Don’t Ask This Interview Question

I haven’t heard of this one but it is intriguing: To boost the chances of preventing that hiring misstep, there’s one easy tactic everyone should take in an interview: Stop asking candidates to evaluate their own abilities. Here’s why. Underskilled candidates consistently overrate their abilities, and more skilled candidates consistently underrate their abilities. There’s even a name for this: the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological research finding that the poorest performers are the least aware of their own incompetence. So I’m immediately left questioning why?  Are highly-skilled salespeople awash in humility?  I don’t think so and neither does the author. Top performers set higher standards for their own performance, so they… Read More

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They Always Reference The Top Salesperson

I’ve encountered a common question in recent interviews which pertains to the current level of performance from the existing sales team.  This economy is wreaking havoc on many salespeople in terms of their commissions.  Sales candidates are aware of this situation and are diligently asking the question regarding where the current team is performing.  I find it to be a most appropriate question. The problem often lies within the hiring manager’s response.  It is simply difficult to hide a grossly underperforming sales team.  If the economy is cratering their success, the problem is even more difficult to contain in an answer.  This usually leads to a pseudo-answer that deflects the… Read More

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Gotcha Questions

Do you know what I mean by “gotcha questions?”  These are the questions designed to trap, trick or zap a candidate.  These types of questions are often used by interviewers who believe they need to “win” the interview.  I know it sounds odd and uncommon (I certainly hope it is), but I have sat through interviews where the gotcha questions have been asked. Interview questions are a tricky sort.  Almost everyone enjoys reading interview questions in hope of discovering an effective one.  However, we incorporate assessments into our process which provides an x-ray of the candidate’s abilities, motivations, aptitudes, style, etc.  The power in this approach is that it identifies… Read More

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Keep It Clear

I have sat through some interviews which have been enlightening in terms of the struggles of hiring managers who do not hire often.  One of the blatant deficiencies I observed was this – a lack of good questions.  Is there anything more important than questions in interviewing an external candidate?  Even an internal candidate. Here is one instance of what I observed – a rather inexperienced manager asked esoteric questions that left me scratching my head.  The candidate did a good job attempting to answer the question without embarrassing the hiring manager.  One question took almost 2 minutes for the hiring manager to ask!  The question included an analogy, an… Read More

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The Value Of Cliche Questions

Don’t flame me on the title, there is a method to this madness.  I like cliché questions for sales interviews.  There, I admitted it.  Now, I should clarify, I’m not talking about an entire interview of these questions, but rather some strategic ones sprinkled into your question list. Here is why – if the question is cliché, the candidate should have a sparkling answer.  Their answer may be well-rehearsed – that is fine.  You, as the interviewer, simply need to drill down on their response to get to the unvarnished truth. However, the catch to this approach is when they don’t have a strong answer.  I am always concerned about… Read More

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Liars For Candidates

Remember the old joke, you can tell when they are lying because their lips are moving?  Selling Power provides this article which opens with this statement: Did you know that 50 percent of candidates lie on their resumes? (This includes people who omit things, stretch the truth, and those who outright lie.) That seems optimistic to me.  This lying problem is rampant in hiring as we have seen first-hand.  I think candidates believe they can state things that are difficult to verify with the legal restrictions in this country.  How can you verify that they turned around a territory?  How do you know they were the lead person on a… Read More

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Quality Of Questions

I had a sales candidate ask an excellent, subtle question yesterday – “What other positions is this company currently hiring?”  Again, the subtlety of this question provides a view into a company’s needs, growth and possible turnover.  It is an excellent question to ask in any interview. The second part of this equation is for the hiring manager to appreciate the question.  What I mean is this – listen carefully to the questions being asked by the candidate.  We often watch hiring managers trip over themselves to answer a good question without appreciating the question itself.  Some times the hiring manager cannot even recall the questions asked in the interview. … Read More

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The Wrong Stuff

Are you aware of all of the interview questions being asked behind close doors at your company?  There are many hiring managers who are unaware of what constitutes a good interview questions. Most managers know enough to avoid questions regarding marital status, religion and ethnicity, but how about the oddball questions? Don’t ask, don’t tell from MarketWatch discusses some of the odd questions that occur during an interview. “Why aren’t you married yet?” “Would you join a church to get a job?” Those are just two examples of questions job seekers said hiring managers asked them in a job interview, according to a new survey of more than 3,000 job… Read More

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