• Jamie Crosbie


Let’s get real for a moment.

This is kind of hard to say, but it is something you really need to know, so let’s just rip the band aid off quick and get this over with: you may not be as good at spotting a winner during an interview as you think. There. We said it.

You see, many sales managers pride themselves on being able to pick out the best candidates based on their interviewing skills. Sadly, studies have consistently shown that when it comes to picking the best, there is a very low correlation (less than 25%) between a good interview and actual job performance.


And even if you are an exceptionally good interviewer, even the best interviewers can’t make an informed decision if the information received about the candidate was incomplete, irrelevant, or simply didn’t representative of their capabilities and ambitions. Much of which can be traced back to poorly worded job descriptions or less than ideal mandatory interview questions.

The hard truth is that no matter how impressed you were, the candidate you felt was a sure-fire go getter, may fall flat once the paperwork is done. So much so that you might have been better off with a completely blind selection process. In large part this is because as much as we would like to believe that we can’t be fooled, we all have inclinations and ideas that make us susceptible to hiring people based on our own personal preferences and internal biases.


For example, you may be very impressed with a candidate that attended your alma mater, or one that has a background or interests like yours. While that may make for interesting conversations, it does not mean that they will be top performers in the field. A candidate can also be extremely polished and present themselves flawlessly yet have no real intention of staying with your team long enough to make an impact. Others, who may be nervous or otherwise having a bad day, may actually have highly useable skill sets that never come to light because they did not click the way a less qualified candidate did.

Focus on Performance

It is not that interviews are not important; we think they are, but they are only a piece of a larger puzzle. After all, an impressive interview can tell you if the candidate is poised, quick on their feet, and a lot about their overall personality. Interviews however, never really give you the entire story, which is why you should consider them as only a part of your hiring strategy. Interviews aside, the best indicators of job performance may lie within other areas, such as those that focus more on skillsets, rather than pedigrees.

A Lesson from The Voice

NBC’s popular television show The Voice, illustrates this point well. On the show, celebrity judges must face away from contestants during the initial selection process. This allows the judges to listen intently to the way a given contestant sounds, instead of being distracted by their overall appearance, or other factors. In the same way, when you are evaluating which candidate will become part of your team, you need to focus on the underlying talent, just as much as how well you like them during an interview.

One of the best ways to do this is to require relevant pre-employment skills testing. These should include personality and behavioral tests, as well as sales skills tests. The right testing combined with proper vetting and targeted interviews can go a long way towards placing the right candidate in the right sales role.

By using a thoughtful multi-step process, you can better weed out poor performers, before you hire them, saving you headaches down the road. It also allows you to fill your team with sales representatives that have what it takes to meet sales goals month after month. For more about separating the wheat from the chaff and building strong teams, please follow our blog.

A poor hire can cost you in lost opportunities and revenues. When you absolutely must hire the best of the best, call us at 214-720-9922 or email jcrosbie@proactivate.net. At ProActivate, we know how to link top talent with forward thinking companies. We have worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as small startup business to help improve their top line.

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and marketing talent to growing organizations. 

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Dallas, Texas 75201