I say "FIRE THEM ALL", What do you say?

Jonathan Dawson

Do you agree or disagree with such a practice and do you use it?


When it comes to recruiting salespeople for your dealership, one of the principles I follow is to FIRE them BEFORE I HIRE them. This simple and effective process has served me very well over the years that I have been consulting, and performing recruiting services for dealerships.


During every interview there comes a point where the candidate says something I can disagree with them on, and or find fault with. I look for that opportunity and then leverage that as part of the interview to share with them why I have a concern about moving forward. This is not done in a condescending way or a rude or combative manner. It is simply stated in a "matter of fact" way, with the "out" that I may have misunderstood them. I beleive it's important to reject them and give them an out at the same time to see how they react. 


Here's an example of just such an interview process. Thoughts?

You are about to hear a recording of an interview with a sales candidate for a client of mine. The candidate knew he was being recorded, and the manager asked me to sit in on the interview and to offer feedback.

00:00 - The recoding begins a minute after introducing myself to the candidate and stepping into the manager's office. The candidate immediately begins talking and sharing a story about his recent experience employment at another dealership.
3:30 - The sales manager, who is the son of the owner, and his brother join the conversation. The sales manager begins to share what makes the dealership a special place to work and their unique on-boarding process.
5:40 - I get involved and begin asking questions!
8:20 - Test #1: "Draw me a house" - I test the candidate's natural and intuitive sales approach: CONSULTATIVE vs. MOTIVATIONAL sales approach.
10:28 - The candidate gets an "eye-opening" revelation about his possible areas of weakness!
14:15 - Why "being a people person" is NOT enough for me!
15:50 - Test #2: "Sell me this bottle of water" - I test the candidate's ability to receive coaching and to apply new training.
17:55 - My turn to take the test!
19:43 - AHA MOMENT #2 for the candidate.
21:07 - Test #3: "Here's why I don't like you for the job" - I reject the client!
23:52 - The candidate fails the most important test.
25:45 - RECAP interview with the sales manager and discuss WHY I did the tests the way I did.


Steve Genetti

I dislike this "Wolf Of Wall Street" approach ("Sell me this pen!") but I do agree with the genesis of the argument, which is: "How can I identify and train good salespeople and reduce the unreal turnover in this business by flagging recruits during the interview process?" 

My take is that the interview process needs to be very rigorous, this "throwing twenty bodies at the wall to get one good salesperson to stick" approach is inherently flawed.

Many dealers employ recruiters that promise crazy shit and their "training" leaves much to be desired. I believe in a "guarantee" or salary system that pays salespeople a minimum amount (always negotiable over time!) once you tag them as a good employee/salesperson during the interview and subsequent first few weeks and go from there. Negative draw has chased away too many potentially good salespeople because it takes some folks longer than others to get their footing. Of course it goes without saying that if you identify a guy or gal being content with their $600/week salary or whatever that you just launch them and move on.

Jonathan Dawson

Steve, you are identifying real issues in our industry with the on-boarding process, once a candidate is hired. I'm not employing a random, "Sell me this pen" approach in my interview example.

But is does befg the question... Finding and idnetifying a "good salesperson" aside from looking at a resume or performing a classic, "tell me about yourself" interview requires placing the candidate in a "predictive" environment where they can demonstrate their ability to uncover needs, overcome objections, and close the deal... they need to be able to demonstrate and not just describe, "How they would handle a sale".

What predictive test would you offer to discover a person's temperment and tendencies?


Thanks for the feedback.




Stephen Williams

Man that is strong, loved the approach and the technique. I would've loved to have seen a video, just to see the expressions on the guy's face. I will definitely use this the next time I interview someone to better see what I'm working with!


Jonathan Dawson

Thanks Stephen, let me know what the other managers at your dealership think about this approach as well. I'm always looking for feedback!

James Walker

We all know that people are pretty nervous under an interview process. Your process really takes advantage of that to determine how a prospective employee will handle daily pressure, and even if you decided to hire that guy, it gives you a pretty clear picture of how to train them. 

It was pretty eye opening, and I may use some of these techniques in the future. 

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