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3 Traits to Inspect in a New Hire Interview for Inside Sales Success


As the end of summer draws near, hiring season looms upon us inside sales professionals. Many recent graduates will be looking for their first job after a relaxing summer, and many seasoned sales reps will be taking stock of their current positions. At AG Salesworks, we’ve seen many potential inside sales reps walk through our door for interviews in the past few weeks. However, our hiring process isn’t for everyone. After all, new sales hires frequently fail, so we want to make sure that we’re hiring the best talent to benefit our clients and our prospects. During the initial interview, we have a keen eye for personality traits that will help the candidate thrive in an inside sales environment. Here are 3 traits we look for in an inside sales interview and 3 questions to ask when assessing if a candidate’s personality is a good fit for your company.

1. Solution-oriented, not petulant.

Accountability is everything in inside sales. If an inside sales rep is not hitting goal for the week, the worst he or she can do is blame everything out of their control. Great inside sales reps hold themselves accountable and take ownership of their shortcomings. Instead of moping in despair, they focus on finding solutions so they can do a better job next time.

Question: What was your reaction in the past when you didn’t hit a goal? If the candidate worked in sales before, you should be able to get a very clear idea of their reaction to failure. If they didn’t work in sales, they may describe another situation. Look for them to not only say they were disappointed, but to enumerate any next steps they took to alleviate the situation.

2. Confident, not arrogant.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I have a no-tolerance policy for arrogance at AG Salesworks. For me, it’s all about being confident. Prospects and clients can read confidence over the phone, and that morale goes a long way in building rapport. If an inside sales rep has confidence in the product or service they’re selling, that confidence can be contagious for potential buyers. Arrogance, however, has the opposite effect.

Question: Tell me about a situation that might demonstrate your confidence to do this job. The candidate may detail past leadership or sales experience. If they brag about their successes, it might not be a good fit. However, if they describe a tough obstacle that they overcame in the past, they could be a good addition to the team.

3. Clear and direct, not meandering.

Good inside sales reps don’t talk in circles or make excuses, and they are direct in their communication. From a manager-to-rep relationship and a rep-to-prospect relationship, this is extremely important.  As a manager, you want someone who makes things easier for your prospects and clients, not more difficult by not getting to the point. From a prospecting standpoint, people don’t have the luxury of time to speak with someone who isn’t clear and won’t get to the point. Instead that candidate will likely lose that prospect right away, obtaining no useful information for our clients.

Question: Can you tell me about yourself? This is a common interview question. For some, it is also a very challenging one. Look for the potential hire to briefly summarize past work experience and focus on the strengths they have that are specific to inside sales.

Next time a polished interviewee comes into your office, I hope you keep in mind these traits and questions that will hopefully gain you a successful new hire.

What traits would you add? What questions do you ask your inside sales reps in the interview?

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About the Author   |   Laney Dowling

Laney Dowling is the Director of Customer Success at AG Salesworks. Laney's responsibilities include managing daily client engagements, inside sales team oversight, reporting, training, and ongoing contact list development and refinement. To read more of Laney's articles, click here.

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