• Mike Poledna

Are You Making These Two Big Mistakes After You Interview Sales Candidates?

Updated: Jan 13

By now, you know that interviewing a sales candidate shouldn’t be a gut-driven, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants endeavor.

You need a deliberate process with a structure: a beginning, a middle and an end. Your preparation for each candidate you interview is the beginning, and your time with the candidate is the middle, of course.

But don’t waste the hard work you put into the first two parts by botching the last step. The end of the interview process is just as crucial, but some executives make two fundamental errors that ruin the experience both for themselves and the candidates involved.

Mistake #1: Not Getting Your Thoughts on Paper

The time just after your interview is crucial. This is the first opportunity you get to perform a thorough evaluation of the candidate. Although we’d all like to think our memories will suffice, most of us know that to truly absorb the information you’ve just learned, you should write that information down soon after hearing it.

Immediately after the interview, take the time to evaluate the candidate and document pertinent information. It often helps to have a standard document you use for each applicant to ensure fairness and consistency. But don’t fill it out in front of the candidate — it’s respectful to wait to complete this form until right after they leave. It would likely make him or her uncomfortable to watch you fill it out as they interview.

Mistake #2: Saying, “I’ll call you within the week.”

How many times have you heard this from a potential employer? Remember that number. (Or can you even count them?)

Now, think of how many times that employer actually called you back. For most of us, the number drops significantly. But waiting to hear back can be almost as stressful as the interview itself. If you say you’re going to call, you have to call — no matter what the decision is. Period.

- Not doing so is simply bad manners.

In the quest for the next best thing, it can be easy to overlook the needs of the candidates you’ve chosen to pass on. But when we tell a candidate we’ll be calling, we have made a verbal commitment to that candidate. When we break it, we indicate either that we never had the intention to call or that the candidate was not important enough for us to exert the effort.

You’re not going to hire everyone who walks through the door. But you have to make an effort to treat every candidate with the same respect you’d give a customer.

- Leaving them hanging creates a bad impression.

When you interview a candidate, you represent both your company values and your organization’s culture. By making promises you don’t keep, the candidate is left with a poor impression of your company and culture that they can easily communicate to their friends and relatives — or anyone else online.

Recognize that 82% of job seekers consider employer brand and reputation before applying for a job. You play a big role in managing that reputation with your interview process.

- They might be waiting for an answer before looking for another job.

No one likes to communicate bad news. But when that bad news is tied to a candidate’s income, it has to come from somewhere. Of course, it isn’t enjoyable for them to hear they didn’t make the cut. But every candidate will appreciate you going through the effort to inform them so they can shift their efforts to finding a job they will fit.

- They might be a perfect fit for a future position.

Every candidate has his or her own talents, and although they might not fit the position they’re applying for now, they might be a perfect candidate for a future opening. If you leave them with a bad taste in their mouth for your organization, you guarantee that they won’t respond to your company’s future postings.

Finish the Sales Interview Process Strong

Whether a sales candidate is a good fit for your company or not, they deserve to be treated with courtesy after the interview. Make sure you show respect for their time by fairly evaluating them and documenting it, as well as by communicating the results of your search once you’ve made your decision. It’s never a bad idea to do the right thing.

Next up: 3 Keys to Choosing a Candidate for Your Open Sales Role

Get the tools you need to document your next round of sales interviews — grab a copy of our ebook, 3 Essential Resources for Interviewing Sales Candidates. You’ll get an outline for the perfect interview, a list of questions to ask (and ones to avoid), and a candidate evaluation form to make sure you and your team are all on the same page.

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