Why Interviews Alone Don’t Work

Passion April 4, 2017

Why Interviews Alone Don’t Work

Elle Bruno
Elle Bruno is a consultant for Victory Lap, a sales education startup located in Chicago. Elle has spent the last 12 years of her career building, developing, and managing sales team for fast-growing, early-stage startups. Most notable is her experience at Trunk Club leading their Chicago team. Elle has found the hardest team to manage is the one at home: her young kids George, Zoa, and Louise.

Achievement oriented, competitive, intellectually curious, high EQ, aggressive, the list of traits in great salespeople goes on and on. As I immerse myself in LinkedIn articles and Sales 101 books, the overwhelming amount of information causes a sudden urge to throw caution to the wind and just go with my gut when making sales hiring decisions.

WorkingIs there a formula? Is there a predictive tool we can purchase? The answer is not quite yes and not quite no. There have been advances in predictive analytics tools on personalities and ability to succeed in sales, but ultimately, a great salesperson will never be hired based on pure analytics. The human interaction equation is essential as a key indicator in making a hire, and one of the reasons it’s never easy.

Victory Lap stands out from any form of traditional recruiters. As a consultant for the business for the last six months, I’ve felt incredibly confident that what we do is different and better. We interact with our candidates eight hours a day, five days a week, for two weeks, with no guards up.

And here’s why that immersive human interaction is valuable when hiring:

  1. Determining EQ: Part of a high EQ is being able to send clear communication and create influence with peers and managers. This can be determined not only in what you say, but how you say it.  “I had a slow day today, our systems were not working properly.” Versus, “ I had a slow day today, our systems were not working properly.” Most interviewees  can mask negative tones in the interview process because they are well prepared. However, once put on the spot in a potentially defensible situation, you learn the true EQ of a candidate.
  2. Job InterviewAchievement Orientation: The most common answer I hear when asking people why they want to be in sales is that they are “competitive.” That could mean many things. She/he could be a sore loser (what you don’t want), or she/he could be intrinsically motivated to achieve success in order to be the best version of her/himself (what you do want). At Victory Lap, we put each candidate to the test by having them hit the phones and make 500+ cold calls to SMB’s over the course of a week. We can observe the reactions to losses and wins in real time. It is in this week that we can truly determine if the competitive drive is negative or positive.
  3. Intellectual Curiosity: I believe intellectual curiosity not only makes you a great salesperson, but it makes you a great person in general. What’s worse than going to a party or networking event, asking someone 10 questions about her/himself, and receiving no questions in return? It’s a sign of self-involvement and a lack of interest in bettering oneself. During interviews, you will (ideally) find the candidates prepped with several questions, however most are unreactive to the conversation that just took place. In the 12+ specific training classes the Victory Lap candidates take, we learn how curious they actually are, and how willing they are to put themselves out there due to their real time reactions to the trainings.

Ultimately, there are tools that organizations can use to gain better insights into the aforementioned traits during interviewing, but it’s still a work in progress. We will make bad hires no matter how well we think we have it figured out. We will make surprising great hires no matter how well we don’t think we have it figured out. Victory Lap was created to make hiring great salespeople easier, and our 20+ placed candidates and satisfied employers will tell you we’ve done just that: we’ve found a way to make it easier.