Getting ready for a big sales interview? Learn what you should—and definitely shouldn’t—sayto increase your chances of landing the job.
The interview is by far the most nerve-wracking and dreaded aspect of the hiring process. It’s your one opportunity to make a great first impression and convince a sales manager that you’re the best professional for the job. One of the toughest parts of the sales job interview is coming up with the right answers to questions on the spot. Say the wrong thing and you might ruin your chance of getting hired.
To help you answer questions correctly, here are a few things that you should never say in a sales job interview.
When you’ve been looking for a sales job for a while, all companies can begin to look alike. When you apply to 10 companies a day, for weeks on end, it can be difficult to remember every one you were interested in. But when you get a call for an interview, you need to buckle down and do your research in preparation for the interview. As a sales candidate, you should never ask the interview what the company sells. You should already know.
Before your interview, go online and research the company to learn about its products and services. Search the company’s name on Google to find out as much as you can. You can impress your interviewer by summarizing what you’ve learned about the company’s solutions and who they serve.
At the beginning of virtually any sales job interview, you can expect the interview to say “tell me about yourself.”
This is not the time to start talking about your favourite TV shows or hobbies. Though being a little personal can help create a connection, what the interviewer really wants to know at this point is what type of sale person you are. Talk about your strengths and skills in the industry. Include interesting tidbits about past clients or closed deals. Discuss your preferred selling method and how you view your role in the sales process.
When asked why you want to work in sales, don’t go straight to talking about money. Sure, compensation in sales is one of the benefits of a sales career, but if you start off with this as your main reason for wanting the job, you won’t help set yourself apart from other candidates or give the interviewer a reason to hire you. Plus, you’ll look like all you care about is your commission cheque.
Instead, think back to why you entered the sales industry to begin with. When did your passion first begin and why?
Though this might be the truth—that you really did leave your last job because you didn’t get along with your manager—this shouldn’t be how you spin it in a sales job interview. These statements carry negative connotations.
This is one of the top interview questions you need to be ready for. Instead, state the positives of your last job and then discuss what you’re looking for that your last job didn’t offer, such as more responsibility or a different company culture.
Far too many candidates state being a perfectionist as their greatest weakness. Trust us—your interviewer has heard this line a thousand times, so don’t utter this cliché response. Every sales person has a weakness, so don’t try to offer a strength when asked this question. It’s one of the top interview mistakes you could make.
Your interviewer wants to know that you’re honest and that you work on improving yourself. So think of a true weakness and then give specific examples as to how you’re trying to overcome the challenge. This shows that you can recognize your own weaknesses and know how to take action to fix them.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.