A potential sales rep candidate has made it through the resume round and has (hopefully) passed your pre-screening questions – he or she is able to climb ladders and has reliable transportation – and you’re ready to sit down or zoom down for a face-to-face interview.
How Should You Conduct the Interview?
Your leadership style should be in sync with your interview style. Whatever your interview style (casual coffee and chat or more structured, suit and tie interview), it should be reflective of your management style and company culture. Not just how you treat your team and how they treat each other, but your approach with your customers as well. This is especially important in the storm restoration industry where the interviewer will more than likely be the new hire’s direct manager. Aside from botching a first impression, showing up as a completely different person from the person they met with during the interview is a huge red flag to your new hire. They may be out the door more quickly in this scenario.
What Should You Get from the Interview?
A good interview should not only tell you if this candidate would be a good fit for your roofing company, but also how to manage him or her. Make sure you’re taking notes to refer back to if hired and be present with the candidate. You may get an immediate reaction if they’re the right fit based on presence alone. Unless there are some obvious deal breakers to your customer-facing position, have an open mind and encourage as much feedback from the candidate.
What Questions Should You Ask?
What do you need to be successful in a role you take on?
This is super important in determining if your roofing company is set up to guide this individual to success. If the sales rep candidate talks about needing a structured learning environment and your sales training involves simple job shadowing and on-the-fly teaching, your teaching style and their learning style might not mesh.
What motivates you more, praise or money?
Because the question is comparative, there is not a wrong answer. Not all salespeople are motivated more by money and not all salespeople respond more to praise. To have a successful sales force, you need a balance of both. Knowing what truly makes a person tick will help you structure your feedback to keep your sales rep motivated. A word of caution; if the candidate states they are only motivated by money that’s a red flag.
Describe your ideal day.
This is your chance to really learn about this candidate. What is it that makes them unique? What do they like to do with their time? Who do they spend it with and where? Being genuinely interested in another person and their life outside of work will help foster a connection with your candidate.
What fears do you have about being a roofing sales rep?
This question will show you if the candidate knows his or her limitations and understands the challenges of the job. It may be a huge red flag if the candidate says he/she has no fears.
How do you handle rejection?
In roofing sales, rejection is inevitable. Regardless of your candidate’s sales experience, the one thing they do need is an optimistic attitude to carry them through the no’s. Understanding that each no gets you closer to a “yes” is a stellar attitude you want on your team.
What was your typical day like at your previous job?
This is a tricky question and sometimes leads to that feeling that you opened a can of worms. Stop complaints before they get too far. Redirect any complaints to positive aspects that you can evaluate if they are achievable in your roofing company. If the complaints are things that happen at your company, it may not be a fit.
How would a previous customer describe you?
The answer will give you a good idea of the candidate’s customer service mindset. There is a myriad of great responses. If dependable or helpful is in the response, it’s a good sign.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Really evaluate if this is something you and your company could help your sales rep candidate achieve or grow towards. If your candidate’s response includes something your company cannot provide, it may be a sign they would leave sooner than expected.
Bonus: What questions do you have for me?
This one seems obvious, but we hate to leave it off the list. Getting questions from your candidate about the company, position, you as a manager, is critical to any position you’re hiring for. At the end of the interview if the candidate is a good fit and interested, they most likely will have questions! If not, the interview either went too long or there’s no interest there.
Remember, you’re also selling yourself and your roofing company during the interview. Being upfront with any questions and making yourself an equal contributor to the conversation will go a long way in the candidate’s evaluation of you and the company’s fit for them.