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Sales Leadership
Jun 2, 2010 | Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA) lock

Interviews for sales positions require preparation by the interviewer as well as by the candidate. Interviewers prepare by familiarizing themselves with the requirements of the position and the backgrounds of the candidates. Interviews are normally conducted alone by the sales manager or in the company of one or two others. In smaller companies, if there is no sales manager, the company owner or president may conduct the interview.

Interview teams should plan on who will be asking which questions in which order, to avoid confusion. If a team of two or three people is to conduct the interview, planning may also include follow-up questions by another team member. Whether it’s one person or
three conducting the interview, all individuals should:

  • Review the job description and have a copy available to give to the candidate should the candidate be called for a second interview.
  • Examine carefully the specifications listed, particularly the traits needed to be successful in the position. Prepare a list of questions and agree upon their order in
  • Review the résumé and those questions you have noted.

Setting the “stage” for the interview takes little effort and has a few advantages. From the very start, the future employee sees an example of professional standards of which he or she will be a part. Creating a pleasant environment can help relax both you and the candidate. Specific things to do include:

  • Allow sufficient time for the interview (45 minutes to 1 hour for the first interview).
  • Allow 15 minutes between interviews for you to relax, organize your thoughts and
    make notes.
  • Choose a location that is quiet and relaxed, either a small meeting room or company boardroom. If you are using your own office tell your receptionist that
    you will not be taking calls and post a sign on the door explaining that interviews
    are taking place.
  • Arrange for candidates to be greeted, offered coffee, and shown the hospitality of
    your firm while they wait.
  • Avoid sitting behind a desk. Many interviewers find that two chairs with no table
    between works well.

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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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