Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Stop Wasting Time Interviewing Misfits! 10 Tips to Interview Only The Best Candidates!

One of the toughest jobs in a company is being the first line sales manager!  It is a challenge to drive sales numbers, manage a team of sales people and back-fill open sales positions (while you are trying to manage the open territory or territories too!).   

If you are a new manager, this balancing act can become even more stressful with a heightened need to delegate and prioritize your time. The goal is to maximize your time in the field coaching your current sale team to success and minimize your time interviewing deadbeat candidates.


4 Most Important Roles of a Sales Manager

  1. To identify and hire top sales candidates
  2. Coach and mentor new hires to produce top sales number
  3. Identify those with leadership potential, cultivate them and provide the resources to grow
  4. Promote those that rise to the top and EXCEED sales quotas and are recognized as leaders by others 

As a Regional Director, I would tell my team of District Sales Managers, "The trick is to find time to do both sides of the equation equally well; interviewing and selecting top sales talent, while still coaching and driving business with the rest of your sales team."

Knowing how to minimize your time interviewing a poor stream of job candidates for your opening(s) becomes the key to efficiently doing both tasks at hand; interviewing and coaching your current team of sales people to new heights.  

Selecting and "managing the right recruiter" can be a vital resource to a sales manager by filtering out less qualified candidates and presenting only the right candidates; the ones that have the possibility of being the next sales superstar.  This interviewing approach helps managers balance the time needed between interviewing and running the rest of their sales team to bring in current new business and sales numbers. 

You need to manage a recruiter as if they worked for you as an employee.  In addition, you must take charge of the interview process and clearly communicate interview time frames and goals that need to be hit for your anticipated hiring date.  If they don't perform within the first 1 to 3 weeks, you will let them go or hire someone else (another firm) to send additional candidates to the one's they already sent to you.  Getting this right will improve the quality of the candidates sent to you and if done correctly, you will have another vital member added to your sales team; a recruiter who is engaged and vested in you and your team.  (see no. 6 below).

Recruiters that have earned a trustworthy reputation with your company can be utilized as a “second set of hands”  to screen out unworthy candidates and reduce or even eliminate your time scheduling, organizing, communicating and needless interacting with job candidates.  Maximizing a recruiter can translate into having more time to be in the field driving sales numbers and coaching your current team of salespeople instead of wasting time with candidates who are not worthy of it!  The opportunity cost of spending enormous sums of time interviewing people that should never be placed before you is huge. Maximizing your internal and external recruiter could help insure that you only see the "best fit" candidates and ultimately find the talent that you can coach to be your next star employee and ultimately further your own career too!


10 Tips to Interview Only The Best Candidates


  1. Have an open position?  Notify your inside and outside recruiter right away within Human Resource guidelines.  The more time they have to recruit for you behind the scene's, the quicker you will get candidates to ultimately fill the opening to minimize downtime.
  2. Set and communicate interview time-frame goals: Your desire to have first round phone interviews, "Face to Face" interviews and each step of the interview process INCLUDING your actual goal date to hire.  You are setting your markers for performance and hold the recruiter to it!
  3. Call ONE outside recruiter that is your favorite and produces at least 5 to 6 quality candidates (you should strive to have at least 6 top people to interview at the start and never stop having new people sent until the position is filled AND background checks completed).  Give the recruiter one to two weeks to recruit on their own and if they don't produce enough quality people then reluctantly you must call another recruiter for additional resumes. Making a recruiter feel like part of your sales team is for a future blog and it is a skill that is vital to get the most out of your recruiter.
  4. Give written direction to the recruiter on the information you want them to extract from each candidate; you can even provide a Word Doc. template with the information you require and the order you desire it (IE; current salary, driving restrictions, measurable sales performance or etc.).
  5. Communicate the details of the opening EXACTLY; expected earnings (base, commission, car or etc.), benefits, EXACT geography and overnights of the sales position and why the territory or position is open (firing, expansion, promotion or etc.). Give realistic current and projected territory performance and commission potential.
  6. Communicate not only the minimum and maximum qualifications of the position, but most importantly who is "the perfect fit."  The information that is NOT included in the HR job description; the persona of the person who would be the best culture fit for you, your team and your company.  Remember, this person will be working for YOU, so what type of people do you like working for you? It is understood they need to produce.
  7. A great recruiter is indeed a match-maker at many different levels!  Help your recruiter understand the nuance of the perfect person so they know how to search for your holy grail candidate, they may not exist, but at least you have given them the high bar to aim for and the bar to judge all others against.  Give them several names of the top sales performers on your team or in your company and encourage them to review their LinkedIn Profile.  Why not show them what your top sales producers look like? You want one of those!
  8. Once you receive a resume from your recruiter give them positive or negative feedback ASAP and hopefully within 24 hours (it will help them continue your search for the right candidate).  The more constructive the feedback the better; it helps the recruiter to refine or even change up the search completely to better meet your needs. You may have even discovered that you want something different after conducting the interviews.
  9. Verbal communication at least once a week on candidates in process or declined that week will keep your recruiter engaged in your search and help them stay on target for the right candidate; set up a call every Friday for just 5 minutes! You will not only be vocalizing where you are in the process, but a summary of the candidate pool and if your recruiter needs to seek more candidates or you think you have your winner and a back up if it is near the final stages of the interview process (but make sure you have at least 2 to 3 you feel you could hire!).
  10. Use your Recruiter as your secretary; let them book the interview times, reconfirm the times, help with finding flights for the candidates, hotel interview locations and supplying your recruiter with non-company sensitive materials that each candidate needs to read or prepare (literature, case studies, role play's and etc.). 


Hiring the right recruiter and directing them in a smart way can truly maximize a Hiring Managers time. Make sure YOU and YOUR RECRUITER are hitting the deadlines you established for each step in the interview process. It is a two way street; DON'T be the one to drag the interview process or slow it down.  It is important to keep the momentum going with your current candidates. If you indicated you would be hiring within 8 weeks, then keep it going!  Don't lose great candidates to other companies or frankly, time for them to be unimpressed with your interview process.  

Great candidates will turn down jobs or reject the next step if they view a hiring manager dragging an interview process down, leaving them hanging or in the dark as to their forward movement in the process.  The way a hiring manager handles the interview process is a reflection of their overall sales management skills.  Good candidates see this as part of their interviewing process as they evaluate a company.  

Remember, good candidates want to work for good managers and they are viewing first hand time management and communication skills of the potential new boss. Make sure you utilize the 10 Tips to Interview NOT Only The Best Candidates, but to be the best sales manager to attract them, hire them and drive your sales team to success!


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Tags: manager interviewing skills, sales management


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Started by Devin Hanson in Ask Linda Jun 14, 2020. 0 Replies


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