Video Transcript

00:01 Vanessa Nornberg: When I put up resume calls on things like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, at local universities, colleges, places like that because I use all of those different resources, I ask that they answer three questions along with sending in their resume. So, on their resume, I may be looking for the standard things. "How long have you been at a company? What have you done? Et cetera." I'm also looking for people who studied abroad, for example. I think they make great salespeople because they've been willing to take themselves out of their comfort zone and put themselves in a potentially destabilizing situation and had to become a chameleon, in effect, to be successful there. So, that's one of the best things that I can find on a resume.

00:38 Nornberg: But then I ask them to answer three questions. And just to be clear, if they don't answer these three question when they submit their resume, I delete it immediately. Because number one, they are not detail-oriented. Number two, they can't follow the instructions. And number three, they are probably not capable of answering the questions. So, I don't need to go any further.

00:54 Nornberg: So, my questions are these. Which best describes your principal motivation, money, perks, and recognition? Which one do you guys think would be the most interesting for me?

01:03 Audience Member: Recognition.

01:04 Nornberg: Right, C. Recognition is definitely the most interesting. Why? Because I'm looking for somebody who wants to stay and build something, not make a quick buck and get out, okay? And the people that are interested in money, if that's their only driver, that's not enough. Because those are the kind of people that will move somewhere else where the money is greater the minute they can do it.

01:23 Nornberg: The second question I ask is have you ever played a sport? If so, which one and what position? If not, what competitive activity do you enjoy, and why? This is a really interesting question. What I'm looking for here is basically people who don't want be goalies or who weren't goalies before. I want people who wanna be in the action, who do everything they can to get in front of the ball to get out there whether it be offensive, defensive, whatever, but to make something happen in the game. Not people that wait for something to come to them.

01:48 Nornberg: And the third question is, and this is really the most important question, and the one that I find the most interesting; If you could open your own business, what type of company will it be, and why? And here I'm looking for a really detailed answer. I hate it when they say "Well, I wanna open a jewelry business because I love accessories." Then I know that they are just a "yes-man" and they are telling me what I wanna hear. They think that I'm looking for somebody who says they wanna open up a jewelry company. Not so.

02:14 Nornberg: One of the most interesting answers that I ever got for this was a guy that thought it would be interesting to open a bar with a pet shop component or with pets involved in it. And I thought... When I read that, like, the first sentence was like, "I wanna open a bar with pets." And I thought, "Okay. [chuckle] So, this guy is like really strange, right?" But then I read a little bit further and he said, "Because I think that pets help people to meet one another, and in bars it's often very difficult for people to open up and to meet one another. And so, having pets in a bar situation might make it easier for people to interact and to socially engage." And I thought that that was really interesting and he got an interview.

02:53 Audience Member: Did you hire him?

02:54 Nornberg: What's that? [chuckle]

02:54 Audience Member: Did you hire him?

02:55 Nornberg: Did I hire him? No, I did not. But that was because he was missing some of the other components that we'll talk about.

02:59 Nornberg: So, once they have submitted this and I've gone through their three questions, the screening questions, then I actually ask them to do a phone interview with me. And this is standard. And I would do this... Now, this is particularly important for my business like I said because the people that I hire are working on the phones. So, I have an extra incentive to wanna hear what they are like on the phones. But I think it's important for everyone to do this. And there are a few reasons why.

03:21 Nornberg: Number one, I ask all the people that I call, and a lot of times I end up leaving messages the first time. I ask them to call me back and a time when they have 10 minutes to speak with me. I see how fast they call back and I see how fast they wanna schedule it. Are you a go-getter? Because if you're really a salesperson, you wanna talk to me now. And if you can't talk to me now, you wanna talk to me at your lunch break. You don't wanna talk to me next week or later today or whatever? I wanna know how fast you're ready.

03:44 Nornberg: And then I also, on this call, wanna find out how the person sounds. What does their voice sound like? Does it annoy me? Does it make me wanna hang up after the first three seconds? Because if it does, you definitely can't work in my office. You're talking to all the people that you're talking to for my company, and if you're making them annoyed, every time they hear your grating voice when you call, you're doing a disservice to my company. Also their speed, their delivery, and their clarity.

04:06 Nornberg: So, during the phone interview, I ask some specific questions. The first one is, what do you know about my company? Now, this may seem kind of like a weird basic question to ask, but I found that because people are able to submit mass amounts of resumes online, they basically don't read anything and they just hit go. And those are the kind of people also that are not good salespeople because they don't do any of the homework or the leg work that they need to do before they make their sales call. So, anybody that tells me, "Well, I don't really know. I sent a lot of resumes out today." I'd say "Okay, well, I don't think you need to work in my company." And the phone is hung up, and we're done.

04:35 Nornberg: The next thing is, what is your definition of selling? It's really important to me that everybody who sells for my company sees selling the way that I do. Selling isn't about lying, it's not about upselling, it's not about the quick "ch-ching." It's about one thing, matching the right person with the right product, and that's it. And if you have a definition that's other than that when you tell me what your definition of selling is, you can't work in my company.

04:58 Nornberg: And then the third thing is, what's your ideal day or optimal office setting? Because people have lifestyles, and they have things that they are searching for. And I feel that the hiring process is a two-way street. I wanna get somebody who comes to my company, who's worth paying to be there and who is hopefully in the process going to add something to my company. And if they are unhappy everyday because they don't like the kind of company that we have, the kind of office setting that we have, the hours that we keep, whatever, then I need to know about that upfront.

05:23 Nornberg: And during the phone interview, I ask them to do role play. And this is my favorite part of the phone call because this is where they never know what's gonna happen to them. They think they have got it all down. We did the first three questions, and they aced it. Now, we're gonna play a game.

05:34 Nornberg: The first thing that I ask them is a typical scenario that involves an obstacle to see how the candidate thinks on their feet. So, for example, I may say to them, we have a line of toe rings that we just developed, and I'm gonna give you a list of people to call, and the first lady that you call on your list says in a rather nasty way, "I already carry toe rings. What would you say to her?" And then I just let them talk to me and tell me what they would say. If they ask good questions... If they say, "Well, what kind of toe rings do you carry? Well, have you seen our toe rings?" Then that might be the kind of person that I want to continue with. And if they don't, then I don't want to talk to them anymore.

06:04 Nornberg: Number two, I test the candidates on strategic thinking, right. Strategic thinking is really important. This is something that takes them out of their comfort zone and asks them to do something different or to tell me how they feel about a particular comfort zone. So, my favorite question to ask here is, "You're asked to go out to a trade show for our company, and it just so happens that our biggest competitor has the booth right next to ours. In that kind of situation, what can you do personally to try to get the people walking down the aisle to visit our booth and not our competitors?"

06:33 Nornberg: And this is a really interesting question because a lot of people will say, "Well, first, I would go ask show management if we could move." I think that's really funny because I'm actually the one that asks to be placed next to our competitors. I beg to be placed next to our competitors, in front of our competitors, near our competitors, because I want to see them. I want to see what they're doing, and I want to talk to every single person that went to their booth because I know my product is better.

06:55 Nornberg: So, if they tell me that they want to move, then I know they're not the right person to be in my booth. I also want to find out how they handle the client after the sale is closed, right? Because selling is not just about the moment when you sell, it's about what you do afterwards. And so, for this, I actually say to them on the phone, "Okay, so a customer calls in, and he is really upset. He just got his box. He's super pissed off. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong with the order did. There were things missing. It was late. Just a total disaster. And the guy is mad. He's pissed. He is like, Screw you, screw your company, you all screwed up my stuff, I hate you. Whatever. And what do you say to this guy?"

07:31 Nornberg: If the person says to me, "Well, first, I would tell him to calm down", the interview is over, because when a customer is upset, the last thing you need to do is calm them down. You need to resolve their problem. And I wanna know that you're going to be able to do that. And you're not gonna tell me "Don't use curse words" or something stupid like that.