I attended one of my first Business Networking events today organised by Biscotti. It was great to meet other small business owners. One of the attendees told me a story of how they had hired a Sales Person which turned out to be a disaster. They asked for my advice on how to avoid this.
I guess for Small Businesses without HR departments and the resources to undertake extensive assessment centers and personality profiling this is a common question.
My advice from recruiting many Sales People was that I had to think carefully about the skills and competencies needed to be successfully and make sure these were documented. Then to build competency based questions that gave the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate these with real life examples. e.g "Given me an example of where you were able to get through a gatekeeper to speak to the decision maker, how did you do it and why was it successful."
The second part of this is important to see if they understand why what they did worked and therefore if they are likely to replicate it in the future. Don't be afraid to dive deeper with multiple questions to clarify and test the initial answers.
Once the Sales Person has been selected and in their first few months it's important to come back to what was discussed in the interview and the competencies to see how they are performing and make sure they stay on track.
I would welcome thoughts from others out there who have similar experiences, especially with smaller businesses.