I was “blessed” with the opportunity last year to look for a job. It seems like in the tech industry it’s a matter of when and not if. So the process began. Update the LinkedIn profile, check. Update my resumes and cover letters, check. Start networking and bugging everyone, double check. And low and behold invites for interviews started to happen. Good times, or was it?
Sales Challenge Quiz.
Interviews – Being Hired.
I’ve always prided myself in my ability to interview well. I prepare, do background checks on the company and interviewee… look for common ground, and have a pretty good handle on what the job entails and how I would be the perfect fit. However, I was not prepared for these three circumstances.
The due diligence interviews. I actually had a bunch of these. They pretty much have someone already in mind, typically internally, and are told to look at others as well. They do so reluctantly. Not a total shocker for me but a couple interviews really stood out. Let me share.
Why not a consultant. – The hiring manager had flown in from out of town. I knew this and wanted to make sure I was there on time to not waste his valuable time. Arriving at the office a little early I was not able to get anyone to answer the buzzer. When they finally did, 15 minutes late now, the manager came to greet me and looked a little confused. Did he forget? I had a confirmation and a reminder. We sat down and the first thing he says is “why aren’t you a consultant?” Sheepishly, “because I want to work for you?”, was my answer. Then for 30 minutes he described how I was not a fit. Wow. What a waste of time for both of us.
“I sometimes find that in interviews you learn more about yourself than the person learned about you.” -William Shatner
He fell asleep. – I had been scheduled to interview with the hiring manager right after lunch. This one I was pretty confident with as a couple of their employees had already highly recommended me. Manager walks in, dressed casual, and starts right off with some great questions. So far, so good. As I was answering the third question he starts to nod off. Really? I mean I’m not Tony Robbins but no one has ever fallen asleep during my interviews before. He apologizes and then asks another question. Again the eyes start closing. “Maybe we should reschedule?, I ask. He wants to know why? I drop it. We finally finish this now painful interview. As I am walking out to my car I meet one of the employees that recommended me. He apologized and told me they had already pretty much picked someone internally. Again, what a waste of my time and now a sorely bruised interviewing ego.
The already filled the position interview. Totally different position – I waited three weeks for the interview of a sales manager position that I was perfectly qualified for. The hiring VP flies in to specifically meet with me. I am pretty confident I will get this position. We sit down for lunch and started the typical pre-interview chit chat. He then tells me that he just hired someone else for that position. Shocked, I ask, “then what are we doing here?” He has a temporary 90 day position doing something I have never done before. What the hell? I put other potential positions to the side to wait to get this one. Unbelievable.
The I know you’re out of work but don’t care marathon interviews. 6+ interviews and growing – I got dupped into starting the process of trying to get a position with a couple of larger companies while unemployed. Unless you have a large nest egg the process is excruciating and lengthy. For example, one such company forewarned me that there would be a few interviews. What they didn’t tell me is that it would take months to get through them. Twice I got through 80% of the process to be told the position was either put on hold or I didn’t make the cut. Seems like they could have figured that out much quicker.
Interviews – Hiring Someone.
I was finally hired by a great organization that has asked me to manage and grow their sales team. My thoughts on how I was treated previously are heavy on my mind. With that said, there were some nuggets the different managers used in their hiring process that were actually quite good. Here are some I’ve implemented.
The pre-interview. A quick call, a couple of questions with a quick screening to see if a first interview makes sense. For either of us.
This actually saved my bacon just recently. I had a candidate reach out to me with his resume that was quite good. I scheduled a 15 minute pre-interview. Within the first minute of the pre-interview he started out by telling me he didn’t have time to look at our company information or the job description and wanted me to give him the info and elevator pitch. Now seeing a first “red flag” with this person… I proceeded anyways with some basic info. For some reason he felt that he needed to critique my presentation and offering. Hmmm… Next he wanted to know what this position payed. I told him that was to be decided predicated on the candidate but what I have seen with our offering a six figure income should be possible. He actually said “ what are you talking about 101, 102K?” Needless to say a first interview was not offered.
The instructions and quiz approach. After a pre-interview I send a link of a sales quiz I built. It has subjective questions that give me some insight to whether I can work with this person or not. It also lets me know if they know anything about sales or if they have sales “bad habits”. I give them instructions on how to screen capture the results. It is really amazing how much you learn from these two exercises. Things like how quickly they got on top of taking the quiz for one. How was their score and what questions did they miss for another. Could they follow instructions and screen capture the information finally.
Thought questions and sell me what you sold last. In the first interview I have pre-designed thought questions I go over. Questions like “What would your definition be for drive or in other words being driven?” My favorite exercise is asking them to sell me what they were recently (or currently) selling. Very enlightening.
These are just a couple of the items that I have added. Having a couple of other folks interview the candidates helps as well of course. The whole process should not take more than a couple of weeks tops. If they’re not a possible candidate I tell them early on.
Bottom line, I take the interview process seriously and I have empathy for those looking for a new position. I don’t waste their time. And, I never fall asleep. What experiences could you share of either being hired or hiring someone?© 2006-2017 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF