5 Minute Video Blog

View Video


Please share this video with friends.

Video Script

Hello, I am Steve Suggs, sales recruiting expert and author of the book, Can They Sell. Welcome to my sales recruitment video blog. 5 minutes of learning to hire the best salespeople.

In the movie, A Few Good Men, I love the scene where Tom Cruise screams at Jack Nicholson, “I want the truth!”, at which Jack Nicholson screams back, “You can’t handle the truth!” There are many times during the sales interview that I feel just like Tom Cruise where I want to scream at the candidate,  “I want the truth!”

Struggling to get to the truth about a candidate’s background and experience is simply the reality of our job as sales managers.

Here are some tips and techniques to help you get to the truth when hiring sales people.

1. When screening on the phone:

During the telephone screen, I’ll choose a job on the candidate’s resume and ask this question.

  • When you worked at ABC company, what were you hired to do?
  • Describe the results you achieved at this job.

I ask these two questions and compare the candidate’s answer to the description on his resume. If he gives me different information during the telephone interview then what he has described on the resume, this is the first red flag of dishonesty. You will be shocked as to how many times the resume and answers to these questions simply do not line up.

2. Using a sales profile to discover the potential for embellishment:

I use the Craft Personality Questionnaire, the CPQ, to measure the candidate’s personality.

The CPQ measures the hardwired personality trait of good impression. This is a measure of the candidates desire to work hard to leave a favorable impression when interacting with people.

We’ve discovered that the best salespeople have high scores on the good impression trait: however, where these high scores come in handy when handling rejection, we’ve also discovered that those with scores in the 95 to 100 range have a high propensity for embellishment and lying. I would predict that the Army Colonel played by Jack Nicholson had a score of 100 on the good impression scale.

3. Interview questions to get to the truth:

I use these sales interview questions to measure the character trait of honesty:

  • Who has had the most influence on you in shaping your character?
  • What are some of the most important life lessons they taught you?
  • What did they teach you about honesty? How has their teaching about honesty benefited you?
  • Tell me about a time in your life when you may not have lived up to their expectations?

When asking these questions, I am looking for a very strong story about how a parent or mentor has influenced the character of the candidate. The strength of their story will help us measure honesty. Also, I’ve found that

honest candidates are willing to tell a story where they were dishonest, suffered the consequences, and can describe the life lesson they learned from telling a lie.

I was actually role-playing this series of questions during a training event and the gentleman who was role playing with me actually teared up when he described a life lesson that he had learned about being honest. I’ve also found that dishonest people have a very difficult time coming up with a story about a time when they were dishonest.

Some additional interview questions include:

  • What will you do if our products or services are not what a prospect needs or wants?

I’m looking for the candidate to say, “ I would tell the prospect that I can’t help them or I would direct them to another source who could.” It’s always a huge red flag when the candidate says, “I would work to find a way to sell them anyway.” Another question is,

  • Which of these traits is the most important one for the type of sales we do? Persistence, Self-discipline, honesty, or hard work ethic.

The right answer of course is, “honesty”. But it’s surprising how many candidates give a different answer.

There you have it. A tip to screen for honesty during the telephone interview, how to use the Craft Personality Questionnaire to screen for honesty, and several other interview questions that should help you determine the level of honesty in your candidate.

Thank you for joining me. See you next time on the Can They Sell video blog for more sales job recruitment training. As always, please leave your comments below and forward this video to anyone who will benefit. Now go enjoy recruiting the best, and have fun in the sales interview.

Learn more about the following:

 Where to find sales people, where to find sale reps

• What to look for while recruiting salespeople – 5 Dimensions of the Best Salesperson Profile Hiring sales, hire salespeople, hire sales people, hiring sales people, hiring sales reps, IT sales recruitment, recruiting sales people, sales job recruitment
• How to look for the 5 Dimensions – get questionnaires – interview questions for sales, interview questions for salespeople, sales interview, interview questions for sales people


To YOUR Success,

Steve Suggs




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment