A sales candidate's resume will tell you about the sales experience of an applicant and other work related information that might impact performance in the sales position you have open. If the candidate's smart, the resume will also highlight past successes in glowing terms. However, just because it is written in the resume, doesn't mean what is written there is true or that the candidate can repeat the successes that are listed or attain the performance levels again for you. What is vital for you to learn in selecting a candidate for an open sales position, is how well a candidate will perform in a job like the one you are trying to fill. Often a employment interview will never even touch on the candidate's competence for the new position.
Questions are rarely asked of how the candidate might perform in the new job, if the applicant is selected for the position. If the candidates are applying for a opening with new responsibilities or a new product or service line, different from what they have sold in the past, what's to say they have the untested skills to do this job for you. As discussed in earlier myths, most interviews seem to focus on the functional skills that you can measure. Does the candidate have the needed degrees, licenses and training? Do they have experience or will they need to be trained?
Most interviews focus on what an applicant has done in other jobs similar to the position you have open. There's this illogical conclusion that if they succeeded in the past, they will succeed again. And if a candidate is good at describing past successes, they will do the same for your organization. Past performance is no guarantee of future success. What is really important is how you evaluate an individual's competencies, defined as the skills, knowledge and personality needed to do the job that you are trying to fill. To learn more about the do's and the don'ts of hiring sales professionals, check out my new manual 101 Sales Management Myths at: http://www.TheSellingEdge.com/myths4.htm
VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. an Ohio consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training, personal coaching, advisory services and publishing. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Service Linen Supply, Bank One, Jefferson Wells International, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of the "best selling" Building & Closing the Sale, Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications a division of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a client acclaimed Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching, telemarketing, and personal productivity manuals. To obtain a substantial discount on two of Virden's latest books, 101 Sales Myths or Organizing For Sales Success, go to: http://www.TheSellingEdge.com/