Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Interview the sales candidate without their cell phone - January 27, 2018

This is a short post this week. I want to share with the hiring managers out there a tactic one of my clients has implemented during the hiring process and one you may want to consider. While my client uses this tactic primarily when interviewing candidates for sales positions, you could certainly apply this approach to all of your interviews. It is quite simple and yet so telling. Here you go…


When the candidate arrives at your office, intentionally keep them waiting for a few minutes, and provide them a relaxing environment to wait. Take their coat and hang it up, get them water or coffee, and let them know they just need to wait a few minutes. The likelihood is the candidate will immediately reach for the cell phone. It has become second nature whenever we’re given a few minutes of “down time”.


When it is time to begin the interview, have your own cell phone in your hand (on silent) and walk the candidate to your conference room, office or wherever the meeting will take place. Have a table with a drawer, a file cabinet, or a desk in the room, anything where you can tuck your own cell phone away during the interview. Prior to sitting, announce, “oh by the way, we have a policy of no cellular distractions during meetings, so if you don’t mind I’d like for you to place your cell phone with mine in this drawer, that way we’re not interrupted until the end of our meeting”. Then put your own cell phone away and gesture for the candidate to do the same.


That’s it – end of story. Well, sort of.


Here’s what will happen. You will immediately gauge the comfort level of the candidate by removing one of the most addictive devices of all time You’ll require the candidate to communicate openly without distraction, making eye contact. No vibrating texts in their pocket. And, some candidates will be perfectly fine, comfortable, professional and a delight to interview. Others will lose their “security blanket” and be fidgety the entire time. They will be uncomfortable. They will be distracted wondering what is happening inside their digital world. They will become anxious.


Such a simple tactic can be oh so telling of how the candidate can handle themselves in real one-on-one situations. They either can or the can’t; and generally speaking there’s no in between.


Give it a try, I know I will.

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