We see hundreds of sales candidates working as a sales recruiter and always seek out the opinions and feedback of our sales managers who do the hiring. Here is a list of the common feedback that we get from hiring managers. This includes Sales Manager, Sales Vice Presidents and Human Resources.
1. The candidate did not try to close me.
This is a sales interview so the hiring manager would like to see what he/she is getting before they hire. This is not the time to be humble; there will be time for that later. Of course, the delivery is important. You must know how to read your interviewer, understanding timing and then deliver; similar to a comedian.
2. There was no fit.
As they are interviewing, they are trying to imagine if they would buy from you and if their clients would buy from you. Are you a warm person that their clients would like? Likability is hard to describe but you know it when you see it. People buy from people so in sales it is more important than a role where the employee does not interact with outside customers.
3. The candidate was “all about me”
I know this sounds like it contradicts with #1 but it’s that fine line between selling your virtues and selling what you bring to the table and how you can help that prospective employer. As a candidate, you must show interest in the company, job and the person interviewing you. This is often referred to as emotional intelligence and more and more companies are looking for this in sales candidates.
4. Candidate spoke about money way too early in the process
I have said it many times that money should be brought up by the interviewer first not the interviewee but I still get feedback from clients that the candidate jumped into inappropriate conversations about money too early. This looks like you’re in it just for the money.
5. The candidate did not look or sound the part
This is one of those delicate subjects. We’ve had everything from wearing jeans to salt stains on the bottom of the pants. They look at everything. Are you corporate enough, are you messy, and are you sharp in dress and word? I have heard it said “dress for the part you want, not the one you have”. One more comment on appearances; I have never had a client tell me that a client was overdressed.
6. The candidate could not articulate the sales process
This is a big one because most people believe that past success is a predictor of future success. Clients were looking for sales candidates who could articulate why they were successful and how they qualify prospects and move them along the sales pipeline.
7. Candidate did not do their homework
You know that the question will come, so why are so many candidates ill-prepared for “what do you know about us”. This question is important for several reasons; it shows the interest level of the candidate and shows how much preparation they will take before going to a client. There’s no excuse for not doing the very basic homework and consulting their website. I have had candidates go to suppliers and customers of their prospective employer and report back what they found in the interview. Can I just say that the hiring managers were blown away by that kind of preparation?
8. Body language was off
We’ve heard from clients that some sales candidates did not look them in the eye, took over their desk, slouched in their chair and other things that were inappropriate or made them uncomfortable.
Most of these mistakes are easy to correct if you know what the client is looking at and looking for. Govern yourself accordingly and Happy Selling.