Valuable Advice on How to Prepare for a Sales Interview.
I have had the opportunity to be part of the interview process as an interviewer and also a candidate too. I’ve been part of panels large enough to form a small government , small panels and I have done many interviews on my own. From all of this experience I think that I can now sum up, fairly credibly, what will make a difference for you to achieve success at your next interview.
Some people think they can wing it! Perhaps these same people think that a successful interview is one that they answer all the questions and provide all the information successfully.
However, it really isn’t what you know that is important, it is how you communicate what you know and how you present yourself that will make all the difference.
Let’s talk about the details.
It’s essential that you’re familiar with the interview location. If you haven’t been there before then make a practice run some time before. Nothing worse than arriving late, or worse still, doing a no show. It certainly is difficult to overcome this. It can be done, but takes an understanding interviewer to give a second chance.
Remember that everything you do at the interview demonstrates how you will be as part of the team. So if you’re late for something as important as your interview, chances are that you will be late for your clients too.
Confirm the interview time close to the interview day if it was organised a few weeks ahead. There really isn’t any excuse for getting the time incorrect and turning up late or not at all.
Find out who will be interviewing you, their roles in the company as this will give you valuable information about their questioning focus during the interview.
Know your own CV –
You may think this is strange but there have been times when I’ve wondered if I have the correct CV in front of me to match the person seated in front of me. Be very familiar with your CV and refer to parts of it during the interview. Some candidates make the mistake thinking that the panel will know the CV but to be honest, after reading CVs and interviewing many candidates it is very difficult to remember individual CVs. Respond to questions as though none of the panel have seen your CV!
Make a list of the most important pieces of information about your experience that you really want to share during the interview. Things that will demonstrate your knowledge and skills that are really relevant to the role you’re applying for. At the end of the interview when asked if you have anything further to add, check your list and share anything that you’ve not had the chance to share.
This is extremely important. Make sure that you’ve researched the company’s product thoroughly, their website, their market and main distributers or clients. Refer to this information when appropriate during the interview. No company wants to hire someone who has little interest in their company. So go prepared as though you are already working there.
Transferable skills –
Make connections between skills required in your current role and those of the new role. This needs some preparation before the interview, of course. Go through the Job Description of the new role and make notes of similarities with your current role.
Knowledge of potential clients and their competitors –
Do some research on who potential clients could be and their competitors. Use your network in your current industry and your own knowledge too. Be prepared to share potential opportunities with the panel. Use examples from your experience.
Bring some fresh insights about the role and its potential – use examples from your own experience.
Start how you aim to finish. Be yourself and not what you think your interviewers may want. You will rarely successfully second guess their thinking.
Present yourself with confidence and assuredness in your abilities and readiness for taking on the role.
Take some initiative in the interview –
Not in a know-all kind of way, but refer back to previous questions with further information if you need to. Ask a question during the process to clarify your understanding. Have some questions prepared the night before and use these if needed. However, taking initiative during the interview you are encouraging a two way dialogue, and definitely not try to brag of your knowledge.
Demonstrate your sincere interest in the role –
State that you’re interested. I’ve had companies refuse candidates on the grounds that the candidate didn’t seem enthusiastic for the role. If you put into action the points above you will demonstrate interest.
Further to this, thank the panel for the opportunity, and tell them that you are really interested in this role and will look forward to hearing of your decision.