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Bart Wilson

Bart Wilson Director of Operations, Media

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How to Interview a Potential New Hire

 

Asking the proper questions is essential to identifying the right candidate for your dealership.  Often, we ask templated questions that are easy to game.  In this clip, we discuss an important tip to make sure you can interview for the competencies you need.

Ian Coburn

Great tip! Also suggest asking behavioral questions, to better identify behaviors and experience. Again, as you point out, don't lead.

"Tell me about a time you didn't hit your numbers." Does the candidate do that or also add how they overcame the challenge to hit numbers, or how they worked to make sure they didn't experience that challenge again? NOT "Tell me about a time you didn't hit your numbers; what did you do?" You're leading them with that question to the answer you want to hear.

"When have you had to deal with an irate customer?" Again, what solutions, if any, did the candidate implement?

And so forth.

Bart Wilson

Ian,

Great insight.  These questions seem to be geared toward someone that has sales experience.  Are you an advocate for hiring ONLY individuals that have sold in the past (regardless of Best Buy, dealership, etc)?

Ian Coburn

Bart,

Thanks and not at all. Hiring depends on factors like the position, your current team (you want to complement it, not necessarily keep adding what's working well--consider what isn't working well, too. What traits do you need to remedy that?), salary, etc.

When it comes to sales, I advocate considering anyone who SHOWS you versus anyone who TELLS you. For instance, let's say you put an ad online you are looking for sales people. You get fifty resumes emailed to you the first day the ad is run, of various experience, with some being top industry sales reps. The next day. someone without any sales experience walks into your dealership, professionally dressed, and drops off their resume in person during their lunch hour. That person has SHOWN you value; I strongly encourage you interview them!

One of the best hires I ever made was in the for-profit education industry. I was director of admissions (sales) and someone with a master's degree in education who had absolutely no education or sales experience, applied. She opened her cover letter with a question, "Will you take the time to review the resume of someone who is hungry but has never worked in education or sales or simply disregard her?" That grabbed me, kept me reading, and her last sentence, "Let's go get those students!" made me review her resume. She had customer-facing experience (waitress, fast food counter, etc). I interviewed her, where she was honest about her goals--she wanted to be a dean and needed to get her foot in the door. When I told her she could be making upward of 100 calls a day, she said, "Great! Where's the phone?" She was the 2nd highest performing sales person I've ever hired in any industry.

She had SHOWN me desire, creativity, conviction, honesty, drive, fearlessness, and self-awareness, not to mention interpersonal skills. I knew I had a solid training program that would teach her what she needed to know and do to be successful on the job, so I hired her.

She complemented my small team, at the time, very well--I had a seasoned vet, myself, and now someone I could mold who didn't bring any bad habits or baggage with her, because she had never sold, let alone sold in the industry, previously. Not bringing baggage can be a huge advantage, if you have a solid training program. If you don't have a solid training program, you are limited in who can hire, nearly making it impossible to hire people like her... people who could be YOUR 2nd highest performing sales rep, ever!

Good question, Bart; thanks for asking.

 

Bart Wilson

Great insight Ian.  Thanks for sharing.

David Druzynski

Great post, Bart! I just had a similar conversation yesterday when I was training a new manager on how to interview. The key is to effective interviewing is to get people off script. There is no problem with asking the usual boilerplate "tell me about a strength / weakness" question and you will likely receive an answer they rehearsed. How you probe and follow up based on that rehearsed answer is how you really learn about a person. Many times I find that people will contradict themselves once they are off script, and it is a perfect way to spot the liars and fakers.  

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