“You only have one chance to make a first impression.” This saying is known to everyone, there is a lot of truth to it. Despite the widespread understanding of this saying, in this very tight job market, I’ve witnessed many organizations begin the interview process poorly. This unfortunate circumstance ends up turning off top candidates.
In my line of work, I’ve spoken with many candidates that have turned down great job opportunities. It’s important to have an understanding of why candidates don’t accept certain offers. When asking these candidates, “Why did you pass on an opportunity?” after interviewing once, these are some of the most common responses:
  • The employer couldn’t adequately answer my questions.
  • They didn’t seem excited about the job and were just going through the motions.
  • The employer talked the entire time, leaving no room for me to ask my questions.
  • They seemed distracted the entire time as if they were doing something else.
  • After following up multiple times, it took weeks before I received a response.
I completely understand that a VP of Sales, for example is not going to be able to take every first interview. However, it is a mistake to underestimate the importance of an initial call. The team member that is speaking to these candidates should know the company inside and out, be outgoing and energetic, and ultimately excite the candidate for the next round of interviews.
If the interviewer is not properly equipped with all of the information needed to make these initial calls successful and positive, I largely blame the company. There was clearly a lack of training provided. If the interviewer is not very excitable, then you have the wrong person interviewing your candidates.
Over the years, I’ve worked with some very strong sales consultants. I always love my experience working with these individuals, as they just “get it.”
A majority of the companies that we do business with would fall into the category of mid-sized. There are many impressive features of these organizations, however perhaps the most impressive is that they understand how to inspire excitement in their candidates. It can be challenging to get candidates excited about working for a smaller company that they’ve never heard of versus Fortune 500 companies with strong name recognition. This is just one of many reasons that I believe a sales consultant can be helpful in interviewing.  They know how to sell the company and job opportunity.
One thing that perplexes me is the fact that most mid to senior-level salespeople sell between $500,000 to $1 million or more per year. However, when a salesperson like this interviews, they’re not provided the level of attention or the excitement that they very much deserve.
If I was to speak with a VP of Sales and say, “I have a potential deal that could yield $500,000+ per year,” they would treat this deal like gold every step of the way. The company’s top rep would likely be assigned the prospect, as they would want to do everything in their power to impress the prospect as much as possible. Why is this same level of attention not being provided to the potential candidates that could bring in these sales on a yearly basis?
First interviews are so important, and far too many businesses neglect the process. The results are lost “A” players that could be the difference between your company being successful or failing.
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