I want to share the top job interviewing tips that are essential to anyone interviewing for a career in sales. I’ve been the CEO of my own company for more than 20 years, helping multiple companies get acquired for over 1 billion dollars. Before that, I spent 20 years in sales, sales management, and executive management.
I say this not to brag but to show that I have a great deal of experience in this field. I have hired many salespeople, and I want to share the tips below to help you stand out from the competition and get the job.
Before the interview:
I recommend anyone interviewing for a job to create a research document about the company interviewing them. The research should include a description of:
- The company
- Products or services they offer
- Current news
This shows you did your homework, you care, and it gives you, the interviewee, an edge over the competition. Put the research in a clear plastic display folder and present it to the person doing the interview. This puts you far ahead of the other people they’ll interview. It will also serve as a great source of questions you might ask at the appropriate time in the interview.
Skills can be taught, and employers know that. Personality is typically set.
If you are seen as someone who goes more than the extra mile, cares, and is professional- that is far more impressive than someone that may have a little more experience on paper.
Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Tell yourself you’re successful, you’re confident, and feel it real. Think again if you don’t believe that positive affirmations are some odd new age thing. There is strong scientific research to prove that what we think about; we bring about. So, be mindful of how you are speaking to yourself about yourself.
Have several questions ready. Because you will be asked, “Do you have any questions?”
Remember the research, this is a great source of questions.
Here are a couple of good ones:
(Questions 1 and 3 are from @officialsalestips tiktok)
- What has been missing or something you’ve been struggling to find in salespeople you have hired or interviewed for this role?
- Ask a question from your research.
- At the end of the interview, say, “Let’s say you circle back, meet with the team and decide not to move forward with me for the position. What would be some concerns or critiques you could give me as to why?
(If they say they can’t think of any reasons, say great, what are the next steps from here)
During the Interview:
Be ready for the questions you are likely to be asked. Below are some questions that I have personally asked many salespeople when interviewing:
- How do you keep up and stay a “student of sales”?
- Explain something complex to me.
- Do you research prospects before a call or meeting? What information do you want to learn?
- What would you do in your first month in this position? First 90 Days?
- How does [your present employer] bring value to the customer?
- Do you ever stop pursuing a prospect? When?
- What’s your least favorite part of the sales process?
- What has been your experience working on a sales team in the past? Your best experience/your least favorite?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
Here is an important point: Do not embellish your resume. It will become clear if you overstate experience that you don’t have. It’s better to be genuine with your experience and skills. Again, experience isn’t the only thing important to employers. Be professional, well researched, and confident.
Lastly, do NOT speak poorly of your present and any former employer or coworkers. It doesn’t matter if they were terrible-it makes you look unprofessional and negative.
I knew a woman who had a great resume and went to interview at a new company. At the end of the interview, the employer said she wouldn’t be hiring this woman, regardless of her years of experience, because she spent the duration of the interview being negative about her former co-workers and establishment.
As the golden rule says, say something nice, or don’t say anything at all.
After the interview:
It’s a good feeling; the interview is finished. Here are a few things to do after the interview to leave a great impression.
- Send a note to the interviewer, thanking them, and comment on something you learned and why you are excited about the possibility of working there.
- Don’t have your parents call and ask why you weren’t hired. Yes, this has happened. No, it did not get the individual hired.
- Keep your options open. This was one interview. Keep reaching out to new companies and see who is hiring. This will make you stress less about the job and give you more peace of mind.
At the end of the interview process, the best scenario for you is to have more than one job offer. It tells both potential employers you are in demand and really amps up your negotiation position.
If you are reading these tips because you have an interview soon, I wish you all the best!