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TOOL Interview Guide for a Sales Manager

April 17, 2000
Related Topics: HR Services and Administration, Compensation Design and Communication, Tools
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The screening interview looks for basic truth verification about the applicant's background and work history. As the hiring manager or member of the interviewing team, your responsibility is to ask questions about job specifics and look for evidence that the applicant will be able to do the job for which he or she is applying.

Position: _______________

Interviewer: _______________

Applicant: _______________

Date: _______________

Information is acceptable as evidence when it is:

Relevant:

The information relates specifically to the open job.

Adequate:

There is enough information to evaluate the applicant.

Identifiable:

You can tell who did what to whom, when, and how the applicant was personally involved.

Rating Criteria for Applicants

A.

Match: The evidence indicates that the applicant can do the job at the level we need or better. We expect the person to be immediately productive.

B.

Near Match: The evidence indicates that the applicant probably can do the job although some requirements are not met. We expect the person to be fully productive within a few weeks or months.

C.

Questionable: Does not meet many requirements, may be able to do job with additional training.

D.

Poor Match: Does not meet requirements, likely to fail on the job.

Selection Standard and Questions

Planning and Scheduling

Describe the business planning process at your last job and who was responsible for what parts; what part of the process is the most difficult, what kind of scheduling techniques have you used (when, why); how do you decide which technique to use; what about monitoring; what would you tell a new manager is important about planning and scheduling; give an example of a scheduling problem that was hard to resolve, and how you did

  • Creates appropriate work plan
  • Creates, monitors, updates and manages schedule
  • Accurately forecasts and handles resources needed
  • Able to handle scheduling problems
  • Includes work team in planning

Communications

Describe the communications in your last job; anything special; problems and how they were handled; what was the last major communication to your staff; when was the last communication problem that affected your work and what happened, who was involved, what did you do, and why; do you document -- and what, why, how; how do you keep track of your staff's performance; if you were to teach a course in communications to your staff, what would you include?

  • Gathers and transmits information effectively
  • Clear, concise verbal and written communications achieve objectives
  • Documents staff performance
  • Continuous, positive communication with customers, staff, others

Problem Solving

Describe a couple recent problems you dealt with at work; for each, describe how it happened, what you did, who else was involved; why you handled it that way; what about an example of a customer's problem; a customer's problem that you didn't think was a problem; if you were to describe how to solve a problem to a new staff member what would you say?

  • Anticipates and tries to prevent problems
  • Uses a rational process to seek "root cause." Also creative solutions.
  • Able to apply job knowledge and experience to solve business and people problems
  • Uses all available resources to help with problem solving
  • Treats customer s problem with same urgency customer would

Leadership/Supervision

Describe how you supervise staff at different levels of experience; do you delegate and what, how; problems associated with delegating and what did you do about them; how can you delegate more; describe the performance review process as you apply it to your staff; what about teamwork; what would you tell a new sales associate about teamwork; what would you want this new person to do regarding teamwork; is it your job to lead or manage and why, how would someone else know you were the leader if you were being observed

  • Adjusts direction and feedback according to individual/group needs
  • Delegates and follows up
  • Helps staff develop capability to take on more work
  • Reviews staff performance (observes, documents, gives feedback)
  • Models teamwork and cooperative effort

Interpersonal Skills

Describe a situation where conflict arose in your work group -- how did it happen, what did you do, why; describe conflict situation with customer; conflict with customer that did not get resolved and what did you learn from this; what would you tell a new staff member about how you deal with others and why; what's the most recent disagreement you were in at work -- what happened, what did you do, and why; how should a manager manage interpersonal relationships within the work team, how should the manager behave?

  • Anticipates and heads off conflict
  • Acts in a way that gains respect and trust of staff, peers, managers and clients.
  • Seeks out and listens to contrary opinions
  • Able to disagree without creating alienation or ill-will
  • Models positive employee relations

Staff Development / Coaching

Have you coached anyone; what was the situation; what specifically did you do; if I was that person, how would you tell me I had a problem and what to do about it; If I (as employee with the problem) said "others have been no different then me, why do I have to change"; what would you say to me?

If you were to teach another manager about coaching, what would you say; how do you handle staff development?

 

  • Has experience coaching
  • Communicates need for improvement clearly and positively
  • Lets employee suggest how to improve before "telling" him or her what to do.
  • Effectively explains supervisor s responsibility to ensure employees perform to some standard.
  • Has identified staff development needs and individual development plans.

Sales/Sales Management Skills

What kind of sales have you been involved in; what type of customer, what was product; describe how you would determine what customer wanted; if I was a customer, what would you say to me?

What is the difference between transactional and consultative sales?

How did you keep track of subordinates sales efforts?

How important is closing? How do you close?

Describe the product you/your staff was selling; what were the features versus the benefits?

  • Experience with consultative sales
  • Managed staff engaged in consultative sales
  • Asks effective discovery questions
  • Views closing as client satisfaction
  • Understands difference between features (aspects of product) and benefits (when feature meets a customer s needs)

 

APPLICANT EVALUATION

A = Match

B = Near Match

C = Questionable

D = Poor Match

Selection Standard

Interviewer 1

Interviewer 2

Interviewer 3

Interviewer 4

Interviewer 5

Problem Solving

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Leadership / Supervision

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Planning & Scheduling

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Communication

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Interpersonal Skills

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Staff Development

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Sales / Sales Mgmt. Skills

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

 

Summary Evaluation Based on Meeting of All the Interviewers

Problem Solving

______

Comments:

Leadership/Supervision

______

 

Planning and Scheduling

______

 

Staff Development

______

 

Communication

______

 

Interpersonal Skills

______

 

Sales/Sales Mgt. Skills

______

 

Make Offer __________

No Offer Save Resume __________

No Offer No Future Interest __________

_______________________________________
Signature of Hiring Manager Making Offer/No Offer Decision

_______________________
Date

 

When you ask about a person's weaknesses be aware that many applicants may have gotten the following advice:

Remember that you do not have to answer interviewers' questions, only respond to them. The following process approach can be helpful.

  1. Choose a trait about your character or personality which is obviously true
  2. Extend that trait until it becomes a fault
  3. Put it back in the distant past
  4. Show how you overcame it
  5. Confirm that it is no longer a problem
  6. Don't elaborate

 

SOURCE: Mike Smith, P.O. Box 1692 Wal, NJ 07719, ms@mikesmith-hr.com

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

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