This article from Yahoo’s Hot Jobs contains 5 hiring myths designed to help candidates perform better in an interview. Myth #1 is excellent for the hiring manager:
Myth #1: Be prepared with a list of questions to ask at the close of the interview.
There is some truth in this common piece of advice: You should always be prepared, and that usually includes developing questions related to the job. The myth here is that you must wait until it is “your turn” to speak.
By waiting until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, “it becomes an interrogation instead of a conversation,” says Greene.
Greene recommends that you think of an interview as a sales call. You are the product and you are selling yourself to the employer. “You can’t be passive in a sales call or you aren’t going to sell your product.”
How true! We always treat an interview (either phone or in-person) as a sales call. As a hiring manager for a sales position, the interview is a natural sales situation. The interview is the perfect opportunity to play the role of the prospect to watch how the sales candidate qualifies and closes you.
This approach, using the interview to see the sales candidate in action, is the foundation for repeatable, successful sales hiring. Salespeople are naturally good at…selling! Granted, some are not, but they eventually get broomed. The problem is that many hiring managers are not adept at being the disinterested prospect in an interview.
Many hiring managers (including many sales managers) are inexperienced interviewers. Their preparation may consist of nothing more than pulling out a resume 5 min. before the interview and then asking the candidate to walk them through their resume. This approach reveals nothing more than the candidate’s pre-canned talk about their mostly unverifiable past. We’re they really the top salesperson? Did they truly turn around an under-performing territory? Did they close 50 new accounts?
No, the better approach is to treat the interview as a sales call and put some pressure on the candidate – see how they handle it. Interrupt them (graciously, of course) and change topics quickly. Can they move with the discussion? Question some of their statistics and look for visible signs of emotions. These unexpected moves knock them off of their script and if you have been in sales you know it is impossible to script a sales call. Ideally, the candidate can handle your “objections” and respond with good qualifying questions. Now you can actually see the candidate in action which will reveal more about their abilities than any resume.