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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.

This is somewhat of a sensitive area, but what I’m about to tell you will save you a tremendous amount of frustration and keep you from making the wrong decision during the sales interview.

During a coaching conversation with a sales manager, he described a candidate with a strong work ethic who was impressive during the interview. He went on to describe how he thought she was a fighter and how she had overcome many difficult situations in her life. As I listened to him, I became concerned that she wasn’t telling the full story.  I began to see a pattern in the stories. She described two relationship challenges and two previous job challenges. I pressed the manager to think about the stories from a different perspective.  I told him,

Rather than thinking of these stories as times when the candidate overcame challenges, think about the stories as a pattern of poor judgment in relationships and choosing jobs.

I told him to notice the low score in skepticism and on the social confidence scale on her personality assessment. I advised him to put these two pieces of information together. From this combination of poor life choices and personality scores, it appears that she is not very good at making decisions.

I recommended that he complete a thorough reference check and conduct the final in-depth interview with this new perspective. I told him to ask himself this question,

Is the candidate a fighter, or is she just good at spinning her stories during the interview?

I checked in with him later and discovered that with his new perspective, he quickly learned that this candidate definitely had a pattern of making poor life choices, and she had a pattern of moving from one life crisis to the next. And she was really good at spinning the truth in way to make her look good. I was thankful that he had dodged that bullet.

In situations like the one we just described, there’s a fine line between the person who is a fighter and the person who consistently makes bad decisions.

The fighter is more mature and capable of not making the same mistake again. The victim lacks good judgment and discernment, and consistently makes poor choices in relationships and seems to always go to work at a company where the boss mistreats the employees and there’s a negative environment. Strong candidates we’ll tell you life stories where they made a bad choice, fought back, learned from the mistake and did not repeat the mistake. Weak candidates will describe a series of bad choices and appear to have a legitimate reason as to why bad things happen to them, but

it eventually becomes clear that they invite challenges into their life because they do not listen to wise counsel.

It’s important to recruit salespeople who don’t have a lot of personal challenges, because it takes a lot of emotional energy to bring your “A” game to work and have positive interactions with people. Too many personal problems make it difficult to consistently perform at a high level.

Use these sales interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Is there anything that might challenge you to perform at your best?
  • What books are you reading to help you improve personally?

The strong candidate is always reading and seeking wisdom about life. These questions, and sometimes, the personality profile, give me all the information I need to tell the difference between the fighter and the victim.

We must control our emotions during the sales interview. Thinking that you can change people’s behavior is a mistake. Instead of you changing them, they will more than likely have a negative impact on your team culture.

Avoid the thinking, “Great salespeople are really hard to find, so I think I’ll give this person a chance.”

A manager told me one time that the best advice she ever heard was,

“Hold out for the best”

Avoid the short-term gratification of filling the spot on your sales team with the person who is available and wants the job, and instead, suffer through the challenge of holding out for the best salesperson for your team. You’ll be glad you did.

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




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