Our company does Business-to-Business (B2B) sales recruiting.
We don’t believe in trick questions, mind puzzles or clever gamesmanship when interviewing sales people.
We follow the Adler Group Performance-based Hiring process and ask various forms of Lou Adler’s two central interview questions: the Most Significant Accomplishment question and the Problem Solving question.
Important Questions for Interviews
These are not easy interview questions but they are straightforward.
We typically give the questions to candidates BEFORE an interview.
(Yes, it’s an open-book exam and candidates get extra credit for being prepared.)
Our Most Significant Accomplishment question: Tell me about your single most significant sale.
Our Problem Solving question (#1): How would you approach the raw prospecting challenge to begin building your clientele?
Our Problem Solving question (#2): One of the hardest parts of this sale is getting a prospect to fire their current broker so they can hire you – is there a parallel in your career where you’ve overcome an incumbent with a big advantage like that?
These are not our only interview questions but they are important ones.
These work well to gather a lot of evidence to support whether a person’s sales experience, sales skills, motivations, thinking, and problem solving abilities are up to the task of succeeding as a commercial insurance broker.
The best candidates are well prepared and answer our straightforward questions thoughtfully and seriously.
(Sadly, we talk to many candidates who come across as quite the opposite — ill-prepared, unthoughtful, and unserious.)
Things You Can Learn From Candidate Interview Questions
After a few thousand interviews, we’ve learned that a candidate’s answers help us learn 3 important things:
1) About the candidate. Have they done their homework and are they thoughtful about their career, skills, strengths, and motivations? Is their “Most Significant Sale” an impressive accomplishment? Does their problem solving answer(s) reveal critical thinking skills?
2) About the candidate’s knowledge of the career. Does the candidate understand what they would be doing as a producer? Do they grasp the scope of the producer career challenges?
3) About the fit between the candidate and the client. Is the producer career and the particular client a strong fit for the candidate’s career, skills, strengths, and motivations?
Our questions don’t demand “right” answers.
They help to better understand someone as a salesperson and to assess their fit for the career and the client.