Interview story with a 56 year old Sales Manager

I had an interview with a 56 year old Sales and Business Development Manager for one of my teams this week and want to share some thoughts. I will summarize the most important parts of the interview and where he stood out.


He was dressed in a classic black suit, wearing a tie and carrying a brief case with him. I sat him down in the meeting room and offered him a coffee. My colleague who would be working together with him in this position joined me in the interview. When we came into the meeting room the first impression was very good because of:


1. He was standing and not sitting at the table. This shows respect and professionalism. 

2. He did not fully understand the name of my colleague and kindly asked for it again and then greeted by saying the names

3. He was dressed as the position required. In this case in a professionally looking suit.


We started the interview and he told us who he is and what he was doing over the course of the last years. He started with the last relevant position he held from 1999 to 2005 where he was an Account Executive. Explaining the details of his responsibilities and position he seemed very euphoric and it showed that he liked that company a lot. He mentioned some accomplishments and milestones and moved on to the next position. Before he moved on again he asked us if it was too much detail. Actually it was the perfect portions he gave us. After every position he told us why he was leaving or why he was made redundant. This detail always finished it up perfectly.


After about 25 minutes he ended in 2012 and we chatted about the position and explained the details of our company and team. Very soon he started to ask a few questions and took notes constantly. He had an elegant notebook and pen but it did not look like he wanted to show that he had money. His questions were very much to the point and specific on what we talked about.


After another 30 minutes we came to the official Q&A section of the interview for the interviewee. He asked about the team, who is responsible for what and which tools he would have access to like laptop, mobile phone, car, etc. We sorted it out and moved on. One of the last questions he asked was about the next steps and who he needs to meet and in which time frame.


At the very end of the discussion he said that he wanted to mention his age at this point. He told us that he is 56 as we can see on the CV. He asked if that was a problem for us or the rest of the team while explaining that he always worked in young teams and thinks this is was keeps him so young and dynamic. I was very impressed by this open minded exchange and told him that this was no problem at all as I think a certain age helps in Sales, especially in Business to Business.


Here are some of the points that I recognized as very positive:

4. He used a lot of positive words like “openness” “adaptability” “fast learning” and mentioned his strengths and weaknesses on the go. For example, once he said that he really likes challenges and learning new things constantly. On the other hand he can get bored by routines but he knows that this is some part of every job.

5. He was very open about his age and by doing so he turned it into a positive aspect for the job before we could think about it being good or bad.

6. At the end of the interview he told me that he likes to recall people’s names and used the name of the colleague and mine when we said good bye

7. Mentioning why he left his past companies or got made redundant while at the same time not using negative language at any point

8. He was very well prepared. He informed himself about the industry, the company and the job and asked questions accordingly.


The next morning I had an email in my inbox with the subject: “Position as Sales Manager – Our meeting from yesterday”. He thanked us again for our time and expressed his high interest in the position and is looking forward to our feedback. Of course I called him later that day and scheduled the 2nd interview.


I’m sure many people can learn from this great experience. I also hope that you can get a better sense from this what counts and what give the interviewer a good experience with you.


If you have any questions or comments please let me know if the comment section.