How To Evaluate A Sales Persons Soft Skills During An Interview

Hiring the right salespeople can make or break a company. While technical skills and experience are essential, a salesperson’s soft skills can be the determining factor in their success. Soft skills are the interpersonal skills that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Salespeople with strong soft skills can build rapport with customers, earn their trust, and close deals effectively.

Evaluating a salesperson’s soft skills can be challenging during an interview, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help you evaluate a salesperson’s soft skills during an interview:

Ask open-ended questions.
Start the interview with open-ended questions that require the candidate to explain their experiences and give examples of their soft skills. Questions like “Tell me about a time you had to resolve a conflict with a customer” or “Can you describe a time when you had to persuade a customer to buy your product?” can help you gauge their communication, problem-solving, and persuasion skills.

Observe body language.
Pay attention to the candidate’s body language during the interview. Are they making eye contact? Are they sitting up straight and engaged in the conversation? These can be indicators of their confidence and assertiveness.

Listen to their tone and language.
A candidate’s tone and language can also give you clues about their soft skills. Are they speaking clearly and confidently? Are they using persuasive language? Are they adapting their language to match the customer’s style and tone?

Evaluate their listening skills.
Salespeople need to be good listeners to understand their customers’ needs and build rapport. During the interview, ask the candidate to explain their understanding of your company’s products and services. Observe how well they listen to your questions and how they respond to your feedback.

Role-play scenarios.
Role-playing scenarios can be an effective way to evaluate a candidate’s soft skills. Create a scenario that simulates a sales call or a customer interaction and ask the candidate to play the role of the salesperson. This can help you assess their communication, problem-solving, and persuasion skills.

Check references.
Finally, don’t forget to check references. Ask the candidate’s previous employers or clients about their soft skills, such as their ability to build rapport, their communication skills, and their problem-solving skills.

In conclusion, evaluating a salesperson’s soft skills during an interview requires a combination of techniques. Asking open-ended questions, observing body language, listening to tone and language, evaluating listening skills, role-playing scenarios, and checking references can help you assess a candidate’s soft skills and make an informed hiring decision. Remember that hiring salespeople with strong soft skills can be a game-changer for your business.
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Author: Bryan Payne is Chief Talent Scout and Founding Partner at Just Sales Jobs, a recruitment agency specializing in finding top sales talent in Toronto and surrounding areas. He has over 25 years of experience in sales recruiting and leading successful sales teams. You can contact him at 

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