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Interview Hell or Heaven? Part 3

I have participated in many interviews in my career - both as an interviewer and an interviewee. I’ve had some fantastic experiences and terrible experiences. Over the next few newsletters, I’ll share some of those with tips on how to conduct good interviews.

Interview Hell

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to come up cases where the interviewing company did a poor job. I call this ‘Interview Hell’. I could literally write a year full of newsletters about these bad experiences. These examples are all ‘real life’ interviews that have taken place in the past 5 years:

Example 3: North American Sales Director Animal Health and Nutrition

The interview started well enough. The interviewer seemed, positive, engaging, and genuinely interested in the candidate. Within a few minutes, that all changed. The fear based questions came one after the other. This person was an academic who had been placed in a leadership role because of his friendship with a company owner. Instant sales were expected. Instant results were expected. They needed more than 10X growth within the first year (even though the company had been in existence for about 10 years and had experienced minimal growth in the last 4 years).

The candidate needed to know all the key players in all the companies that they’d be hiring. They’d be expected to get sales on the first visits to customers that didn’t have a history of showing interest in the companies. Even with the unrealistic expectations, the candidate fielded the questions well. 6 months after the interview, the candidate never heard from the potential employer again….and the position hasn’t been field. I true case of ‘ghosting’ a candidate, then not being able to follow through on finding that ‘perfect’ candidate.

A Better Alternative

The perfect candidate doesn’t exist. I don’t care what you think you know. Even if you’ve been in academia….and you feel you know how to use those expert ideas to transform our industry – it’s not going to happen.


  • The candidate will need time to ‘get his/her feet under them’

  • The candidate will need some training

  • Your product or service will need to be tried and tested before it’s sold in the industry.

  • Giving a candidate an update on their status is a very ‘human’ thing to do. Ghosting them will make your company look like a jerk and very ‘inhuman’.

  • And…a big one here. If you want to get yourself kicked out of the Agriculture industry…pressure all your prospects to buy from you on the first visit. You won’t be coming back for a second visit.


That perfect candidate doesn’t exist. But there are good candidates out there. You just need the eyes to identify them. 


Bring out the Best in Your Team


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