How to Spot an “A” Player in an Interview

How to Spot an “A” Player in an Interview

Ah, those elusive unicorns! The “A” player salesperson.

Everybody wants them – and there aren’t enough to go around.

So, how can you identify if you’re interviewing an “A” player vs. a good “B” player?

Here are a few signs based on my experience as a former sales recruiter, sales leader and company executive.

“A” Players Control the Interview

They will take control of the interview fairly early on and start interviewing YOU. They will ask about your business – what your goals and objectives are, organic/inorganic growth plans, what’s your go-to-market strategy, what has and hasn’t worked, what has made salespeople successful in the past, what will the business look like in 5 years, what trends are you taking advantage of and risks you need to mitigate – before asking what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Yes, they’ve turned what is usually a Q and A session led by the interviewer into a business discovery call. They are proactive participants, not reactive. They’ll ask you about your track record of success. Successful people want to work with other successful people. (They may even ask to see your CV or speak with others who have worked with you in the past – customers, current and former employees.)

“A” Players Write Well

They also write well. David Ogilvy said it concisely: “People who think well, write well.” Ask to see examples of their customer communications – prospecting messages and proposals. Your customers want to work with smart people. A salesperson’s written work is another preview into the quality of work they will do for you and customers.

“A” Players Ask for Next Steps

They will naturally ask for your commitment or next steps at the end of the interview. “Is there anything that you heard today that would stop you from hiring me?” “Can I ask if you will be recommending me for the next interview – and who and when will that be with, what are they looking for, what are they like and what’s their experience?” Etc., etc.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the above are lead indicators that you’re onto a keeper. I hope you find it helpful.

And, if you did, please share with one CEO or sales leader who will appreciate and find it useful. Or, share it with your network on LinkedIn.

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Matt Conway

CEO & Principle at Matthew Conway
If you're a CEO or Sales Leader reading this and you want to fill your pipeline with quality opportunities, win more deals and reduce sales cycles by as much as 6x, then perhaps it's time for a chat?

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Matt Conway
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