Interviewing for a sales job is no easy task. Your abilities of persuasion, communication, and relationship-building will be on full display (and under a microscope). And if you can’t sell yourself to the interviewer, how can you expect them to believe you can handle a sales position in their company. Yes, it’s high-pressure. But you knew that, right? This is sales. You probably like a good challenge, and you probably enjoy the reward that comes when the challenge is conquered.
That said, it never hurts to get advice on how to do something better. Or in this case, how to actually knock it out of the park! You want to walk into the interview room confident. And confidence follows preparedness. So here are a few tips on how to really wow your interviewers at your next sales job interview.
• Get educated. I don’t mean college. I mean learn what you can about the organization. Do the research. Understand their mission and history. Know what others are saying about them. Look up the person who is interviewing you. Sometimes, just being able to put a face to a name ahead of time is comforting. Know the company’s top competitors. Gain an understanding of the industry and trends. Knowledge is power.
• Know your why. You must sincerely want the role, and you have to know why. What excites you about the job? Where do you see alignment between yourself and the organization? What are your goals for your career? If you know that you belong there, then it will be much easier to convince them of how you fit in. It’s a two-way street, and essentially, you are interviewing them as well. Are they the right organization for you?
• Be yourself. You are interviewing with a person (or people) — not “the organization” as some omnipotent power. It is human beings who will make the choice of whether or not to bring you onto the team. View this interview from the perspective that you are building a relationship. Ask questions and show your interest in the answers. As Dale Carnegie said:“To be interesting, be interested.”
• Sell yourself. I don’t mean that to sound cheap. On the contrary, you need to be indispensable and uniquely valuable. But you have around 30-60 minutes to do that. So you must be prepared. Be engaging. Be a storyteller. Show energy and enthusiasm. Embrace your strengths. But don’t be afraid to share weaknesses or failures. Just make sure to highlight what you’ve learned from those, and emphasize a willingness to grow.
• Be detailed. When you talk about accomplishments, back it up with facts and specific results. Show examples of strategic thinking and big payouts. Be able to share a step-by-step of your sales process. Remember, they don’t know you yet. But they are deciding if they want to. And those little things can make all the difference.
• Always come back to the benefit. No matter what you are talking about, always come back to the benefit you provide or the solution you can offer to the organization. When you are talking about your career history, circle back to the skills you will offer this company. If you are talking about your personal values, connect it to how it aligns with their values. Be personable, be authentic, but remember that you are interviewing for a spot on their team. And remind them of why they should give you that spot.
• Always end on a positive. If you have to discuss something negative, always bring it back to a positive. For instance, if you are talking about your resumé and how you changed jobs, let it be known that you were ready for more growth — not that you hated the previous job. If you are discussing one of your weaknesses, talk about how you use it your advantage to align yourself with the right people to make up for it. If you mention a failure, share what you learned from it.
• Practice out loud. You might think you don’t need to do this. You might think you can go over your stories and notes in your head. But there’s just something about speaking them out loud that helps you work out the kinks that you didn’t even know were there. Do this. You won’t be sorry.
• Believe you will succeed. If there is a voice of doubt in your head, tell the voice it’s not welcome. Do all in your power to be ready for a solid interview, and then relax. Get a good night’s sleep the night before, eat a healthy breakfast, and get there a little early so you don’t feel rushed. Once more, I’ll remind you that you are also interviewing them to make sure they are the right fit for you. So success doesn’t have to equal a job offer. In fact, NOT ending up in a job with the wrong fit is just as much as a success.
You have what it takes to give an outstanding interview. Follow these tips, get prepared, watch your confidence soar, and get ready to knock it out of the park!
“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” – Dale Carnegie