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How to Interview for a Sales Management Job

1. Gain the right mentality. When interviewing for an executive level business development job, our sales management recruiters suggest that you should expect to win and embrace the rewards that go with the victory.


Job interviewing is no different than any other thing in business: you should go into challenges always planning to come out on top. Leave everything on the field and don’t let yourself hold back.


Regardless of level of job seeker, many times the thing that prevents us from successful job search results is our own thought process and lack of self-confidence brought on by a few job interviewing rejections.



Additionally, when you envision success prior to an interview, your mentality during that meeting is going to be more positive than if you focus on failed aspects. Take a moment to meditate and, instead of dreading a poor outcome, the headhunters at our Chicago sales and marketing headhunting team suggest you focus only the upside that you’re going to see once you execute.


Thinking about failure is more counter-productive than you can imagine. Many times, interviewees will envision not getting the job to mitigate any disappointments that they will have once they are declined a job offer. The best career advice blogs know this as well.


When Henry Kissinger was asked about what he learned from the presidents he had worked with-starting w/ JFK, he replied, “Presidents don’t do great things by dwelling on their limitations, but by focusing on the possibilities.”


2. When you find yourself in the running for an executive level sales job, the interviewer is going to look for a few things, among these are:


a. Direction.  Whether you have a clear idea of what you want to do both personally and professionally as well as their going to gauge your strength to persist in the face of setbacks. When leading a business development team, resiliency is a trait that is not a luxury, rather it is a necessity that the sales manager possess.




b. Passion – they’re going to look for whether you have a passion for what you do. Does your job excite you? Do you enjoy mentoring younger sales representatives. Can you pass this positive mood on to the team.  Do you have the desire and ambition for a better career.


c. Integrity – When companies look to recruit leadership roles, trust becomes a big factor, thus putting more emphasis on the individual’s integrity. When defined, one can argue that there are 3 main components to integrity: self-knowledge, candor and maturity.


– Self-knowledge: You know what you want to do and why you want to do it.


– Candor: Integrity means candor. You don’t trim your principals or even ideas to please. You are straight-forward with your speech and it comes from knowledge rather than an outside force.


– Maturity: Integrity means maturity which means dedicated, capable of working with.


d. Leadership acumen. When interviewing for a sales management job, the hiring company is going to put much emphasis on this. Leadership begins with confidence in oneself and without confidence in yourself, you’re not going to fare well in higher level sales interviews. Though, know that leadership is not something that is cultivated overnight. Rather, it takes a lot of work and mental discipline to train yourself to be able to take on the responsibility of a group of sales members.


Pre-Interviewing Exercises:


Sydney Pollack said the best way to codify one’s thinking is through writing and speaking. Owning an executive recruiting firm, I always suggest to my higher level sales job applicants that they do a few writing exercises prior to going into the meeting. Writing out thoughts makes for more cohesive speech. Specifically, there are four I recommend:


1. List 5 Successes You’ve Had As a Sales Manager? This will get you in the positive frame of mind and allow you to see the successes you’ve had as too often we focus only on the mishaps regardless of how many positive achievements we’ve accomplished.


2. List Your #1 Failure, How It Made Have it Hurt, but What Did You Learn and Did It Make You Stronger in the End? The best leaders can admit to their failures and learn from them. You can’t sweep failure under the rug. Rather you must come to terms with it and, once you begin to analyze what you perceive to be a failure may not be all that serious in the long-run.


3. Take 2 Minutes and Think about how much work you’ve done in your career to be able to do this job.


4. List 5 Skills That You Have that warrant you being paid to this job.


Coming to Terms with Imperfection


Understand that if you were perfect, you wouldn’t be human. Prior to going into a sales management interview know that you will never have a perfect performance. Though, dwelling on small imperfections as well as what we don’t have dilutes all the positive things that we do possess.


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