Interview Basics

Pre-Interview

Presentation is important!

Have your suit pressed and ready to go.

For men a suit is a must. Sport coats with a tie are too informal.

For women also a suit. Try to stay away from dresses, very short skirts, trousers, bright colors, big jewelry, and heavy cologne or perfume. If you are unsure about your wardrobe, err on the conservative side.

Secondly, have important interview items like extra resumes, reference names and numbers, letters of recommendation, notebook, pen, brag book or portfolio in a briefcase or organizer. Have a calendar handy to schedule the next interview.

Be on Time!

Be sure to have directions mapped out ahead of time. It is also a good idea to have the telephone number handy just in case you run into a problem. Never just show up late. Call the interviewer and let them know what has happened and ask if it is ok to still come or would it be best to reschedule.

Research!

With the advent of the Internet, research has been made extremely easy! Key things to focus on include:

  • Company Philosophy
  • Key Clients
  • Financial Reports and Stock Prices
  • Latest Press Releases
  • Key Partnerships with other companies
  • Products and Services
  • Future Plans

Prepare Questions!

While doing research write down 5-10 questions about the company. These questions may include specifics about the position.

  • What is a typical day like at the office?
  • What has made your top rep successful?
  • What do you look for in a sales representative?
  • Why did you decide to work for XYZ Company?
  • What is the thing you like least about XYZ Company?
  • What type of advancement opportunities are there from this position?
  • Does your company promote from within?
  • What type of training does the company offer? Is it ongoing?
  • Who will I be reporting to if offered the position?

Arriving At the Interview

Arrive Early!

It is best to arrive 10-15 minutes early for an interview. This will give you time to relax and gather your thoughts. Let the receptionist know you have arrived and with whom you are meeting.

Fill out paperwork!

Fill out any paperwork COMPLETELY! Although this may be tedious, applications are a vital part of the interview process and shows potential employers that you have attention to detail. Filling out “see resume” demonstrates a lack of ability to follow directions and makes a poor first impression.

If something does not apply to you, write N/A for “Not Applicable”.

Show Time

First Impressions!

Greet your interviewer with direct eye contact and a firm, not gorilla style, handshake. Remember energy and enthusiasm are important.

Interview Questions!

Be prepared ahead of time to answer typical questions usually asked on sales interviews. Typical questions may be as follows:

  • What do you know about XYZ company?
  • Why are you looking to leave your current employer?
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  • What do you consider your strength? Weakness?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • How would you rate your organization skills? Presentation skills?
  • Do you work best alone or with a team?
  • What percentage of quota did you achieve?
  • How were you ranked among your peers in sales?

Closing the Interview!

Close the interview by asking for a commitment. Directly ask the interviewer:

  • Do you have any questions concerning my background?
  • Do you see me in this position?
  • What is the next step?
  • Do I seem like I would be a fit with your company?

Listen for a commitment to be invited back for a second interview. If you sense they are not committing, probe to find out what concerns they may have.

Follow-up

Follow up with your recruiter immediately following your interview. Give detailed information on your interview so they can quickly follow up!

Looking for more tips?  Check out our sales career blog and search the various categories. 
Thank You Letter!
Send a “thank you” letter within 24 hours of your interview! Or you won’t even be considered for the next round.