When hiring salespeople, the most important thing to listen for as an interviewer is consistency. As we discuss in Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again, the best predictor of future behavior is previous behavior. Thus, the sales candidate should be able to provide several examples of times when they demonstrated Drive, as well as the other traits on your checklist.
For example, you might ask a candidate, “Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty and exceeded your manager’s expectations.” The candidate may respond with an impressive story about taking on a major project, solving a long-standing problem, or out-selling their peers that quarter. However, the litmus test comes when you probe his response carefully, and then ask, “Now, tell me about another time.”
The driven candidate will have more than one example of a time when she exceeded her manager’s expectations. If the candidate has a hard time recalling another winning performance, that’s a red flag. Similarly, if a candidate starts out the interview telling you he is highly motivated to sell, then later remarks that he refuses to work weekends, or must leave every day by 5 PM, that’s another red flag.
Bottom line: Ask for several examples for your most important questions, and listen for a consistent pattern of demonstrated Drive in the candidate’s work history.