Are Hiring Managers Asking The Wrong Questions?

Today’s job market is a candidate-driven market. There is a plethora of talent out there but many are already employed and the rest have the leisure of being more selective in the companies they apply. There are countless articles on how candidates can prepare for the interview; however, there are two sides to the hiring equation. As hiring managers, we must do our homework too, in order to identify and recruit the best talent to our teams. Odds are, you “are prepared to fill your open position”, but are you prepared to win over the best sales talent on the market today? Probably not, so let’s fix that.

Raising the Bar Raising the Bar

  One of the first steps we take at A Sales Guy Recruiting is to have our clients analyze the top guns of their organization, identify the core skills they encompass and target those critical success factors in the hiring process. Critical success factors are what we use to measure synergy between a client and a candidate.  We identify what critical components are needed to be successful in a certain position, unique to each company, and make sure that a candidate fulfils that need.  For example, if we are sourcing for a Sales Development Role, you need to have good prospecting capabilities.  We identify situations and skill sets within each candidate that proves they can prospect, and, therefore, can do the job successfully. Make sure that all of the hiring decision-makers participate in determining these mandatory requirements.

Trust Your Scorecard

Now, formulate a scorecard, measuring each of your critical success factors for the position, and grade your candidates accordingly. All too often, we can be distracted by the soft skills, the nice-to-haves, and lose focus on what is most important to the company and the position. Creating a scorecard forces the hiring decision makers to envision their ideal candidate, determining & weighting the critical success factors, and eliminate bias in the process.

Ask The Right Questions


The most important thing is, DON’T WING IT! Know what you’re looking for and craft questions that cut to the heart of your critical success factors. Have at least 2-3 questions prepared to draw out whether the candidate can meet each factor. For example, you need a Sales Development Rep who is successful at cold calling. Rather than asking “Are you comfortable making cold calls?”, opt for understanding HOW. “How do you outbound prospect? How do you engage prospects?” Often, WHAT people have done is showcased throughout their resume. It’s your job to uncover the HOW and the WHY in the interview so ask pointed questions geared to your critical success factors.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.23.49 PM

Last week, @keenan and I had Kyle Porter and Derek Grant  join us on The WORD to dig into How to Recruit A+ Sales Reps Faster Than Your Competitors. The result? 50 minutes jam-packed with interview tips like these and proven processes for hiring managers and candidates alike! Check it out to learn new ways to step up your interview game, from either side of the hiring equation.


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.