5 years ago
April 9, 2019

9 Clever Ways to Start Your Sales Interview & Make a Memorable First Impression

Perhaps the most nerve-wracking and intimidating part of any sales job interview is the beginning. You want to get off to a good start and develop a rapport with the…

Rhys Metler

Perhaps the most nerve-wracking and intimidating part of any sales job interview is the beginning. You want to get off to a good start and develop a rapport with the interviewer. More importantly, you want to make a memorable first impression.

We all want to make a great first impression, but do you know how?

It’s not just the recruiter you need to worry about impressing. You need to make a good first impression on everyone you encounter. The door person, reception, employees you pass in the hallway, and everyone with whom you engage during your time with the company.

Don’t think that the recruiter won’t ask others what they thought about you. Remember, your job interview starts the second you walk through that door.

Why First Impressions Matter

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. You hear this popular advice, or a version of this, all the time. And it’s right.

Even if you have a sparkling resume, meet all the job requirements and know you are a great candidate for the job, if you don’t make a good first impression, you could sink your chances of getting a call back.

Research shows that people make a judgment call about you within seconds of meeting you, and it can influence their hiring decision.

“The fact is that when you first meet a person, they make a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and their judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact,” says Brian Tracy.

In a survey of the members of the American Personnel Consultants, those men and women who are responsible for hiring people for large companies, their members generally agreed that they made a hiring decision person within 30 seconds of the first meeting.

Clever Ways to Start Your Sales Interview

Here are some effective ways to start off your sales job interview the right way and get your interviewer’s attention:

1. Be Early, Prepared, and Ready

This should go without saying, but it’s vital you show up on time, prepared and ready for your interview. If you have a 1 p.m. interview and you show up at exactly 1 p.m., it’s pretty much the same as being late. The interview starts at 1 p.m., so be there about 15 minutes early. This will give you time to check in and mentally prepare. If you come in late, you could become flustered and not as prepared as you could have been. When you are in the waiting room, be ready to stand up and walk in the room to be interviewed.

2. Make the First Few Seconds Count

The first few seconds of your interaction with a person matter. So, make them count. Non-verbal cues matter just as much, if not more, than verbal ones. Make eye contact, have a firm handshake, smile, maintain good posture, and be energetic.

3. Dress the Part

One of the first things people notice about you is your clothing. It’s important to not only match the company’s dress code but also dress with confidence. Wear clothing that makes you feel and look good and it will show. It’s also important to wear things that show signs of who you are. It’s okay to add some personality into what you wear. But, remember, everything you wear says something about you – including your hair, makeup, facial hair, jewelry, accessories, and shoes.

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4. Immediately Make Eye Contact

Making eye contact with everyone you speak with allows you to connect. It shows you are confident and it allows others to see who you really are. It’s a great way to build rapport and trust. Maintain regular eye contact throughout the job interview.

5. Master the Art of the Handshake

Your handshake can say a lot about you. A strong and firm handshake communicates strength, confidence, and character. A flimsy handshake connotes weakness and self-doubt.

6. Research the People You Are Meeting

If possible, spend some time researching the people with whom you will be interviewing. Make sure you know the interviewer’s name and learn as much about them as you can. When you know who you are meeting, you can reduce some of the stress related to the interview itself. More importantly, you’ll have information you can use to connect with them during the interview, especially when it comes to small talk.

7. Be Ready to Impress With Some Small Talk

While it may seem innocent, small talk is a very important part of the sales job interview process. Being able to expertly have a great conversation as you settle in for the interview can build rapport. It helps you build chemistry and shows your personal side.

If you can’t have a decent conversation about the weather, traffic, last night’s game, or other common small talk topics, an interviewer could question if you are someone they would want to work with and have as part of the team.

8. Put Your Phone Away

No one wants to hear their phone ring or have a notification go off during the interview. The recruiter may see this as rude. It could also distract you and cause you to lose your train of thought. Turn off your phone ringer before you enter the building and put it away once you reach the waiting room.

9. Have a Memorable Answer for “Tell Me About Yourself”

One of the first questions you’ll be asked will be some version of “tell me about yourself.” It’s important to have a well prepared and succinct statement about who you are personally, professionally, why you are interested in the job and how you are qualified.

The key is to be engaging and make your answer memorable. Think about it as telling a short story about yourself and not just listing off your career accomplishments.

More Advice to Crush Your Next Sales Job Interview

Prepping for a sales interview? Check out these other insightful blogs by our sales recruiters. Get tips and advice about how to leave a lasting impression, how to prepare, and strategies for answering sales job interview questions:

6 Genius Ways to End Your Sales Interview and Leave a Lasting Impression

Sales Interview Preparation Checklist: The 10 Best Ways to Prepare

6 Must Have Things to Put on Your Sales Resume to Stand Out

13 Things to Stop Saying in Sales Interviews If You Want the Job

4 Creative Ways to Impress a Recruiter Before They Meet You


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.