Handy interview tips

 

Imagine you get to the interview and it dawns on you that you might actually want the job more than you possibly thought, or the office / environment / opportunity is so much better than you anticipated - if you're not fully prepared then that moment becomes so, so, sooo painful.

Planning for your interview is absolutely critical, so to help you through we've put together a few interview tips to help give you the best chance of nailing that interview...

 

Preparation

The more prepared you are the more relaxed and confident you'll be, even if you have a lot of sales interviews lined up and every employer / recruiter in Bristol chasing after you (awesome) you still want to be in a position where you can pick and choose the best sales position or be able to negotiate a higher salary based on your worth and demand.

Remember - there's no such thing as being over prepared: If you get your planning right it shows the interviewer that you are;

  • Motivated,

  • You have the capacity to learn new topics quickly

  • You are a good researcher (critical in high level sales)

  • You have a good work ethic 

  • ...and most importantly that you actually WANT the job

A lot of sales people often try to wing it and say "Oh yeah I've had a good look at your website (looks great by the way) but maybe you could tell me a bit more about what you do", that's just lazy - its 100 times better if you smash out a 30 second elevator pitch and knock them off their feet with your comprehensive knowledge about their market, sales process, products, culture etc... agree? ...Good...

A few things you could mention in your elevator pitch:

  • I know the company was started in ....

  • Your turnover is £.....

  • I noticed that ........is the owner of.....

  • I see you have sales offices in .... and ..... and .....

  • Your most recent product / service is ..... 

  • You tend to target the ..... sectors....  

 

Know your Interviewer

There are lots of ways to find out more information about who you are going to be interviewed by but LinkedIn is usually the best tool.
Don't go stalking them and sending them friend requests on Facebook or camp outside their house (it doesn't work). Find out their position in the company, how long have they been there, where were they before, have they moved up the career ladder, what's their background?
 
Planning
Plan out your journey carefully the night before, check the location of the office that you are going to be interviewed in and consider things like; do you need to pay for parking? Some parking meters only take change so make sure you have plenty of it.  
 
Plan for things that could potentially go wrong (they usually do)
  • Whats the traffic usually like for that route?

  • Do you have your Sat Nav ready and set up?

  • Make sure you have enough charge on your phone if you are using Google Maps,

  • Do you have the postcode and will that get you right outside their office? 

  • What if the train / bus is delayed? etc etc.

 
Know your CV
Your CV is your story, re-read your CV a few times so you are familiar with your career story (it can be liberating), sometimes it helps if you know the approximate dates of when you were in sales positions just in case the interviewer asks. They also might ask your reasons for leaving a particular role or why there are gaps in employment so make sure you have that covered.
Don't lie, be open and honest - we all make mistakes, show them what you have learned and what you would do differently now.
 
Have some REALLY good questions lined up
Avoid questions like "how much holiday do I get?""how much sick pay do I get?" although these are important, the finer details of these things can be clarified later down the line.
 
Good questions to ask are things like -
  • If I smash my sales targets how quickly could I get promoted? 

  • If I exceed my targets how much money could I make?

  • If I work really hard would I get the opportunity to work in one of your overseas offices?

 
On the Day - remember, first impressions really do count (yep, still)
 
Punctuality
Try to arrive at the location 20 minutes prior to the start time, this gives you time to focus and allows for any problems like traffic jams or annoying tractors who think its absolutely fine to drive up and down a main road during rush hour..... 
If you are early you can even grab a coffee somewhere and maybe do a bit of last minute research.
Get into their reception 10 minutes before the interview. If you are REALLY early go get another coffee, its good to be punctual, but turning up one HOUR beforehand is just weird and don't forget that your interviewer has other things to do in their day so changing their plans can potentially be disruptive for them. 
[All examples used are based on experience by the way]
 
Dress the part
Appearances count for a lot, don't take any risks on this, you've spent many late nights preparing, stalking and learning about their products, don't let minor things spoil your chances.
As default go for a super smart suit, clean smart shirt, well polished shoes. A lot more companies are going smart casual these days, if that is the case we will tell you. Some companies also have dress down Friday, if your interview is on a Friday - do NOT assume that you can dress down too (only if we tell you to!).
 
The finer details are really important, polish your shoes, if you are wearing a tie make sure the knot is straight and your top button is done up, clean your finger nails! If you have piercings you may want to consider taking these out for the interview, but that's up to you.
 
Body language
Over 75% of communication is non-verbal, remember, a picture can paint a thousand words. Sit up straight, try not to cross your arms for long periods of time, don't put your head in your hands like you've lost the will to live (you know what I mean) and don't forget to breathe.
Eye contact - Yep, every single interview help document / video on earth mentions making eye contact - so yes do it, but come on its not a staring contest (that's just weird).
 
Also don't forget:
  • Be enthusiastic 

  • Sell yourself - without being annoying 

  • Be positive, passionate, energetic, engaging and a pleasure to be with.

 
Finally
Enjoy the interview, relax and enjoy it, sales interviews can actually be really good fun, you'll meet some new people, you'll learn more about the company, you'll probably learn something new about yourself, you might make a few mistakes but you'll know not to do that next time. If you don't get the job - don't worry maybe its just not meant to be or maybe you can apply again in the future if you really want to. 
 
If you are going for a sales interview via Talent Wing we'll cover all of this with you comprehensively, but have a good read of this before we speak so you are ahead of the game.
 
Of course if you have any questions, doubts, queries please do just get in touch: tudor@tudor-williams.com
Oh and good luck!