Here's How Great Sales Leaders Interview & Hire AEs (3 Keys)

Here's How Great Sales Leaders Interview & Hire AEs (3 Keys)

Chris Orlob
September 22, 2022

If you're reading this...

You're probably a sales leader.

If you're a a sales leader...

You were never trained on hiring techniques.

I wasn't. Were you?

If you're a SENIOR sales leader, you figured it out yourself.

If that's you, you should forward this post to your frontline managers.

Here's why:

I'm going to teach you the essentials of predictive interviewing.

First, here's what NOT to do:

This is what 90% of sales managers do.

It's not predictive of an AE succeeding on the job.

Random acts of interviewing is when you ask different questions to each candidate, in a different order each time...

And the questions themselves don't predict future behavior.

On the other hand...

Predictive interview questions "cut through the clutter."

There is a SLEW of information AE candidates can throw at you.

  • LinkedIn profile
  • Resume
  • Life experiences
  • Career history
  • Hobbies and passions
  • Academic record

Great questions cut through that clutter.

They're like a Google Search for whether a rep is a good fit for you.

So let's talk about:

There are three elements of predictive interview questions.

The first element:


These questions get the rep to talk about evidence of a hiring attribute you're looking for.

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

The second element:


Here's what this means:

Ask the SAME questions to all reps.

This helps you tap into PATTERN recognition.

If you ask different questions to each candidate...

Your'e creating noise.

You have no ability to see patterns.

You have no ability to compare candidates.

And the last element:


You ask the same questions in the same order in each interview.

That gives you EVEN MORE pattern recognition.

  • Behavioral.
  • Consistent.
  • Structured.

Those are the three elements of predictive interview questions.

Let me show you an example.

Let's pretend you're hiring for "coachability."

Check out the behavioral question on the left:

Notice it asks for evidence of coachability.

It's hard to bullshit your way through that, if you have no recent examples.

Compare that to the weak question on the right.

Easy to bullshit.

It asks the rep what they WOULD do. No what they HAVE done. Very different outcomes.

Questions like the one on the right are why this is true:

Even weak sellers can bullshit their way through bad interview questions.

But they can't bullshit their way through structured, consistent, behavioral interviews.

Want another example?

Let's do one more:

Let's say you're screening for software demo skills:

Take a look at this:

Again, look at the behavioral, predictive question on the left.

If a rep lacks great demo experience...

No way they are getting through that.

The question on the right?

Easy to regurgitate whatever sales book they read recently.

Which is VERY different than selling LIVE.

Okay, okay.

Since you asked...

Here's ONE more example...

You sell in a competitive environment.

So you NEED sellers that can handle HOT competition.

That's what you're hiring for:

Here's a key thing to notice about the (bad) question on the right:

The untrained expert would think that's a GOOD question.

But it's not, because:

It screens for KNOWLEDGE. Not BEHAVIOR.

Different things.

A rep can wax poetically until they're blue in the face about how they WOULD or SHOULD handle competition.

But how do they ACTUALLY handle it? Have they done it before in some capacity?

That's the difference.

Here's another thing about the (good) behavioral questions in these examples:

They all have follow-up questions tacked onto them.

There are several questions that "follow up" on the attribute you're screening for.

Probing beyond the first question is a great habit to get into.

Here's what to do next

Now that you know HOW to interview...

You need to know WHAT questions to ask.

Coming up with those can be time-consuming.

You've got deals to close and a sales team to run.

So, I created a master list of GREAT interview questions for you. Free.

Want 91 free predictive interview questions?

Steal them for free here: