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The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 14, 2012 • Issue 12:05:01

Ace your sales interview

By Alan Kleinman
Meritus Payment Solutions

It's job hunting season. Many merchant level salespeople (MLSs) find springtime, before summer vacations swing into high gear, is an ideal time to explore new job opportunities. Surprisingly, some applicants think their past performance will carry them, but this is simply not true. In this article, I will share pointers on basic job search etiquette.

Distinguish yourself

Whether you are an experienced MLS or someone new to the payments industry, adhering to the following job search tips may set you apart.

  • En garde! Make sure you have thorough knowledge of what your resume contains. If it's on your resume, potential employers will ask you about it. Be prepared to substantiate all key performance indicators you include.

  • Be accurate and consistent. Your resume should contain accurate contact information. Having to resort to contacting you by email because your resume contains an incorrect phone number is frustrating for recruiters and causes them to question your attention to detail.

    Don't leave outdated resumes posted on job sites, and don't post diverse versions either. While it's important to moderately customize your resume for a specific position, too much variation in your work history can put your honesty and integrity in question.

    Also, proofread, proofread, proofread. You're not a copywriter; however, misspellings and grammatical errors on a resume are deal breakers. It can be difficult to see these types of mistakes after you have spent hours perfecting a resume. Ask someone else to review your resume before you post it online or email it to a potential employer.

  • Don't lie, exaggerate or embellish. Include accurate performance statistics on your resume. Don't attribute group performance to your own individual efforts. A potential employer may verify your claims with your previous employer, your colleagues and your references. If you've failed at something, explain why. It's your job as a salesperson to properly position any negatives. Clean up your resume and polish your story.

  • Be prepared. Research the company you're applying to. Even if you are being pursued, take time to become informed about the company, the industry and the people you'll be meeting. Then, go beyond that. For example, determine what you think about a particular vertical or where the industry is heading. Identify how you've looked beyond your next deal to take advantage of payment trends.

    The always-be-closing (A-B-C) of the play and movie Glengarry Glen Ross is old school. Merchants are looking for consultative partners. Instead of A-B-C, think always-be-creating: create business, create relationships and create opportunities.

    Prepare answers and strategies that show you can see five years ahead and that you are thinking strategically about the future.

  • Act like a professional. Be on time for your appointment, and err on the side of dressing up for in-person interviews, even if you know a given company has a casual dress code. First impressions count; you can never go wrong by looking professional. Also, do not appear disinterested, talk negatively about former employers or put an interviewer on hold during a telephone interview.

  • Play hard to get. It may not be fair, but the reality is you are perceived as more valuable if you are currently employed. Even if you're itching to move on from your present company, stay there until you have secured a new opportunity. Gaps in employment history raise red flags for potential employers.

  • Sweat the small stuff. Even if you decide you are not interested in a company, write a thank-you note (snail mail or email) after your interview, and absolutely follow up. If you exhibit bad manners, recruiters or hiring managers will be quick to share that with other potential employers.

Good luck!

Remember, this industry is small; people's reputations do precede them - good and bad. Be the candidate whose astute professionalism confirms esteem or suspends doubts. Keep this job search etiquette in mind to capitalize on every opportunity. end of article

Alan Kleinman is the Principal of Meritus Payment Solutions, the trusted global payment partner. With a client-first mentality, Meritus provides a breadth of payment and transaction processing solutions that include mobile, credit and debit cards, gift and loyalty cards, electronic benefit transfer, automated clearing house, Check 21 and more. Contact him at akleinman@merituspayment.com or 888-851-7558, ext. 141.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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