Your budget is set for the New Year. Your business is growing and you have the money to grow out your sales team. You are posting job descriptions on your website, on the job boards, and maybe even utilizing third part recruiting firms. You are coming across some really great resumes and some really not so great resumes. Truthfully, you don’t know who is a great candidate is and who isn’t from paper, so you decide to interview a few candidates on the phone and some in-person.
The interview process can reveal a lot about a person that a resume cannot. Even though your intention is not to look for the worst in people, you are looking for the right person for your company. This is your chance to vet out the serious players from the not so serious candidates.
Here are 7 red flags you should consider during process.
1. The Candidate is Late
This isn’t the ultimate decision factor in considering a candidate, but this is your first impression of the person. Yes, there can be traffic or car troubles or they can be lost…these things happen, but the candidate should plan far ahead enough to arrive 10 minutes early to the interview. They should also be respectful of your time. If they do not call the office to inform you of their tardiness, that is a BIGGER red flag. Remember, you’re looking for someone to join your team who is reliable. You also want someone who is respectful of your customers’ time when it comes to meetings or demonstrations.
2. They Didn’t Do Any Research on Your Company
The biggest question, and usually the first question, a hiring manager will ask a candidate is “what do you know about our company?” You will know very quickly if the candidate took the time to thoroughly read through your website, utilize any blogs, research some of the people who work there on LinkedIn, or simply look up your company on the Internet for the latest news. Look for concrete answers and maybe an example of a company you do business with. Broad answers probably mean the candidate has no idea what you do. Of course they won’t know everything about your company, that’s why they are to interview and learn more. However, if they can’t show you that they didn’t any research, it may be an indicator that they are not serious about the opportunity.
3. They Don’t Have Questions to Ask You
Any good hiring manager will do try their best to explain their understanding of the company and who they are looking for in a candidate. When the hiring manager opens the floor up for questions, the worst response a candidate can give is, “I do not have any questions, you pretty much covered it all.” Just as a hiring manager will ask questions to learn more about a person, the candidate should also have questions to help determine if the company and job is fit for them. Look for candidates who ask informative questions. “What is the day-to-day like? What is the culture like? Who is your #1 sales rep? What are they doing every day to be #1? What got you to accept the offer at this company? Is there potential for growth within your company?”
4. Presentation and Speaking Skills
Maybe the first step in your hiring process is a phone call. This is especially important if you are filling an inside sales role, where you need a strong and polished communicator who can present over the phone. A candidate does well during this first step and now you invite them in. Candidates should always be in professional business attire and clean cut. First impressions are everything. Are they making eye contact? Firm handshake? Are they slouching in their chair? Are they swaying back and forth? Are they clicking their pen? Are they stumbling over their words? Nerves are typical in interviews but you want to see their confidence shine through. Salespeople are customer-focused. You want someone who can speak with and meet with customers in a professional manner.
5. They Lack ENERGY
Many companies like to have candidates meet different members of their team. After all, you want to make sure this candidate is a good cultural fit. Some face-to-face interviews can be up to 3 hours long. Candidates can be asked the same questions over-and-over again. 3 hours is a long time to be sitting in one room, so be aware of their energy level. Candidates should be able to maintain the same high energy throughout the entire interview. Ask the first person who interviews the candidate what they thought then ask the last. Both should give the thumbs up.
6. They Can’t Provide Real Examples or Numbers
Sales is a numbers and activity driven career, and sales professionals should know their numbers. It’s one thing to say “I had great success as a Business Development Rep, Inside Sales Representative, or an Account Executive” but, where’s the proof? Any salesperson should have some sort of a proven track record of success. Make sure they can give examples of quota, revenue generated, number of dials a day, number of accounts brought on/managed, etc. Also look for any discrepancies in their story. If they can’t back up their story or seem to be lying this should be a red flag.
7. They Don't Close You
It is the most important part of any deal and it is the most important part of an interview. Candidates should be closing everyone they talk to. They should ask, “Are there any concerns today that keep me moving forward in the process?” If there is a concern, they should be able to isolate it and overcome it. They should also be grabbing everyone’s business card so they can send thank you emails when they leave. A determined candidate will make sure to wrap up and follow-up with the person making the final decision. They should make it abundantly clear they are the right person for the job. The ability to close is will show you that the candidate is not only serious about the job opportunity but that they are a strong salesperson who will be able to close new business at your company.
Keep in mind that none of the red flags listed above may be a strong enough reason to disqualify a candidate all together on its own. However, subtleties do matter and you want to take notice and recognize what could have a larger effect, if they were to join your team. You want to look for tangibles, as well as the intangibles in the interview process.
What are some other red flags you look for in the interview process? Leave your comments below.