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I recently received a question from a reader wondering if there are specific interview questions I recommend when a sales manager is interviewing candidates for sales positions.

Beyond a set of questions is simply an approach to take during the interview.  Allow the candidate to control the conversation so that you can get a feel for their communication skills.  Ask open and general questions to see how the candidate volunteers information.   One item I’m looking for is not only the type of questions the candidate asks me as the interviewer, but also the number of questions they ask.  This reveals the level of pre-work they’ve done prior to the interview.

In addition, as the interviewer, do not describe the specific scope and responsibilities of the job.  By taking this approach, you prevent a candidate who is a skilled conversationalist from simply saying what you want to hear (essentially playing back to you the information that you would have given them in describing the position in detail).  You want to assess the candidate as they “stand on their own two feet” and elaborate on their skills and experience from their own perspective.  You can then see if the person would be a good fit for the scope and responsibilities of the job you are trying to fill.