Companies devote a lot of time and effort to their sales strategy – and for good reason. But doesn’t it make sense to devote as much time and effort into choosing the sales candidates that will drive that sales strategy?

So let’s look at the interview process, why it’s more important than you think, and what you can do to improve it.

Make interviewing a science, not an art. The interview process isn’t the time to wing it. Ultimately, you want to standardize your interviewing while maintaining flexibility to pivot, and that’s not as hard as it might sound.

When developing your interview process, start with what you’re trying to accomplish. The goal is to find the right who for the right seat. Then you figure out if you can add enough value for them. Since these three components should guide your interviewing, try asking yourself this:

How can my interview process accomplish these goals for me in the most efficient way possible?

The answer might differ from company to company, but the question is always a great place to begin.

Everyone wins when you define your interview process. When I wrote about interview timing, I made a point of focusing on the dangers of repetition and excess time between interviews.

Defining your interview process addresses those dangers and more, creating benefits like:

  • Establishing a common touchpoint to compare candidates for an open seat, like every student taking the same test
  • Keeping the process fluid and fast to streamline your hiring funnel and let you react quickly
  • Providing a candidate with a reliable picture of what the interview process will look like
  • Making it easier to coordinate with everyone involved, especially leadership

Follow the leader. I’ll use Pursuit as an example of what an efficient, scalable interview process looks like. When we’re hiring for an internal position, we follow a four-stage process.

  • Assessment: Verifying if a candidate would be in the right seat
  • First interview: Asking questions to see if they match our core values – the right who – and further exploring their natural hardwiring, experience, and skillset – the right seat.
  • Shadow day: We bring them in for a few hours to shadow a current employee in an everyday setting, creating a great opportunity to identify any issues and see what value we can provide
  • Final: A presentation by the candidate on why they’re a good fit for Pursuit, why Pursuit fits them, and what value Pursuit adds to the equation

I’m not saying you should follow our exact approach. But this is the process that works for us, and it will probably give you a good head start in defining your own process.

Just figure out the interview process that works for you, perfect it, execute it, and stick to it. If it’s fast, flexible, and scalable, it will help you maintain the momentum you need to identify and hire top sales talent.