While interviewing is by no means the only part of the job seeking process, it is often the final hoop that you must jump through before landing that perfect sales position. By the time you are ready to sit down for an interview, you have hopefully already looked carefully at several potential job opportunities, putting each of them through a strict screening process to find out which of them are actually viable options. Hopefully, you haven’t wasted time applying to jobs which you really have no affinity for and you haven’t gone to interviews with companies who you aren’t fully interested in working for.
But what if you’ve really done your homework, and you know that you’ve spotted a job that could be really great for you? You’ve sent in your resume, and you’ve been invited for an interview. How should you prepare so that you can maximize your chances?
In this article, we’ll go over a few different ways that you can make sure that you get the most out of the interviewing process. If you still need more help, you’re in luck. There are plenty of resources available both on- and off-line that you can consult. For starters, check the podcast that inspired this post titled “Getting a Sales Job Perfecting The Interview Process.”
Okay, here are five quick tips to consider.
1. Know the Company
It’s a huge mistake to go to an interview without having at least some general idea about the company at which you are applying for a position. This sounds like common sense, but many sales professionals do not follow this advice. It is inevitable that at some point during the interview, the interviewer will ask you a question something like, “So, how much do you know about our company and what we do?” If your answer is “Nothing,” you have already cut your chances in half. Take an hour or two before the interview to find out about the company. You can easily find out most of this information online, so why hesitate? Do a quick search for any news articles that might tell you more about their recent developments so that you will know what kind of skills they have in high demand.
2. Know the Job
In just the same way, you should also be familiar with the basic profile of the position that you are applying to. Again, much of this information is available online. However, if you are having trouble finding it, you might try reaching out to people working for the company. They will have the most accurate idea of what the position entails. Make a few connections and you might learn even more general information that will help you during the interview.
3. Have Stories Prepared
The interviewer is going to want to hear something about your successes at your last company. Have a few stories prepared that you can use to impress them. These should be specific examples of how you individually were able to increase the profits or market share of your sales territory.
4. Have the Answers
The interviewer is also likely to ask you a wealth of other generic questions. Since these are relatively predictable, there is no reason not to be prepared for them. One that never fails to show up is “What was the biggest mistake that you made during your tenure at your last job?” For this one, make sure to give an answer that is frank, but still doesn’t portray you too negatively. Tell how and why you made your mistake, but also what you learned from it and how this helped you to perform even better in the future.
5. Sell Yourself!
You are applying for a sales job, so it is imperative that the interviewer sees your selling skills in action. As far as this interview is concerned, you are the product. Sell your self in the same way that you would sell any other product. Impress upon them the value that you will add to their company by showing specific ways that you will be able to increase profits. As always, this information should be tailor made to the company and the position for which you are applying. Know what their week points are and demonstrate how you could improve them.
Finally, don’t be afraid t be a little aggressive about getting the job. Show them that you really want it by asking at the end of the interview what further steps they need to go through before giving you the position. If the interviewer is reluctant to give you this information, don’t push it. You don’t want to offend them, you just want to demonstrate that you know how to push forward a deal.
What do you think?
What TIPS do you have on get the most out of the interviewing process? Leave a comment!
Mike & Joe