As a graduate looking for a job, the first challenge you have to overcome is that you don’t have a track record or any real previous experience. Therefore, it’s vital that you prepare well so that you can present yourself brilliantly in interviews.
The majority of Sales Managers and Directors will view how you perform at an interview as a reflection of how you will perform in a sales meeting, selling their products and services.
First impressions and presentation
Did you know that people make up their minds whether they like someone within the first 50 seconds of meeting them? This brings home the real importance of making a good first impression, especially when you are presenting yourself in an interview situation.
No one likes the thought of being judged by the way they look within a sales environment, however, you are going to be the face of your employer. So your appearance has got to be right and this is going to be one of the first things that a potential employer is going to look at.
Pay particular attention to the following:
Your hair – neat and tidy, tied back if necessary.
Nails – clean and tidy.
Dress code – dark suit with a white blouse/shirt and tie.
Shoes – clean, polished black shoes.
Makeup – conservative, only the basics (guys – probably best do without!)
Jewellery – the less ‘bling’ the better!
It may seem OTT but don’t risk your future career opportunity just because you didn’t quite look the part! It’s better to look too smart and then have the opportunity to dress down once you have secured the position rather than to not look the part and never get the offer in the first place!
Arrival and introduction
It may sound like common sense but make sure that you plan your route. Do not rely on sat nav or a route finder for your timings. If you do then add on a minimum of 45 minutes to be sure. You should plan on arriving at your destination 20 minutes early. If you arrive any earlier, then that’s fine, find somewhere to park or sit and get a coffee. This will give you extra time to recap and compose yourself before your interview. On arrival in reception, let the receptionist know who you are and who you have come to see. Then take your seat and wait to be introduced.
It is likely that the person you will be meeting will come to meet you in reception. When they introduce themselves, remember first impressions! Stand up, make eye contact, shake their hand with a firm handshake and introduce yourself in a confident tone, ‘John Smith, pleased to meet you.’
If you suffer from CHS (clammy hand syndrome) use your pockets to wipe your hand discreetly prior to shaking hands. No one likes to shake a sweaty hand!
Make an effort to build rapport for the first few minutes of the interview. This can be done in a number of ways. When you’re sitting in the foyer, look for clues. There may be a car magazine or there might be some sporting achievements on the wall. Perhaps once you’re in the office of the interviewer, you will see photos which can lead to a conversation. Building rapport is the most important part of the interview as it is a chance for the interviewer to like you. People buy from people that they like.
Structure and logic are the difference between someone who is good in sales, and someone who is excellent! Keep structured at all times. Make sure you have prepared yourself for the interview by writing down what you know about them, along with a list of questions that you would like to ask. This demonstrates great preparation and good structure. It also helps if you lose your way during the interview. We strongly advise that you go into your interview with a notepad and pen to take notes.
We recommend you let the interviewer lead the interview initially. They will want to find out more about you and may test you a bit about your knowledge of the company. Below is a list of questions you may be asked. Think about how you can present yourself…
• Why do you want to work at the company? Great reputation/products/services?
• Think about what drives you. Is it money? Paying off debts? Doing a good job?
• Make sure you have an enthusiastic and positive attitude
• If you like a challenge, say so and explain why
• Why work within the IT sector? Do you like technology? Exciting new products?
• Explain why you want to be a sales person
• Explain when you have demonstrated good sales ability
• How competitive are you? Think of examples
• What do you know about the company?
• Who do they compete with?
• What are their products/ services?
• What are the benefits of their products/ services?
• Why are you the right person for this role?
Once the interviewer has asked you a number of questions and given you an opportunity to sell yourself, they may ask you if you have any questions for them. You may be running short of time and so might not be able to ask too much but it is essential that you ASK questions.
• You’re obviously very successful. What is your background?
• How many people are in the team?
• How are they targeted?
• What does a typical day involve in this role?
• What is the progression rate?
• Who is your top sales person?
• What makes them so successful?
• How much of that do you see in me?
• How important is experience in sales to this role?
• How would you see me fitting into the team?
Closing the interview
This is the last hurdle, but so important! This will be the lasting impression that you make to the interviewer, so make it good!
You will need to close for commitment, as you will have lots of other opportunities on the go, and you need to know what the next steps are. If you like what you have seen, tell them that. Let them know how much you want it. Some ideas to close the interview are as follows:
• How many people have you seen for this role?
• How do I compare to the other people you have seen?
• How do I compare to your expectations?
• What are the next steps from here?
• When is the next interview?
• When can I come back? I’m available Thursday/ Friday next week – which one is best for you?
• What do I need to say to you now to convince you I am right for the role?
• What do I need to do now in order to leave here having gained your commitment?
• Don’t let them brush you off with answers like “I’ll let you know tomorrow, we have more people to see…” I completely understand you have other people to see, however I want to gain your commitment today. I like this opportunity, and I want to work for this organisation I’m not afraid to ask for your commitment, so when can I start?
They will respect you for closing them down! They are after all, a sales person. Keep closing!
Celsius consultants can help you with all aspects of interviews so please get in touch with us. You can call us on 061 905 8315 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.