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Question Description

I’m working on a market research case study and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Case Study 2
[Your Full Name]
Q1. In Article 2, the interviewee’s self-presentation tactics significantly influence interviewer
rating scores. Please read Barrick, Shaffer, DeGrassi (2009) and briefly explain the three selfpresentation tactics (i.e., appearance, impression management, verbal, and nonverbal behavior).
A:
Q2. The first theme was the recruitment of ticket sales professionals. What were the four subthemes? Which one is your preferred one and why?
A:
Q4. The second theme was the contacts within the interview process. As sub-themes, structured,
unstructured, extensive, and brief interviews were stated. Why the hiring process is often
inefficient, and what would be your solution?
A:
Q5. What qualities are desired in an ideal entry-level ticket sales staff employee from the hiring
managers? perspective?
A:
Q6. Please briefly describe three challenges assessing candidates.
A:
Sport Marketing Quarterly, 2019, 28, 163-174, ? 2019 West Virginia University
How Major League Teams Hire EntryLevel Ticket Sales Representatives:
A Qualitative Analysis
Nels Popp, Michelle Harrolle, and Janelle E. Wells
Nels Popp, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research interests include revenue generation for college athletic departments with an emphasis on sport
ticket sales at both the collegiate and professional sport levels.
Michelle Harrolle, PhD, is the Director of the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program at the University
of South Florida. Her research interests include consumer behavior, sales and esports.
Janelle E. Wells, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program at the University of
South Florida. Her research interests include organizational behavior and human resource issues.
Abstract
Maintaining a robust salesforce is critical for nearly any business. The sport industry is no exception, as
salespeople help sport organizations generate essential ticket revenue. While the sport industry is a popular
career option for young professionals, relatively few aspiring sport managers desire to work in sales. As
such, entry-level sport ticket sales positions experience high turnover. The purpose of this study is to assess
the hiring processes of recruitment, evaluation, and selection of sales candidates among North American
professional sport leagues. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 ticket sales hiring managers from
teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL). Data
analysis from interviews revealed four primary themes: (a) recruitment as an active and continuous process,
(b) contrasting approaches to interviewing, (c) hiring managers? preferences for ideal candidates, and (d)
challenges assessing candidates. Several subthemes were identified. Implications for faculty, practitioners,
and students are discussed.
Keywords: hiring processes, professional sports, ticket sales, qualitative, hiring managers
http://doi.org/10.32731/SMQ.283.092019.04
Introduction
For many business industry sectors, filling sales
positions is often a struggle, and salesperson turnover
remains a vexing problem due to the costs of recruitment, onboarding, and retention (Boles, Dudley,
Onyemah, Rouzies, & Weeks, 2012). The sport business
industry is no exception, with high levels of turnover
frequently reported among entry-level (ticket) sales
hires (King, 2010; Mickle, 2010; Pierce & Irwin, 2016;
Sattler & Warren, 2016). This problem has been exacerbated as professional teams and National Collegiate
Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletic
departments attempt to employ greater numbers of
sales professionals (Pierce, Popp, & McEvoy, 2017).
Sales positions remain the most prevalent entry-level
positions available to those wishing to work in the
sport industry (Pierce, Petersen, Clavio, & Meadows,
2012) due to both the importance of sales positions
as a revenue generator and the difficulty in finding
well-qualified applicants. While at least a few major
league sports franchises have begun to include psychometric screening (Fischer, 2016) and mock training
exercises in their sport sales hiring processes (Burns,
2016; Irwin & Sutton, 2011; King, 2010), many sport
organizations appear to still rely primarily on traditional face-to-face interviews (Irwin & Sutton, 2011;
Wanless & Judge, 2014). Such interviews, particularly
those that are unstructured, have been shown to be
Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
165
less effective in the hiring of successful sales professionals in other industries due to a lack of congruence
between factors evaluated in the employment interview and actual job functions (Roberge, 2015; Sager
& Farris, 1986; Tsai, Chen, & Chiu, 2005) or because
of job candidates faking behaviors during interviews
(Levashina & Campion, 2007).
Sport industry-specific research has been conducted
on the characteristics and competencies most sought
by sport sales hiring managers (Pierce & Irwin, 2016;
Pierce, Lee, & Petersen, 2014; Shreffler, Schmidt,
& Weiner, 2018; Wakefield, 2011), but virtually no
work has been conducted regarding how effective
sales managers are at evaluating candidates on those
competencies during the hiring process. Several
researchers (Irwin & Sutton, 2011; Popp, Simmons, &
McEvoy, in press; Wanless & Judge, 2014) have sounded a call for improved methods of sales talent acquisition and retention within the sport industry because,
as Irwin and Sutton (2011) suggested, sport sales
hiring managers continue to be fooled by candidates
who appear strong in a face-to-face interview setting
but lack the abilities to perform on the sales floor.
In addition, sport managers are just as interested in
assessing non-readily observable attributes (e.g., drive
or coachability) as those that are easily seen (Bravo,
Won, & Shonk, 2012) but often struggle to do so under
traditional interview structures.
Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory study was
to examine the hiring processes of recruitment, evaluation, and selection of sales candidates among North
American professional sport leagues. For scholars, this
research provides a framework for understanding the
hiring methods of one of the most important human
resources for sport organizations: the sales staff. For
practitioners, such research will provide valuable information to improve hiring processes and ultimately
job performance and organizational efficiency.
Literature Review and Theoretical
Framework
One challenge for sales managers within sport organizations is the frequency with which they must
hire entry-level employees who often possess little
experience (Sattler & Warren, 2016; Pierce et al., 2012).
In addition, every year, thousands of recent college
graduates express a desire to work in the sport industry but not necessarily in the field of sales, despite
that sector being responsible for the large majority of
available positions within the industry (Pierce et al.,
2017; Shreffler et al., 2018). As such, sport sales managers are under pressure to identify good candidates
among a large number of applicants who have limited
166
Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
experience and may project a favorable but inaccurate
image of themselves during the interview process
(Irwin & Sutton, 2011). As several sport sales observers
have noted (Bouchet, Ballouli, & Bennett, 2011, King,
2010; Pierce & Irwin, 2016), sports teams and athletics
departments have not been overly successful in the
hiring process, with high levels of sales staff turnover
often reported. Thus, it is important to examine the
hiring process from a macro perspective to determine
where inefficiencies or incongruences may exist.
Barrick, Shaffer, and DeGrassi (2009) suggested
social influence theory provides an excellent lens from
which to view the interplay between job applicant and
job interviewer. At its most basic level, social influence
posits influencers?in this case, interviewees?will
utilize tactics and attributes within their control to
influence others?interviewers?in a desired direction.
Barrick and colleagues argued employers may be
swayed positively or negatively by the interviewee, but
many hiring managers may not be fully aware of this
cognitive process taking place based on the applicant?s
interview performance, particularly in terms of the
interviewee?s self-presentation tactics. Huffcutt, Van
Iddekinge, and Roth (2011) suggested a limit exists as
to the amount of information interviewers can process
or recall during an interview and that other factors
may influence applicant evaluation, including items
such as interview design or interviewer personality.
In the Barrick et al. study, self-presentation tactics of
the interviewee had a significant influence on interviewer rating scores, particularly with unstructured
interviews. Previous research has found relationships
between self-presentation of an interviewee and
employability based on the hiring manager?s level of
self-monitoring of impression management behaviors
(Hazer & Jacobson, 2003). Unfortunately, as Kimball
(1998) pointed out, while sales managers may know
what they seek in job candidates, they are not always
effective at quantifying their evaluations. In addition,
Bouchet and colleagues (2011) found that, in a major sport organization, managing an effective sales
force was derailed in part by hiring managers who
were poor at articulating strategies during salesforce
development, a practice other researchers have suggested is widespread within certain segments of the
sport industry (Wanless & Judge, 2014). By examining
the hiring process itself, the current research offers
insight into the extent to which employers are aware
of, and account for, the social influence exuded among
prospective salespeople and how effective interview
processes are in identifying effective sales hires.
Several methodologies are available to evaluate sales
candidates during the hiring process: (a) personal
interviews, (b) skills testing, (c) personality/trait tests,
(d) bio-data, (e) assessment centers, and (f) reference
checks (Cron, Marshall, Singh, Spiro, & Sujan, 2013;
Randall & Randall, 2001; Robertson & Smith, 2001).
While personal interviews are used most frequently
for sales hiring evaluation, research examining the
use of personal interviews by hiring managers has
often demonstrated poor reliability, validity, and job
attribute congruence (Dipboye, Wooten, & Halverson,
2004; Randall & Randall, 2001). In addition, previous
research suggests the highly-rated attributes sought by
sales managers are not easily assessed through traditional face-to-face interviews, such as communication
skills (Kimball, 1998), enthusiasm, professionalism,
self-confidence (Tomkovick, Erffmeyer, & Hietpas,
1996), or a desire to work in the sales industry (Johnston & Cooper, 1981). Furthermore, these desired
attributes may be assessed more effectively using
alternative interviewing protocols (Oliphant, Hansen,
& Oliphant, 2008).
Based on previous established literature, the research
team developed the following research questions in
order to help address the current gaps in our understanding of the sales hiring process within the sport
management literature.
RQ1: How do North American major league teams
recruit job candidates for entry-level ticket sales
positions?
RQ2: Once sales managers identify candidates, what
are the hiring processes for entry-level ticket sales staff
within major league teams?
RQ3: From the hiring managers? perspective, what
qualities are desired in an ideal entry-level ticket sales
staff employee?
RQ4: How do hiring managers assess desirable
qualities during the interview process for entry-level
ticket sales staff?
Method
Due to the dearth of literature on the sales hiring processes within the sport industry, the current research
was designed as an exploratory, qualitative study. A
purposive sampling technique was utilized, identifying individuals who were responsible for the hiring
of sales personnel within major league professional
sports teams.
To ensure the sample was information-rich and
would provide a robust data set on the perspectives
of hiring managers, we used specific criteria to select
the interviewees. All respondents worked within the
professional sport industry at the team level and were
responsible for hiring staff for entry-level ticket sales
positions. Respondents were recruited from existing
relationships with sport executives in sales and
through personal referrals. Twenty-one individuals
were individually invited via email or through personal networks to take part in the in-person interview,
and all 21 agreed to participate. The research team
conducted semi-structured interviews with participants, all of whom were employed by teams in the
four North American major professional sport leagues
(Major League Baseball [MLB], National Basketball
Association [NBA], National Football League [NFL],
National Hockey League [NHL]). Interviewees had
worked as managers for a mean of 6 years and had
worked in sales an average of 11 years (see Table 1).
An interview guide was developed based on the
research questions and prior sport sales hiring literature (Pierce & Irwin, 2016; Pierce et al., 2017). Hiring
managers were asked to share their personal perspectives and experiences related to the employment of
entry-level ticket sellers. Specifically, they provided
data on recruitment, the sales hiring process, the
characteristics of sales candidates, and their personal
hiring philosophies. Sample questions included the
following: ?How would you describe your hiring
philosophy or style??; ?Describe your complete sales
position applicant process.?; and ?Describe the ideal
sales candidate.?
After obtaining approval from the Institutional
Review Board and consent from interviewees, two
researchers interviewed respondents within the executive?s office or in the organization?s conference room.
Interviews lasted between 30 to 75 minutes each.
During the summer of 2017, data was collected until
data saturation emerged and themes and topics began
to repeat (Guest, Bunce, & Johnson, 2006).
After the data was transcribed verbatim and
pseudonyms were created for each participant, the
data was entered into a qualitative software program
(NVivo 11) for coding analysis. After each researcher
independently coded four transcripts, the initial coded
themes were discussed to ensure intercoder reliability
(Creswell, 2012). Once agreement was met across the
higher-level themes within the data, the researchers
employed an open coding process as recommended by
Corbin and Strauss (2008). Subsequently, initial codes
were folded into key themes to generate the final codes
presented in the results (Creswell, 2012). For example,
the initial code of preferred hiring traits was divided
into three subthemes, including hiring manager?s
preferences, job interview etiquette, and ?foot in the
door? issues. As a final step, key data points including
specific quotes were extracted to support the themes
(Corbin & Strauss, 2008).
Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
167
Table 1. Participants? Demographic Data
Gender
Title
League
Years in
Sales
Years as
Manager
Andrew
male
Manager of Inside Sales
NHL
6.5
0.25
Brian
male
Senior Director Ticket Sales
NBA
7.5
4.5
Connor
male
Manager Client Retention
MLB
3
0.25
Carl
male
VP Ticket Sales and Services
MLB
18
13
David
male
Director of Sales
MLB
17
6.5
Dylan
male
Manager of Inside Sales
NHL
6
3
Dean
male
Director of Sales
NFL
10.5
7.5
Don
male
Director Sales
MLB
20
15
Eric
male
Manager of Inside Sales
NBA
4
0.25
Justin
male
VP Ticket Sales and Service
NBA
20
10
Jason
male
Ex. VP Sales and Marketing
NHL
17
9
Jack
male
Manager Sales Development
MLB
4.5
2
Pseudonym
Josh
male
Director of Ticket Sales
NFL
21
15
Maddy
female
Director Client Retention
MLB
12
6
Megan
female
Manager of Inside Sales
NHL
5
1.5
Reid
male
Coordinator Ticket Services
MLB
5
2
Richard
male
Manager Inside Sales
NBA/NHL
7
4
Ross
male
Director of Corporate Sales
NHL
13
7
Susan
female
VP Ticket Sales
NHL
15.5
12
Sam
male
Manager Inside Sales
NBA
5.5
2
Steve
male
Senior Director Ticket Sales
NBA
9
5
Note that two of the researchers teach sales courses
at both the undergraduate and graduate level and have
strong opinions on the ideal sales process, thus potentially introducing biases into the research process. In
order to manage this potential bias within the analysis,
a third researcher examined the data to provide an
unbiased view of the hiring processes within the sport
sales industry.
Results
While examining the hiring process for inside sales,
the research goal was to answer the four research
questions related to the recruitment, selection, and
evaluation of ideal candidates. Four main themes
emerged: (a) recruitment as an active and continuous
process, (b) contrasting approaches to interviewing, (c)
hiring managers? preferences for ideal candidates, and
(d) challenges assessing candidates. Additionally, each
main theme included subthemes within the data.
Recruitment of Ticket Sales Professionals
Within the recruitment phase of hiring sales professionals, four subthemes emerged from the data: (a) the
active and continuous process during recruitment, (b)
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Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
digital recruitment tools, (c) face to face interactions,
and (d) systematic referral systems.
Recruitment as an active and continuous process.
Only two managers suggested they solely recruit and
hire when they have openings, while eleven hiring
managers specifically stated they recruit year-round.
Hiring managers either never know when they might
have an opening or they always want to have candidates in their pipeline. Jason, a 17-year veteran who
has worked for NHL, MLB, and NFL teams, acknowledged that he tells recruits (that he likes) he may not
have an opening but will continue talking with them
to develop a relationship in hopes they may still be
looking for a position when the hiring cycle opens up.
He tells applicants, ?you may or may not get plucked
off before then. But if you?re not, now I know you?re in
the pipeline.?
Two managers suggested their recruitment efforts
continue beyond the interview because they know
good candidates are frequently weighing multiple job
offers, either from other teams or in other industry
sectors. For example, Eric, a Manger of Inside Sales
within the NBA, said after his team interviews a
strong candidate, they begin sending that candidate
?hype emails? containing information about the sales
program and culture. In another instance, Sam, a
relatively new manager in the NBA with two years of
managerial experience, suggested:
So more than ever I see that we have to recruit.
Our pay scales probably haven?t excelled as
much as (in other industries) in the last 10 years,
so you still have to go home to mom and dad
and say that I?m getting a $10-an-hour job and
there?s some real angst there? So more than
ever I see we have to recruit our inside sales
classes that won?t make it the entire 12 months
because they?re like ?nope, this isn?t for me.?
Digital recruitment tools. Data reported by respondents suggested a range of approaches to candidate
recruitment. Fourteen managers stated recruitment
starts with posting jobs on the sport industry recruitment website Teamworkonline.com. For major league
sport teams, this seems to be the common starting
point, although not every sales manager treated applicants from Teamworkonline.com the same way. Two
managers suggested at one time the website was the
sole source of applicants, but that is no longer the case,
in large part due to the high volume of candidates
produced through the website, many of whom are not
qualified. As Ross, a Director of Sales at an NHL club
with 13 years of sales experience, said, ??if you put a
post up for a month (on Teamworkonline.com), you?ll
get a thousand resumes. Out of those, maybe 50 of
them are worth a phone call interview, and maybe one
of them ends up making it.? Another manager, Dylan,
a Manager of Sales in the NHL, suggested of his next
sales class of five hires, ??only one person (was) hired
from teamworkonline.? Sam said they typically have
a job posted on Teamworkonline.com year-round to
ensure a steady stream of applicants, while another
manager said they get a national pool of applicants
from the website but that most local applicants apply
through the team?s website.
Four respondents specifically mentioned LinkedIn, a
social media platform that provides a two-way communication tool where the hiring managers can find
candidates and candidates can contact potential hiring
managers. Jason stated, ?our managers will actively
recruit through LinkedIn ? they?re identifying people
that they think could be great inside sales prospects.?
David mentioned how a candidate reached out to him
using LinkedIn, and he ?talked to him for 20 minutes
and he had some really good questions. He just graduated and just based on that conversation, I sent him to
our hiring manager.? Hiring managers are including
email addresses on LinkedIn to provide easy access to
their contact information. Megan, a manager in the
NHL with five years of sales experience, noted, ?I have
my contact information on LinkedIn so that shows me
they?re already taking the first step, the first initiative
to go and try to stand out from the others.?
Face-to-face interactions. One important finding
to note within the recruitment process was that sales
hiring managers are no longer content to post a job
and see who applies. Instead, respondents continually
emphasized resources are being spent to send team
representatives externally for recruitment efforts.
Attendance at job and recruitment fairs, particularly
job fair events focused on sport sales positions, was
mentioned by nine respondents, with six respondents
specifically traveling to recruit. Sport sales combines
were recruiting opportunities for five of the managers.
Dylan noted they now host their own job fairs and
have seen success, stating, ?I think last year when we
had our recruiting event here, our career fair, we hired
four people just from that event alone. That?s a high
number when you really think about it.?
Eight managers indicated all their entry-level sellers
are recent college graduates, so managers are becoming more engaged in campus visits. Some managers
suggested certain schools have developed a strong
reputation for developing sales talent and that they
regularly include visits to those specific universities to
build relationships and gain high caliber candidates.
Systematic referral systems. A final recruitment
method cited by six respondents was utilizing referrals
from current employees or their personal network.
Ross went so far as to suggest:
I?ve always operated much more heavily on
referrals. If you go and look out among our sales
team, ? I think 90% of them would be people
that I?ve hired. And out of those 90%, 90% of
those would be people that were hired off of
referral versus a more traditional means if you
will, such as teamworkonline. So, a lot of word of
mouth.
Dean, a director of sales in the NFL, elaborated
further: ?Recently we actually filled about six positions that were never posted. We really have been just
recruiting so everyone on the team knows that if they
know of someone that is in the industry or wants to
be in the industry that has the characteristics that
we?re looking for, to get us a resume. So we?re always
recruiting.? Don, a senior director of Sales in MLB,
suggested he even uses sales managers at other teams
to help with referrals, ?If Charles has found someone
that worked for the [team] and I trust him to tell me,
what?s the skinny with this guy and the same thing
Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
169
vice versa?People that have worked here have gone to
work for him.?
Contrasts Within the Interview Process
When examining the interview processes, three
sub-themes emerged from the data: (a) structured
versus unstructured interviews, (b) extensive versus
brief assessments, and (c) inefficiencies in the hiring
process.
Structured versus unstructured interviews. When
examining the overall structure of the interview
process, some managers were more formalized in
their interview processes, utilizing structured or
semi-structured interview question protocols and
sought very specific attributes in the interview. For
example, Brian, a Senior Director of Sales in the NBA,
very specifically suggested that ?there?s eight key traits
we try and ask something about each of those eight
key traits. And then if I were to summarize the three
main points, the most important thing is that we’re
looking for somebody who is coachable, somebody
who is competitive, and somebody who is intellectually curious.? Conversely, six managers stated they
did not use detailed questions or structured processes
when interviewing candidates. For example, Josh, a
Director of Ticket Sales in the NFL with 21 years of
sales experience, determined, ?most of my questions
will come right off the hip as I?m meeting with somebody.? And 17 respondents utilized multiple layers
of interviewing, starting with phone interviews and
advancing to face-to-face interviews as well as using
several managers or senior sales representatives as
part of the interview process. When using multiple
people to spend time with the interviewee, 17 of the
21 sales managers suggested they frequently brought
all interviewers together during or after the interview
process to assess candidate performance.
Extensive versus brief. For the most part, recruitment efforts of sales candidates were fairly consistent
across managers. However, the paths were much more
divergent when it came to the interviewing procedures. Perhaps the most notable dichotomy was whether a manager had a candidate go through actual sales
exercises. While the interview process for most teams
still consists of traditional face-to-face interviews with
team personnel, nine teams have begun putting sales
candidates through day-long sales workshops (n = 2)
or actual sales calls (n = 7) to help determine whether
they are a fit for the program. Carl, a Vice President of
Sales with 18 years of sales experience, works at a team
that engages in this practice. He explained:
So we start with this gigantic cloud of individuals and boil that down to maybe two dozen
people and we bring them in on a Saturday
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Volume 28 ? Number 3 ? 2019 ? Sport Marketing Quarterly
and we spend the entire day with them….
Where they come in, we do some icebreakers,
we do some get-to-know-you kind of things,
we do some training in the morning, we feed
them lunch and then they get on the phones in
the afternoon and then we have an interview
process in the end. And if it?s in the season, we
have them come back and stay in a suite that
night, more of a social aspect of it. We feel like
after an 8 to 10 hour day, we have a pretty good
indication of who this person is. ?I know that?s
how we hired the entire time we were in [team]
and it just works. I mean I think the proof is in
the pudding.
When considering the effectiveness of extensive
interviewing, where candidates role play, engage in
on-site workshops, or make actual phone calls, Maddy,
a director of client retention for an MLB franchise,
stated:
Anybody can turn it on for an hour and give the
best presentation of themselves and be buttoned
up and suited up. But I think when you?re with
somebody for 5?6 hours during a strenuous
interview process where there?s 30 other people
that want the same job and you?re putting them
through ups and downs and you?re pushing
them to be uncomfortable even. You?re telling
them to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, you?re pushing them really out there
and then you?re putting them on the phones.
By hour 4?5, they can?t possibly be faking this
anymore and you get a real sense of who they
are. And then it?s leading into it, it?s asking them
for specific situations and then asking them,
this is what a day in life is going to be like. Can
you see yourself doing it? And really making
them be honest with themselves about it. Some
people will be like uh, uh, thank you but no, I?m
going somewhere else. At least we didn?t make
a mistake cause we interviewed them for five
questions over an hour and then we?re stuck.
Justin, a vice president of sales with an NBA team,
was even more direct, suggesting he believes he sees all
he needs to make an assessment during the interview
process by how a candidate performs during his team?s
sales workshop:
There?s some people when you walk out of there
and you?re like ?fuck that person is it,? because
they are pounding away, listening to what you
are saying, asking you questions, pitching
people. Talk about throwing you off the dock
and figuring out if you can swim. This is as close
as you can get. We may give you a 30-second
tutorial on how to swim, but that ain?t going to
help you so much when you get on the phone.
Conversely, Carl indicated some teams (not his) dedicate far less time on the actual interview process and
??hire off of Skype. I don?t think you can determine
over a Skype interview or a group interview with 40
people in 30 minutes?so we spend an entire day with
them.? Carl?s assessment was essentially confirmed
when Steve, a senior director of ticket sales at an NBA
club, stated it was not unusual for their team to offer a
sales position to a candidate after a successful one to
two-hour Skype interview if a candidate did not live
within reasonable driving distance of the team.
Inefficiencies in the hiring process. One issue that
became apparent when talking to ticket sales hiring
managers is the hiring process is often inefficient. Two
veteran managers specifically noted they have become
more efficient in their hiring processes, but the data
offered evidence suggesting this was not the case with
all teams. For example, David shared the story of his
personal interview process when he was looking for a
sport sales position:
The most grueling interview I ever went through
was with the [Team] for a suite sales position.
Got a two-hour phone interview, then I drove
two and a half hours to go face to face with HR.
Standard HR questions. And then the manager.
Ok, see ya later. Then they brought me back for a
third and fourth interview. HR again, manager
again. Then the guy above the manager. Then
the person above that. And in my head, I had a
million questions because they kept asking what
else you got, what else you got. So I just came
with a list.
Steve also described his team?s interview process,
which seemed rife with inefficiencies:
Normally, we?ll come out of it and everybody
asks similar questions, maybe not in the same
way, but they?ll usually get some sort of answers about it. What we want to hear from the
other managers who talk to them is how they
answered those questions. And if certain things
came up that we heard, we want to see if they
came up to the other managers as well or if
they gave different answers. We want to kind of
see what it sounds like. After that, that?s when
we?ll?if there were things that didn?t make
sense to all of us?that?s when we?ll go back out
to that person for that second interview if we
think that?s necessary.
Hiring Managers? Preferences
When considering hiring managers? preferences for
ideal candidates, three sub-themes emerged from the
data: (a) positive attributes of sales candidates, (b) job
interview etiquette, and (c) ?foot in the door,? or using
sales as an entry point into the sport industry.
Positive attributes of sales candidates. The reality
for hiring managers among major league sport teams
is a virtually unlimited number of job applicants but
very few who truly understand the nature of sales.
Typically, many candidates have never had a sport
sales job or experience. As a result, respondents in
the study frequently cited other characteristics sought
during the interview process beside experience. Top
traits and attributes mentioned included the following:
(a) confidence/aggressive (n = 14), (b) coachability (n =
11), (c) communication skills/storytelling ability (n =
10), (d) positive attitude (n = 9), (e) work ethic/drive

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