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7 Steps for a Successful Interview

Interviews are unmapped territory for many new graduates, and understanding how to navigate difficult questions, how to conduct yourself and most importantly, how to secure the position, are not things that you are taught in your degree. Not only that, sales interviews are a completely different ball game in comparison to other functions- they often require a level of assertiveness and assuredness that may feel unnatural at first, but are essential in proving that you are the right person for the job.

Here are my 7 tips for sales interview success:


  1. Research

When you’re writing an essay at university you have to consult numerous sources and have an acute understanding of what you’re writing about before you even start tapping away at the keyboard. Interviews are no different. In order to be successful in any interview, particularly sales, you must know who the company are, where they operate, what they do, who their competitors are, where they are in the market. You must also know what the role is, what skills and experience are required and where your background aligns with what is expected. Finally, you must know your strengths, weaknesses and your unique skills that would make you an asset for the job. Not only does this demonstrate your commitment to the position, it shows off your intellectual prowess and will give you confidence to articulate your value to the business.

  1. Competency Question Preparation

Competency questions can be difficult if you are a fresh graduate. If you are a salesperson with a track record in the industry, then you always have a safety net to fall back on, as someone with no experience, your competency questions are likely to be based on transferable skills. In order to handle the experience objections, you must first do your research so you understand exactly what transferable skills you have to this opportunity. You must know what your customer/employer wants to be successful. If you know what they are looking for then you can use the STAR system to map out your answers before you even get asked the question. Have situations in mind where you have shown resilience, where you have influenced someone or where you have had to meet targets. Having examples of these traits will go a long way in helping you secure a position.

  1. Presentation

Whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 18 or 85, whether you’re applying for a role as a Graduate or as a CEO, you absolutely must present yourself accordingly. Unless specifically stated otherwise (some companies nowadays prefer smart casual dress for interviews), you should always wear a well-fitted business suit and polish your shoes. First impressions count and throughout your interview employers will be picturing you talking to their clients, and they need to be assured that you know how to present yourself in a meeting situation.

  1. Don’t be late!

As above, first impressions count. If you are even five minutes late to an interview, this can have an enormously detrimental impact on your chances of getting a job. You should be in the reception twenty minutes before your interview, not rushing through the door, but strolling in eager to start the interview. Trains and traffic are notoriously unreliable, know your timings and connections the night before, check the travel reports in the morning and plan for the unexpected. You’ll thank yourself for it if things don’t go to plan.

  1. Be a person, not a robot

This sounds silly, but it’s amazing how often graduates feel the need to discard their personalities in an interview situation, if anything, this is where you need to showcase it the most! Employers aren’t looking for an ultra-serious dullard who is incapable of smiling and enjoying a conversation. It’s not a test, it’s a chat to see how you could be of value to them and vice versa. Employers want to know the real you, they want you to smile, to be able to have fun whilst maintaining credibility and demonstrating your abilities. It is a balance, but it is an important one to strike as building rapport is one of the key skills salespeople need to succeed.

  1. Close!

This is where we step out of the realms of comfort- asking for feedback, asking for the next stage or asking for the job. Closing is one of the key skills in sales, and those who are accomplished at doing it earn huge amounts of money. As soon as you leave the room, you are no longer able to influence the decision. If there are underlying doubts or concerns, you need to know about them so that you can handle them. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, what the next stage is and if they’ll be invited back. You may not get an answer then and there, but it is imperative that you demonstrate your ability to attempt to close and the confidence to do so. At the very least, it will leave a good impression.

  1. Relax

My final tip is significant, but it is often overlooked. This is as much about you and your career path as it is about the employer gaining a valuable employee. It has to fit or it won’t work. Keep that in your mind when you’re interviewing and enjoy the experience, don’t get bogged down or distracted by any worries. Focus, breathe, take a second to answer a question if you need to and speak with conviction and confidence. If you can do that, then you’ll prove that you can keep your cool in tough situations.

I hope these tips help and if you’re looking for further help with your job search, call 0161 274 9800, email:

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