The 30-minute Zoom Screening Interview For Sales Candidates

Written by: Jay Rasmussen

The first interview in our process is a 30 minute Zoom Interview.

At this point, we have already determined that this candidate’s resume makes them a fit on paper for our open sales position. Culture fit will be determined during the in-person interview.

Nobody makes it to the in-person interview unless we successfully screen for these three things:

  1. Presentation and Professionalism
  2. Coachability
  3. Follow up / Follow through
  • Presentation and Professionalism
    • Good
      • On Time
      • Technology Working
      • Appropriate Background
      • Professional dress and appearance (collar, well groomed)
      • Prepared with pen, paper, resume
      • Can demonstrate looked at job description and website
    • Bad
      • Late
      • Clearly first try with technology
      • Inappropriate background (virtual, mess, someone with them)
      • Unprofessional/unimpressive appearance (hat, casual dress, poor hygiene)
      • Unprepared. No pen, paper or resume
      • Cannot describe job description or website

If they do not pass the 5 minute sniff test of presentation and professionalism, we give them one more chance to understand what we are looking for and explain themselves. This is sales after all.

Interviewer: “I want to ask you about your preparation for this interview. This sales position meets with prospects, so we are measuring your presentation. (Insert specific example) scores you in the bad column instead of the good column for this category. What are your thoughts on this?”

  • Answer 1 – I am not an experienced interviewer and did not think about it.
    • If we feel we can coach this person, this answer is acceptable.
  • Answer 2 – I knew better. I chose to not do the right thing.
    • We cannot hire this person. They will not follow their training, even when they “know better.”
  • Coachability

Interviewer Question 1: “How coachable are you?”

  • Good Answer
    • “I want to learn everything I can about selling this so I can be the best!”
  • Bad Answer
    • “What do you mean?”

Interviewer Question 2: “Tell me about the last book or audiobook you read and what you learned”

  • Good Answer
    • “I read any book name. I learned anything at all.”
  • Bad Answer
    • “What do you mean?”

Our ongoing training program is:

  • Weekly
    • 1:1 with direct supervisor
    • Team accountability Zoom
  • Monthly
    • 1.5 hour in-office training / team-building
    • 1 Day Cross-Training with someone else
  • Quarterly
    • 2 Day Off-site overnight
    • Book Review
    • Training Deep Dive

Interviewer Question 3: “Does this make you more interested or less interested?”

  • Good Answer
    • I’ll take whatever training I can get
  • Bad Answer
    • I prefer something different or
    • We’ll see how it goes..
  • Follow up / Follow through

We explain to candidates that we are giving them the answers to the test. If they complete these items as instructed, they will move forward in the process. If not, that’s that. This weeds out 80+% of remaining candidates.

  1. Sign up for Darren Daily (or daily personal development email of your choice).
  2. Begin reading audible book X (either your company culture book or How to Win Friends and Influence People).
  3. Email us that these items have been moved forward, and when you are available for an in-person interview.

Candidates who complete this gauntlet should definitely be awarded an in-person final interview.

About the author:

Jay Rasmussen, MBA

I am a “Dirty Laundry Expert” and currently the Vice President of Sales for Balfurd Linen and Uniform Service.

I am a writer and speaker focused on the fundamentals of business execution.

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