Guest Article: Testing Your Candidates with the Car Talk

By Scott Turnbaugh

Too many interview processes rely on being in a conference room or an office. Once someone is a real prospect, take them on a half-day ride along with one of your high performers.

Here are three ways that the “car talk” reveals your prospect’s character:

It’s more casual and less confrontational than an interview.

People open up in your car because they’re not making real eye contact. Talking side-to-side really makes a difference. If you want people to open up, probe them in the car or test them with silence; their passions and interests will iarise in the process. Whether they’re competitive or intrinsically motivated matters.

It gives candidates 4-8 hours to reveal their behavior.

Their guard will go down in these 4-8 hours. Candidates want to communicate who they are. But if they’re hiding something, this ride gives them ample time to slip up.  If they use profanity often, it will show. If they use slang often, it will emerge. If they’re emotional or inflexible, you’ll know. Being with someone this long makes it too hard to keep a wall up.

It tests whether they can hit it off with a stranger.

Sales and marketing jobs rely on getting strangers to like you. Your high-performer knows this and can gauge whether someone is a fit for one of those positions.

How is their personality?

Are they friendly?

Do they smile?

Are they articulate?

You can’t hide these traits during a ride-along with one of your employees.

The “car talk” may seem harsh, but it’s immensely revealing. Utilizing this tactic to hire or dismiss a candidate accordingly.


Scott Turnbaugh of Eagles View Consulting has over 25 years of experience in VP Sales, Marketing and Chief Sales Officer roles. He now specializes in sales and marketing talent recruiting and has personally met with every candidate in Eagles View Consulting’s library. Scott’s early career encompassed inside and outside sales roles for both Inc 500 and Fortune 500 companies in the technology, distribution and manufacturing industries. Later, he managed sales teams for these same types of companies. Now he is screening and vetting talent for exactly the same positions that he has personally filled in his career. This ensures all candidates meet a very high standard before they reach his clients’ desks.

Our appreciation to Scott Turnbaugh for sharing his insights on our blog.

See Scott in person at our April 9th Drink ‘N Think, Setting the Stage for Sales Success. He and Chris McDonell of Sandler Training (McDonell Consulting & Development, Inc.) will lead an in-depth discussion about building and training a top-notch sales team, including finding the right personality for a sales position, setting your team up for success and improving your sales program overall. Click here to reserve your spot!

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