When interviewing candidates to fill an open field rep position, you need to know the right questions to ask that will ensure that the candidate before you is going to excel at the job and put in 110 percent all of the time. The candidate's views must match those of the organization, or you will end up clashing with each other for the duration of that candidate's employment.
What's important to remember when hiring a field rep is that you are hiring for a remote position, a position that presents its own obstacles. Your ideal field rep must be a motivated self-starter, and you need to be comfortable with managing this person from afar.
Trust is an integral element to your relationship with this potential employee, but of course trust is slow to earn. The best way to start trusting this candidate is through the initial interview with them, where you should ask pointed and thorough questions in order to gauge how accountable that candidate would be to the task at hand. Your goal here is to hire a team member that would require little to no micromanagement. The less micromanagement, the stronger the company culture and the more enjoyable the workplace.
Here are five questions that you should be incorporating into your interview:
1. What traits do you believe the ideal field representative should possess, and how have you demonstrated those traits before?
For the first part of the question, the candidate's answer should touch on everything from self-management and customer relationships to staff relationships. Some traits to pick out: Are they well-organized, motivated, and a good communicator?
For the second part of the question, you're really just looking for solid examples from their previous positions that can back up their claims and prove that they have experience acting as what they believe is an ideal field rep.
2. (For Sales Teams) At what point would you decide to call it quits with a potential customer?
You're looking for persistence in all of its forms here. Rejections are par for the course, and reps should be able to approach the same customer from multiple angles but with the same smile to possibly turn that "no" into a "yes." Bonus points here if the candidate shares with you the standards they were expected to meet at their prior employer, as you can use that information to reevaluate the practices put into place by your own organization to determine whether or not they are still reliable metrics.
3. How would you pursue a strong relationship with your customers?
Anyone (okay, well not anyone, but you see the point) can grab a potential customer's attention and land a sale. The importance here is whether or not that rep took the time to create a relationship with that client, versus simply landing a one-time sale. It's like being happy with a "C" grade in high school, versus doing the extra work necessary to get the "A". The candidate should be able to anticipate what the customer is going to need and should be ready at all times with solutions that mutually benefit the customer and your organization.
4. What do you do to stay motivated?
It can sometimes be even harder to remain motivated when you're working by yourself (remotely), which can lead to tasks going unfinished by an employee who stopped caring. You want to ensure that the candidate will remain motivated throughout the course of the day and for the right reasons.
5. How do you feel about our products?
All field reps should be able to support your product in a genuine fashion. How can they excite a customer about a product if they themselves could care less about it? Reps that are truly interested in your organization and what it has to offer will be happier employees, and that leads to a lower rate of turnover (and, subsequently, lower costs for the company re: training new hires, problems that occur when people transfer out, etc.).
Are you asking the right questions in your interviews? Are you confident that the applicants you are hiring share your organization's values and are dedicated to exceeding expectations every day? See how your team stacks up against those of your peers by clicking below to receive our free Field Force Productivity Assessment.