You work in the sales department of a medium size company that sells 3D printers

You work in the sales department of a medium size company that sells 3D printers to manufacturers and universities. You supervise the salespeople who meet face to face with potential customers and close the deal with their organizations.  Sales have been flat lately and there is some concern in the company that things are not working as well as they once did when sales growth was healthy. One thing you have noticed in the past two years is that the nature of the people making purchasing decisions for potential customers has become more diverse. In past years, the buyers were primarily middle-aged white men.  Now the buyers are increasingly younger, female, African American and Southeast Asian.  Your own sales force is mostly middle-aged white men who have been the company a long time.

One of your salespeople has just retired leaving a large gap in your department.  He ranked number one in sales for five years running and really kept the department above water.  You requested HR to send you resumes for potential replacements and they have given 3 to choose from.  Candidate 1 is a white middle-aged man who has a stellar sales record selling supplies to similar types of organizations.  After an interview, you are convinced that he could replace your person who retired in terms of revenue.

Candidate 2 is a young man of Southeast Asian descent who is a technical genius.  Having worked at several companies that relied heavily on 3D printers, he regaled you with stories of the innovative uses to which he put them.  You think perhaps this might be the new sales angle the department needs.  His sales numbers were respectable but not as high as Candidate 1.  He wants the job to have the opportunity to expand 3D printing applications.

Finally, Candidate 3 is an African American woman in her 30’s.  She also has a background in IT, having sold computers and office equipment for much of her career.  You ask her how she got into sales in the first place.  She responds that she needed a way to pay for college, so she started selling Tupperware at first, in her neighborhood and then across the city.  She became one of Tupperware’s top salespersons.  From there, she got a job with a large office equipment manufacturer that would only hire her as an administrative assistant.  After much persistence, she got a spot in sales and did well.  Her sales were not as large as Candidate 1 but were growing rapidly.  She stated that 3 D printing was the future and that was where she wanted to be.

All three interviews went well and now you must decide who to hire.

  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of hiring each candidate.

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