Hire Salespeople

Why You Should Use a Grading Rubric When Interviewing Salespeople

Whether you’re a startup founder building your own sales team or a seasoned VP of sales, interviewing sales representatives can be a chore because predicting candidate success is very challenging.

Growth companies tend to have performance data afflicted by major pricing, product and strategy shifts. These changes limit the effectiveness of using historical performance data to identify the perfect sales candidate. Despite best efforts, sales hiring decisions tend to be made based on intuition rather than candidates’ answers to brain teasers.

You can avoid common pitfalls in your interviewing process by adopting an evaluation framework and consistently applying it for each candidate. You’ll make sharper hiring decisions if you try to understand the risks for each candidate instead of trying to predict who will be definitively successful.

So before you interview your next salesperson, create a grading rubric. If you do, it’ll help you avoid common sales interviewing blunders:

1. You’ll stop making transmission errors. A rubric will align your recruiters with your hiring managers on the evaluation criteria.

2. You won’t fall in love with personality. A rubric can prevent you from jumping to conclusions by replacing emotional judgment with bite-sized factors—helping you make objective, micro-evaluations about each candidate.

3. You won’t commit to only one type of salesperson. Great salespeople come in different forms. A rubric will help you compare different profiles and resolve differences in strengths and weaknesses.

4. You’ll eliminate redundancy and focus your conversations. A good rubric will allow multiple interviewers to focus on different areas of exploration, giving you a better overall read on the candidate.

5. You’ll learn more easily from hiring mistakes. If you end up making an unsuccessful hire, the rubric can help you understand which factors you’ll need to reassess in the interview design.

Curious what a sales interview rubric should look like? We’ve created a simple template that will give you an idea of the framework. It doesn’t need to be a complex spreadsheet—it should be clear and easy for interviewers to fill out immediately after meeting the candidate.

Each template should be customized to align with the key success factors in the particular sales role you are hiring for. In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the most important success factors to explore in sales interviews and sample questions to use to get the most truthful responses.

Originally published on Square 1 Bank’s blog, Insights, and written by CloserIQ Founder/CEO Jordan Wan.

Jordan Wan

Founder & CEO of CloserIQ. Previously Sales Strategy & Management @ZocDoc, Head of Analytics @PayPerks and Trading Strategist @Bridgewater Associates. MIT Bachelor’s & Master’s in Computer Science. CFA Charterholder.