In most interview situations there’s often an odd, sometimes disturbing imbalance, and it boils down to one word: power. Who has it, who doesn’t. Typically it’s the interviewer who has more power, because they’re the ones deciding who should get the job and who shouldn’t. On the flip side, a candidate who is confident he or she is the best person for the job — and has multiple offers to back up that confidence — may also have that power, resulting in them being nonchalant, cavalier, or even arrogant during the interview.

If one or both parties are focused only on ego, this power dynamic reduces something that should be a very human experience — two people connecting and talking about working together, being part of something larger than just themselves — into one without humanity. I believe this is a problem, especially when hiring a sales force, because “the interview” should be an emotional contract: One that governs long-lasting expectations and outcomes for both people during the lifetime of their employment at the company (and even beyond).

The power dynamic is further exacerbated in sales recruiting, because sales for too long had an unnecessary machismo about it, and salespeople can be so good at what they do, that they can snow the interviewer (it’s their job to sell after all). And if it’s a person with a sales background or passion for sales conducting the interview, then both parties often end up having a bullshit dialogue. They’re just sitting around swapping stories or measuring each other up without really using that conversation to figure out job fit beyond that immediate chemistry.

In all of these sales interviewing scenarios, no one wins. And it happens all the time. Sales reps will often quit within weeks or months of being hired, the company loses valuable sales revenue, and the lack of relevant data in interviews makes everyone optimize for the short vs. long term. Plus, it’s disheartening and demoralizing!

 Stay tuned for some thoughts for how to make sales interviewing and recruiting legendary…