How can you tell whether a candidate for a sales role really has what it takes to sell or is just good at selling themselves to you during the interview?

Interviewing sales candidates is a tough gig. Time and effort is well spent preparing a detailed definition of the role and developing appropriate interview questions targeted at that definition. These are both crucial elements in determining a candidate’s fit, not only for the sales function, but also for an organisation’s strategic intent.

In the interview setting, a sales candidate will most likely tell you what they think you want to hear. After all, they’re sales people. But while some candidates present well at interview and have an innate ability to answer questions with competence and enthusiasm, they still may not be the right candidate for the role. A friendly and engaging personality is not sufficient to create the drive and determination needed to chase down a prospect, lock in a meeting, and follow through to YES.

The recruitment for a sales position is critical, and the candidate you select will carry out one of, if not the most important tasks in your entire organisation. On the bottom line, they need to make sales, not friends. The personable, outgoing and enthusiastic candidate may appeal to your sense of congeniality, but there also needs to be that distinctive ‘fire in the belly’, the desire to push the boundaries, the kind of resolve that leads to consistently strong lead generation, follow through and high conversion rates.

For this reason, the interview process alone is not sufficient to gain this kind of insight into a sales candidate’s suitability. It cannot identify qualities such as determination to succeed, assertiveness in communication, or resilience when facing rejection.

However, personality profiling can achieve this. ‘Feeling good’ about a candidate and ‘going with your gut’ may be a mistake, but without the aid of this valuable tool you may never see the bigger picture. Personality profiling can highlight qualities not immediately obvious during the ordinary interview process and could mean the difference between a mediocre candidate and a high-performer. Which one does your organisation need?