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This item is filed under these categories:
Job Interviews Sales and Selling Hiring Honesty

During an interview with an applicant for a sales job, his cell phone rang and he then took a brief business call. When it ended, he used the call as an example of his strong sense of customer service. How does his sound to you?

In a word, something about this call does not ring true. If a job applicant absolutely must take a cell phone call during an interview, he or she should advise the interviewer ahead that there is a particular situation that may cause this interruption. This type of call should be reserved for only the most urgent or critical communication. In such a context, the phone call is totally understandable.

As a rule, when a salesperson is meeting with a customer, that customer should be the center of the salesperson's attention. In your situation, as a potential employer, you were the customer and this applicant was a salesperson trying to sell his labor to you. It is a lapse in judgment for him to take a non-emergency call while meeting with you. And, his cavalier rationalization after the call did not help matters. One has to wonder if he is going to have these kinds of lapses in judgment if he is ultimately a salesperson for your company.

Being highly service oriented is essential in successful selling today, but being honest, trustworthy, and credible is just as important. Perhaps that is why this individual did not sell you.

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