In every book on sales management, especially those that are focused on recruiting and interviewing salespeople there are always tools, sample questions, salesperson assessments and descriptions on various techniques used during the process.

In my book: Your Sales Management Guru’s Guide to Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams I have included a variety of sample questions, interviewing  idea’s and even a 3 week New Hire On-Boarding sample, but one of the tools that seems to be one of the most highly used to improve selection is the Candidate Interview Scorecard. How can you build one?  Take action on the next 2 steps and you will improve the quality of your selection process dramatically.

Fundamentally the two elements that I believe need to be absolutely part of the interview process are:

1)      A clear definition of what your ideal candidate looks like.  Simply put, it is critical you define specifically and at a minimum the 5 work experiences/knowledge that you require and the 5 psychological or emotional characteristics the job demands.

Examples might include:

  • 4 years of sales experience in your industry
  • Worked a regional sales territory vs a local geographic one
  • Has knowledge of a  specific vertical market
  • New territory development/Hunter experience
  • Can work independently-home office
  • Competitive
  • Creative

Knowing these elements will help you write your advertisement, job descriptions, determine your interview process, evaluate and scan resumes and begin to narrow down your candidates.  The next step is to move to Step 2, taking the emotion out of your hiring process.

2)  I mentioned taking the emotion out your of your hiring process for a reason, this is critical, I hear often as managers compare various candidates “I really liked this one. I feel good about her.  He seems to be what we are looking for…”  These kinds of comments generally come from the gut and lead to poor selection.

Why we recommend creating a Candidate Interview Scorecard to assist the interview team to accurately assess each candidate. This tool is used during the interview and right after the interview is completed.  The Scorecard contains a list of 10-15 words from the list above #1, with each word listed and ranking of 1-5.  See the sample below.  During the interview the scorecard is upside down and the interviewer simply takes any notes on that document, when the interview is complete, the scorecard is turned around and the candidate is immediately scored simply by selecting the number associated by each word.

All the candidates’ scorecards are then shared with their individual rankings totaled.  You will then easily see how each candidate was ranked by each interviewer and you can rank/stack each candidate.  I like to recommend there are at list 3 people on your interview team.

I have included a sample below.

Name of Applicant: ________________________   Date: _________________

Interviewer: ______________________________

Low                                        High


1          2          3          4          5          Success-Orientated/High Achiever Driven


1          2          3          4          5          Self Confident/Assertive/Presence


1          2          3          4          5          Consultative Style/Relationship Style


1          2          3          4          5          Willingness to Learn/Coachable


1          2          3          4          5          Enthusiastic/Team Player


1          2          3          4          5          Sales Training Exposure


1          2          3          4          5          Cultural Fit  


Take the time to define your Candidate Interview Scorecard and dramatically improve your sales candidate selection. HINT: Many of my clients have taken this approach and implemented it in all employee selection process.

What other tools do you use to improve your interviewing and hiring process?

About the author

Ken Thoreson

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the…

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