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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Love Your Monday Mornings

Hey Everyone,

I’ve been trying to fill a senior sales position in my company for months now, and after having interviewed over a dozen applicants, I’m no closer to finding my killer sales rep…yes, I did say killer, because that’s what’s needed to do what I’m looking to achieve.  I must say, I am not impressed by who I am meeting...or perhaps I am being overly picky? I think not – it’s my business, and I want to hire the best people possible!

Well, after having hired and fired few sales people, I’ve become very jaded when it comes to sales reps. They all like to sell themselves during the interview process…you can’t blame them – after all, it’s their job to sell. Now, however, I know how to read between the lines of their resumes, only paying attention to them if something amazing jumps out (which is rare). Here’s a simple tip: put in some quantifiable data. Put down numbers for how much you sold at your last company, or the size of your bigger deals. Show your potential employer what you have brought and can bring to the table. I mean, really, if you’re in sales, why wouldn’t you back up your claims of success with some quantifiable data? In this digital day and age, where companies are tracking almost everything they do, businesspeople expect to see numbers, not just qualitative claims.  I also focus on one-on-one conversations and Q & A sessions. It’s important for me to see a person’s integrity, understand their aspirations and get a feel for their industry knowledge. I ask probing questions and I don’t hold anything back – after all, I’m looking for a killer sales rep who can propel my brand to next level….not an easy task by any means.

I’m sad to say that after months of searching, I still have not found him/her. What I find truly amazing is how unprepared some of these candidates are when they come in for an interview. For example, some of them have not even looked up my company. Right away, I’m turned off by these individuals who did not even take the time to research my brand.  How in the world can I expected them to search for new leads?

I’ve also interviewed candidates who, rather than telling me what they bring to the table, would simply give the answers they thought I was looking for. Hey guys, guess what? I’m not looking for “right” answers! I’m looking for honest answers that make sense to me, so I can take the interview further.

The economy is bad, and tons of people are searching for work. Job applicants need to up their game. Simple things make all the difference...for example, come to an interview prepared (duh, right? Apparently not...). Here are some of my tips to all of you seeking jobs; regardless of whether you are starting out in your career or you are an industry veteran, right now, each company has plenty of people applying for that one opening, so be ready for severe competition.

a)      Read the ad carefully and make sure you are qualified for the job.  Nothing turns an employer more off more than when applications come in and have nothing to do with the job description and/or experience needed….I don’t get it, do people really think that if I see their resume, I may ask them to come in even if they are not qualified? That’s silly.
b)      If you do get called for an interview, research, research, research the company.  Look at its peer group, to understand the competition. Read up on industry trends, so you can hold an intelligent conversation about the industry as a whole, not just about the job you are seeking. 

c)      Yes, monetary compensation is very important, but don’t just look at the $$ that is being offered. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it most likely is, meaning if you don’t perform according to expectations, this high-paying job will come to an end very quickly. These days, there is zero tolerance for under-performing employees, so make sure compensation is in line with what you truly can do for the company...or you won’t last long.

d)     Understand the company’s growth potential, as well as your ability to grow with it.  Do you feel that there is plenty of room for YOU to grow? What is its corporate culture like? Does it foster new ideas and innovative ways of thinking?  However, if you are the type who is not looking for such challenges and just want a simple 9-5 job…well, I don’t know what advice to give you! Perhaps read another blog post (or blog).  J  

e)      Last, but not least, pay attention to how you look when you go for an interview.  I know we don’t want to be judged by the way we look, but let me tell you, you are being judged whether you like it or not. You know what they say: if two equally qualified people come in for the same position, the one who is well-groomed and well put together will leave a lasting impression (and most likely will get the job!).  

On that note, check out my plaid suit from Fall 2009 below – it’s the perfect interview suit. Take the jacket off, and you’ll be ready to go out for drinks when you land the job.   

Whatever you chose to do, do something you love.  I can’t stress that enough.  In my opinion, the only way you can secure success and fortune is if you love your Monday mornings!


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