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Radio Science Post Interview

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Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Nate W. » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:32 pm

Hi Forum,

About four weeks ago, the Friday before Thanksgiving, I interviewed at the home office of a capital equipment company in the life sciences. This was for a sales position where I currently live. A recruiter found my resume online and submitted my name after an initial phone screen. Then I had two phone interviews with a senior national product manager and the regional sales director for this territory. These two interviews went great. The product manager was a serious technical interview. Two days later, I was invited for a day interview at the home office with the following individuals: Regional Sales Manager, HR, Marketing Manager, and a General Manager (GM). The Regional Sales Manager (Hiring Manager) wanted someone with the technical expertise living in the terrority and was willing to train someone on the sales part of the job. This was ideal for me since I knew the technology, the key account, and specific PI's within that key account. So, the interviews with HR, Sales Manager, and the Marketing Manager went well. However, my final interview with the GM was odd. The recruiter told me this interview was going to be a technical interview. However, it wasn't. It was all about the sales process, specifically closing. My inclination was that my technical expertise and knowledge of the key account would be enough (based on what the hiring manager said). The background of the GM was about 20 years pure sales experience. I got the sense the GM wanted someone with pure sales experience and not a technical background. The questions asked were overly broad and difficult to address. However, the hiring manager had a completely different set of expectations. The hiring manager told be that he would get back to me after he spoke with the other interviewers (within a week). Now, it has been four weeks. When I sent a thank email, I got no acknowledgement and the recruiter has been given the same radio silence.

Of note, I have found this lack of follow-up to be a common problem nowadays compared to the past. Also, I have been in a situation where I was hired by the CEO despite the fact that a co-manager wanted someone else with different qualifications. The co-manager tried to undermine my employment with the organization. The CEO had my back.

What should I do about this interview and how I can avoid this previous employment situation if I am hired?
Nate W.
 
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Re: Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Dave Walker » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:25 pm

Hi Nate,

I would get in touch with the hiring manager to see if you are still being considered, at least to see if the job is still open. After four weeks, they owe you that much, and the recruiter should be able to help here too.

You can't control the reasons why you are or aren't hired, and for all we know the "bad interview" could have been fine, or a "good interview" that actually had issues. Regarding the situation of CEO having your back but the hiring manager not...sounds like office politics that you may or may not want to engage in at this stage of your career. My advice would be to, prior to getting hired, bring it up directly with your hiring manager and ask if the GM had any issues with you.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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Re: Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Nate W. » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:59 am

Dave Walker wrote:Hi Nate,

I would get in touch with the hiring manager to see if you are still being considered, at least to see if the job is still open. After four weeks, they owe you that much, and the recruiter should be able to help here too.

You can't control the reasons why you are or aren't hired, and for all we know the "bad interview" could have been fine, or a "good interview" that actually had issues. Regarding the situation of CEO having your back but the hiring manager not...sounds like office politics that you may or may not want to engage in at this stage of your career. My advice would be to, prior to getting hired, bring it up directly with your hiring manager and ask if the GM had any issues with you.


Thanks Dave for reply. The recruiter has tried to contact the manager directly. Yet, there was no response. Since the recruiter submitted my name, I have left it in his hands. Yesterday, I told him if I didn't hear a response by Friday, I would call the manager directly. He remarked that they seem conflicted on what exactly they wanted. The manager told me they wanted someone to start Jan 1.

I am amazed the interviewers didn't at least acknowledge my thank you email. This seems to be a problem nowadays. Decisions made by a team; yet nobody seems to agree on what they want or they have different agendas. This is what happened with the CEO and the co-manager situation. This is the last thing I want to get involved with. Why can't managers make decisive decisions and expect others to follow along for the sake of the organization?

When other team members have too much influence in the decision making process; members become jealous of others, an increase in conflict, an increase in turnover, and a new employee who leaves the company within a short time. All this ultimately hurts the company's brand.

I have the luxury to wait for the right position but I have little margin for making the wrong decision. Why can't I find people who have their act together?
Nate W.
 
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Re: Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Dustin Levy » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:59 pm

Nate,

It’s possible that this potential place of employment is dysfunctional and you don’t want to be there. And, the lack of response is unprofessional, but seems to be becoming more common.

But, don’t lose a potential learning opportunity here. One reason that GMs get to where they are is that they are better at evaluating talent (and therefore surround themselves with better performers) and better at asking questions. You aced the technical interviews because those interviewers asked you questions in your comfort zone. The hiring manager then set you up for a final interview with the GM, who trusts that you have the technical experience for the job. So, the GM has no reason to ask you technical questions, and instead pushes you out of your comfort zone by asking questions about sales. The GM does this not because he or she wants to hear the right answers (this is sales, not science, so there are no “right” answers), but because he or she wants to know how you think on your feet and address questions that you’ve never heard before.

The GM probably isn’t looking for someone with direct sales experience (they wouldn’t have wasted their time meeting you if that were the case). They are looking for someone who has the ability to learn how to sell, and are using sales-related questions to assess your behaviors when you’re out of your comfort zone, as can often happen when you’re in front of a difficult customer.

If you didn’t answer the questions that were asked, you likely disqualified yourself; if you simply guessed at what answer the GM was looking to hear, you likely disqualified yourself. The best you could have done was to give well-reasoned responses based on your previous work/life experiences, ask clarifying questions back to the GM if unsure of the intent of the questions asked to you, and demonstrated a willingness to self assess and learn on the job. If you can honestly look back and say you did the latter, then this company may be dysfunctional and you’re better off not there.

Dustin
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Re: Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Nate W. » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:41 pm

Hi Dustin,

Thanks for your reply. Your points are well taken and reasonable. I don't know if this employer is dysfunctional. However, it is a dysfunctional situation when a hiring manager wants you there and another manager doesn't. That always ends badly.

My hypothesis is the GM wanted someone with a proven track record in sales, regardless of technical expertise, and the hiring manager is willing to train someone with the right technical expertise. The hiring manager knew I didn't have capital sales experience and my resume was circulated among the other interviewers. Based on questions asked by the GM and the background of the GM (i.e. no technical expertise with 20 years sales experience), he had a strong opinion about the qualifications needed for this position which was contrary to that of the hiring manager. Despite knowing I didn't have sales expertise, based on my resume, the GM asked if I had sales experience.

The questions asked by the GM were so open ended that they were difficult to answer. I did try several times to clarify the questions. For example, he asked questions like "Tell me what you have learned about the sales process from your interviews so far?" and "What sales approach would you use to manage this account?" I had a 30/60/90 days plan and many good ideas for promoting the products which he acknowledged. However, he was looking for something more especially when it came to follow-up and closing; because he kept asking if there was anything more. There are many different sales approaches he could have been looking for. In my opinion, he probably had already made his mind up or had a strong bias based on his professional experience.

I know the key account quite well, the key PIs at this account, the background of former reps and was a customer for many years at this account. These PIs are not going to buy a piece of equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a sales representative w/o any technical expertise. You can't identify the needs of the customer if you don't speak the technical language. Maybe I should have been more vocal about this point with the GM.

What I don't understand is why the GM cared so such about the qualifications of the sales staff versus what the regional sales manager actually wanted? What actually does a GM do at a scientific equipment company?

Of note, the regional sales manager (hiring manager) had more sales experience than the GM. I had an interview for a MSL position recently that was quite difficult; the questions asked by the GM were so broad in nature (in comparison to the MSL interview) that I couldn't figure out where he was going with the interview. Maybe he wasn't skilled in asking the right questions.

They haven't said no. So, I'll follow-up with the hiring manager and try to close the sale.


Dustin Levy wrote:Nate,

It’s possible that this potential place of employment is dysfunctional and you don’t want to be there. And, the lack of response is unprofessional, but seems to be becoming more common.

But, don’t lose a potential learning opportunity here. One reason that GMs get to where they are is that they are better at evaluating talent (and therefore surround themselves with better performers) and better at asking questions. You aced the technical interviews because those interviewers asked you questions in your comfort zone. The hiring manager then set you up for a final interview with the GM, who trusts that you have the technical experience for the job. So, the GM has no reason to ask you technical questions, and instead pushes you out of your comfort zone by asking questions about sales. The GM does this not because he or she wants to hear the right answers (this is sales, not science, so there are no “right” answers), but because he or she wants to know how you think on your feet and address questions that you’ve never heard before.

The GM probably isn’t looking for someone with direct sales experience (they wouldn’t have wasted their time meeting you if that were the case). They are looking for someone who has the ability to learn how to sell, and are using sales-related questions to assess your behaviors when you’re out of your comfort zone, as can often happen when you’re in front of a difficult customer.

If you didn’t answer the questions that were asked, you likely disqualified yourself; if you simply guessed at what answer the GM was looking to hear, you likely disqualified yourself. The best you could have done was to give well-reasoned responses based on your previous work/life experiences, ask clarifying questions back to the GM if unsure of the intent of the questions asked to you, and demonstrated a willingness to self assess and learn on the job. If you can honestly look back and say you did the latter, then this company may be dysfunctional and you’re better off not there.

Dustin
Nate W.
 
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Re: Radio Science Post Interview

Postby Nate W. » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:31 pm

The GM probably isn’t looking for someone with direct sales experience (they wouldn’t have wasted their time meeting you if that were the case). They are looking for someone who has the ability to learn how to sell, and are using sales-related questions to assess your behaviors when you’re out of your comfort zone, as can often happen when you’re in front of a difficult customer.




I thought about this. The questions asked by the GM were not behavioral in nature. However, they were just ambiguous in nature. The hiring and technical manager did ask some behavioral sales type questions. However, I got a good vibe from these managers. Sometimes you just can't connect and engage with some individuals. They should at least follow-up with me since they invited me for an interview; I interviewed with eight people and spent over 35 hours on one job.

Is this too much to ask out of common courtesy?
Nate W.
 
Posts: 495
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:48 pm


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