THE PROBLEM: A universal challenge for companies is to hire the right person for the job. Fit is critical.This is especially true when it comes to matching experienced sales professionals to the job. Ideally, hiring managers want to learn as much as possible through an interview process yet that artificial setting is an inherently limited means of truly assessing a candidate’s capabilities. A software company demanded more than the latest in interviewing techniques.They asked what else could be done that comes closer to simulating a sales environment.

THE SOLUTION: To gain deeper insight into a sales candidate’s ability
to communicate, prioritize, address business issues with limited data and act quickly - AustinWorkNet created an “In-Basket Exercise (IBE)”. The IBE simulates an artificial company setting with profiles of a customer, potential client and team members, along with a role defined for the sales candidate to assume in the IBE. The challenge for the sales candidate is to prioritize several emails that have arrived in his email inbox. In addition to the prioritization, the candidate must then craft a response to each email. In one hour, we are able to learn a number of things about the candidate such as:

  1. How he responds to unexpected the changes/expectations (the IBE was not pre-announced). Does he go with the flow? Does he willingly accept the challenge? The is the classic “sweaty palm” exercise.

  2. How the candidate prioritizes his work in a way that is in the company’s best interest. How does he balance the demands of a fussy customer versus a promising lead?

The result of the In-Basket Exercise is a realistic view into the sales candidate in action.

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