10 years ago
January 7, 2015

The Timeline of a Successful Sales Interview

Understanding the sales interview timeline from the perspective of your potential employer and keeping your candidacy viable.

Rhys Metler

The sales interview timeline varies from the time you submit your application to the time you receive an offer according to many factors. When you are excited about a new opportunity the sales interview timeline may seem to take far longer than anticipated, but that does not mean that you are not being considered for the position. Understanding the sales interview timeline from the perspective of your potential employer and knowing what you can do to keep your candidacy viable may help.

Understanding the Sales Interview Timeline

For every position that is filled on the same day as a successful interview, there are many more that take weeks or months to fill. In some cases, an employer may already have decided on the candidate but be required to meet other objectives prior to making an official hire. Unfortunately, there is no standard sales interview timeline candidates can use to benchmark when they might hear back. However, understanding that the employer may be under multiple pressures can ease the pain of waiting.

  • A position may have been approved, but funding for that position may still need to be allocated by busy executives.
  • Changes may have occurred that have the employer’s attention focused on immediate needs.
  • The hiring manager or other decision-makers may have moved into different positions, setting the decision back until replacements are found and ready to take action.

These three impacts on the sales interview timeline happen more often than most candidates might think. The good news is, if your sales interview was successful and you can keep in touch with the employer these impacts might not have a negative impact on your being considered for the position.

What You Can Do to Stay Active During the Sales Interview Timeline

Staying active as you wait for a potential employer to make a decision can improve your peace of mind as well as improve your chances of receiving an offer. There are a few ways that you can stay in touch with a potential employer while waiting for a decision to be made:

  • Prior to leaving your successful sales interview, be sure to understand the employer’s timeline for making a decision so that you know when to follow up.
  • Always follow up immediately after a sales interview with a phone call or e-mail to the interviewer recapping your strengths for and interest in the position.
  • Send further periodic follow ups, being sure to include information likely to interest the employer – just as you do with sales prospects.
  • Make it clear that you are available to provide further information by a phone call or another office visit.

The Sales Interview Timeline: Easier with a Sales Recruiter

Some job candidates try to “push” the sales interview timeline by providing deadlines to potential employers, even if they do not have another offer in hand. This is a risky maneuver; from the employer’s perspective, a candidate who is not willing to wait just a little longer for action might not be the right fit. Unless you truly do have a competing offer that needs a decision quickly, avoid trying to influence any potential employer’s timeline.

This process is usually easier for candidates when they have a sales recruiter working on their side. Sales recruiters have better access to hiring decision-makers, and can keep you updated on the sales interview timeline with realistic expectations and negotiate on your behalf while you continue interviewing for other openings. In this situation it might be difficult to continue the job search with other potential employers, but in most cases this is the right choice; even if a potential employer with a long sales interview timeline has made it clear that you are one of the top candidates, there are no guarantees of an offer. While you wait to hear from an employer, keep up your search to make sure that your career is placed first.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.