I do a lot of interviewing of sales candidates for my clients.....in an effort to help them make better hires, and to better understand how to propel the candidates they do hire to success more quickly.
Recently I interviewed a candidate that presented well, had a solid behavioral assessment that pointed toward the ability to succeed in the sales role they were being interviewed for, and was experienced in the role.
There were some challenges in the interview, but nothing that a good sales manager could not coach a rep up on.
The one overriding issue that I couldn't get past was.....there didn't seem to be a lot of "want" in this candidate. That is, they didn't seem to really want the job. Now, by the time someone gets to me in the interview process they have already interviewed at least once (frequently more) in person....so one would assume they actually want to continue to hopefully get the job.
In this case, I discussed the lack of want with the hiring manager, who agreed that it was something he had also seen in his interview.
When I was young, my Dad was an accomplished amateur artist. He worked in oil paint, charcoals, watercolors.....he just had a natural aptitude for it. One day, he just put away the tools and never created anything again....because he lost "the want" for it. Regardless of someone's level of talent, they have to want to use that talent in order to truly succeed.
Here's a suggestion.....add this to your interview arsenal. The "Want Scale".
Rate every candidate from 1(least) to 10(most) on how much they appear to want the job.
1 = How did I get here? Can I go now?
10 = OMG, I want this job so bad.....I'm desperate for it!
Ok, now obviously.....either end of that scale would be troublesome. We want interested, enthusiastic candidates.....not desperate ones.
If you can realistically rate a candidate in the 7-9 range, that would be considered a passing score. You may find some candidates whose interest grows during the interview process as they learn more, and become more excited about joining your company...which is also fine. I wouldn't attempt to take a 6 and "sell" them on the job.....nor would I try to take a 10 who will do or say anything to get me to hire them, and talk them backwards.
Using professional interviewing skills to understand the candidate and their background, and behavioral assessments to understand their behavior are great first and second steps. The one thing that neither of these tools can measure is intent...that is, will the candidate actually get up each day and do the job you've hired them for? The Want Scale should give you some insight into intent and help you make better hiring decisions.
If we can help you hire better and more productive sales candidates, please call the office at 877-798-2530 for a no obligation consultation on your hiring needs.
Good luck, and good selling!