Role playing is a common practice in our industry. Most people have at least heard the stereotypical “sell me this pen” reference when discussing sales.

One thing you might not know is that role playing can be extremely helpful in learning key traits of salespeople. So how do we use role plays in our interview process?

If a candidate passes our screening process, they will interview with some of our leadership team for a face-to-face interview via Zoom. During the interview, we conduct a series of role plays designed to assess candidates’ natural questioning skills, self-awareness, and coachability. It looks a little like this:

  1. Roleplay performed with one interviewer on a product the candidate is comfortable with.
  2. Candidates identify what went well and areas for improvement.
  3. Interviewers give feedback and clear, actionable advice for what to improve.
  4. Roleplay performed with a second interviewer on a product the candidate is less comfortable with.
  5. Feedback from the candidate and interviewers.

This exercise also gives the candidate a sense of the culture and training we provide, as well as some sales tips. It is a crucial part to our interview process and usually leaves us with a sense of whether or not we will move forward with the candidate.

Here’s an example of the feedback candidates have given about the role plays in our interview process (via Glassdoor):

“I really enjoyed the interview and found the role playing to be helpful in understanding the position..”

Candidates consistently say this is an enjoyable part of the interview because you learn something and it’s different from standard interviews.

Here are some tips from our team for you to nail your next roleplay:

  • The most common feedback we give candidates is to focus on asking open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) as opposed to yes or no questions. So if you are selling a laptop, instead of asking, “Do you like your current laptop?”, ask, “What features do you enjoy about your current laptop?”
  • A good tip is to uncover past experience, current feelings, and future wants or needs. Try to get two questions from each of those categories before pitching an option that fits the customer’s needs.
    • Past: How did your experience with your last laptopgo? What did you enjoy about using it?
    • Present: Why did you decide now was the right time to look for a new laptop? Who are you buying this for?
    • Future: What are you looking to get out of your laptop? How do you plan to use it?

We include role plays in our interview process because it allows us to assess communication and selling skills, even when this may be a candidate’s first sales role. If you think you’d excel at a sales role play, take a look at our open positions — we’re hiring!