Working out in the field without much supervision is not the kind of role to give to just anybody. Plenty of hiring managers will take on employees who seemed like a great fit for their position at first, only to find out later on that they were regularly slacking on the job. So what are some of the characteristics hiring managers should be looking for when interviewing candidates for a field representative position?
Here are five of the most important in no particular order:
Working in the field requires a great deal of focus that some people just do not have. Without someone looking over their shoulder, certain employees will stray from work-related tasks to personal things, like running errands or making long personal calls.
How to find out: Ask references about the candidate’s ability to stay on task, and check out the candidate’s work history to see how long they have stayed in previous positions.
2. Can Make Tough Decisions
Field reps need to be able to make decisions for the business without asking for advice. Being in the field and dealing with clients means that field reps will be turned to with questions often. In those situations, reps need to be able to respond confidently and to take responsibility when they make the wrong call.
How to find out: Ask candidates for an example of when they were put in a situation where they needed to make a hard decision they were unsure about. Their answer can be very telling.
3. Stays Connected
With the rise of mobile technology, staying connected to managers and coworkers is easier than ever. Field Activity Management software allows managers to set up announcements and chatrooms for employees to use while in the field, but all the technology in the world will not help field reps and managers if it is not being utilized.
How to find out: Pay close attention to how candidates communicate with you, and how quickly they respond to messages and emails. If candidates are not putting in the work to stay in touch during the application process, chances are that those behaviors will carry-over into the field.
4. Honesty and Accountability
Although these are traits to look for in every employee, honesty and accountability are especially important for representatives in the field who can cover up their mistakes more easily than their office counterparts can. While field management software eliminates some of the problems that come up with dishonest employees, like straying from designated locations while working in the field, there will always be employees who try to cheat the system, wasting company time and resources.
How to find out: Be thorough when looking through candidate résumés, and do not be afraid to verify some of the information given by contacting previous employers.
Being able to take advantage of all the tools that management can supply field reps is vital to staying connected and performing tasks in the field efficiently. Reps should know their way around smartphones, tablets, and any other kinds of field management software you can throw at them.
How to find out: This is the easiest one of all. Hiring managers can easily test employee tech-knowledge by asking them a few basic questions. So long as the hiring managers themselves are up to speed with current Field Activity Management technology, they should be able to gauge the candidate’s proficiency.
For field-based organizations, the field team is the engine that keeps operations running smoothly. Making sure the team is comprised of the best individuals available will reflect itself in team performance and allows managers and leaders to put their minds at ease.
Mat Brogie is part of the founding team, and CEO of Repsly, the world's leading solution for high performance retail execution teams. Mat has spent the past 15 years of his career focused on bringing technology enabled business solutions to the consumer goods industry, having implemented solutions for tens of thousands of field reps at companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Pepperidge Farm and hundreds of others.