKE IT. For example, you may ask the candidate to give an elevator pitch of any products, they have sold before. After listening to their part, give them feedback. Try to provide feedback in such a manner, that can change the entire direction of pitch and can provoke a thought. Now simply observe their response. Are they defensive for their ways? Or they take your point as something new to ponder about and learn? There are many other things, you can select as your test subject to generate feedback about e.g. any of their accomplishment, how they handle any tough customer? or to say how they handled some customer’s objection.  In actual flow of interview conversation, you can get many such feedback points. Their response will indicate you, how fast they can adapt to learn skills and knowledge.

Hope you will find this article useful. Please share your views and ideas in comment box.

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