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As a sales manager, you’ve reached the stage where you have winnowed out some additional candidates either through assessment testing and telephone screening, so that you have a list of candidates and you are ready to move onto the interview stage. This is the stage at which you receive the most information about the candidate and how suitable
he or she is for the position. More often than not, interviews have become a theatre production with everyone trying to take the starring role. Sales managers are caught up in trying to create a favourable impression of the opportunity and of their company because they need to hire someone to take the pressure off the remaining sales personnel, whilethe candidates are trying to conform to what the employer’s perceived model of a salesperson.

There is a plethora of advice found on the Internet and in career guides on local bookstore shelves on the subject of job interviews. Any candidate who has several years of sales experience will have researched the interview process. You should be aware of someone who is an “interview master,” which is a term applied to candidates whose best
performance occurs during the in-depth interview. This problem is endemic in sales as one of the traits of a successful salesperson is their ability to empathize with people and adapt their personality to the personality style of the individual sitting across from them.
A good interview should be 70 per cent assessment and 30% sales. Sales managers need to polish their listening skills to do the assessment and their presentation skills as they willneed to sell the company and what it has to offer to the candidate. Your attentiveness and perceptive skills are important now, so remove as many distractions as you can by
preparing ahead of time.

Timing is Everything
Slow response time is one of the leading causes why many companies lose out to their competitors in getting qualified personnel on board. From start to finish, the interview process should last three weeks. The following is a timeline that sales managers can use as a yardstick to allocate time:

  • Telephone interviews. These interviews should be conducted within 5 days of the closing date or within five days of becoming aware of a qualified candidate.
  • Face-to-face interviews. These interviews should be conducted within 8 days of the telephone interview. An offer of sales employment should be extended to a candidate within six days of the face-to-face interview. Only after the offer has been accepted should the employer notify unsuccessful candidates.

About the Author:

The Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA) is a national organization of 30000 sales and marketing professionals. Members receive significant savings on travel, business costs and more. The CPSA also offers exclusive sales training and certification programs.



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