Do you hear that noise?
It’s the sound of a thousand other companies running next to you, all searching for the best people to add to their sales force.
And if you want to get ahead of the pack, you can’t afford to lag on the curves. To do that, you need to recruit and hire sales team members.
Panel interviews may help in that area, especially if you combine it with proper testing, behavioral analysis, and or accomplishment-based questioning to drill down to the core competencies the position in question requires.
Hiring Panels: Love Them or Hate Them
Panel interviews are a hot button issue for many people, and for good reason. They can be both intimidating and grueling. While candidates tend to hate panel interviews, the fact remains that they can be a highly useful screening and employment tool.
Besides being highly interactive, they can also save time for employers.
The average in-person interview lasts 45 to 90 minutes. Instead of 3 people interviewing someone separately for one hour each, all three could conduct a panel interview, cutting time spent on the process in half (or more)
There are, of course, caveats to consider.
Panel/team interviews can be a recipe for disaster if not carefully controlled and planned.
Interviewers, for instance, may try to talk over one another. Or the candidates may not be given a chance to respond. Interviewers may also be late, delaying the process, or they may not take their roles seriously, neglecting to thoughtfully review the resumes of the candidates in question.
Having said that, by approaching the interviewing process with a diverse panel of experts and stakeholders, there is less likelihood of choosing the wrong person for the job.
The big reason for this is that personal biases based on personality traits and impressions are less likely to hold sway in a group setting.
Flattery Will Not Get You Everywhere (in a Panel Interview)
In a one-on-one interview, the interviewer might be more susceptible to flattery, or be impressed because the candidate has similar personal interests, attended the same schools, or was more likeable to the interviewer.
Having an orderly panel interview can also help stronger interviewers cover for those who are not as good at interviewing candidates. Candidates can be better evaluated to determine if they are a good fit for the position, based on their skillsets, mindset, motivations, and job-related competencies.
Panel Interviewer Do’s and Don’ts
To pull off a productive panel interview, 5 ground rules need to be firmly in place.
1. All panel members need to fully understand their role and take it seriously
If even one or two panel members hijack the process, it becomes a waste of time and effort for all concerned.
2. Every interviewer must be aware and informed about the job candidates are interviewing for
In other words, everyone needs to be on the same page, with a grasp on the real-world job duties and performance objectives.
3. Someone needs to take the point position
With one individual leading the panel and everyone else taking supporting fact-finding roles in an orderly manner that allows everyone to weigh in and ask relevant questions.
4. Interviewers should take notes
These should be compared, immediately following each candidate’s interview If possible.
5. Put a scorecard in place
Scorecards make it easy for interviewers to compare one candidate to another, and assess the core skillsets in relation to the position in question.
If done properly, a panel approach to sales hiring may be the ideal way to assess the right candidate for your company. For more talent acquisition tips that will help you hire the best sales professionals, please follow our blog.
Don’t Have Time for 90-Minute Panel Interviews?
Have our talent managers screen candidates for you. We specialize in filling sales and revenue-generating positions. Whether you’re looking for your next sales executive or an entry-level rep, we can help.