You can find lots of advice in books and online for how to answer job interview questions, and some of it says to practice your interview answers with a friend, or video yourself so you can play it back to see any weak spots. It's good advice. You need both practice and feedback to improve your game. The flaws here are (1) a friend might just tell you what you want to hear, and (2) if you're critiquing a video of yourself, the problem becomes "you don't know what you don't know".
Here's a thought: If you really want to improve your skills in something, you take personalized, individualized lessons from an expert...in other words, get a coach.
Think about it. Even pro athletes, with amazing natural abilities and countless hours of practice, have coaches and trainers to give them that one last boost over the top to excellence.
Role-playing interviews with an objective, experienced industry expert can give you so much of a boost in your interview skills that you not only do well in the interview, you crush it....just blow the hiring manager out of the water with your confidence, competence and style. An interview coach can not only help you shape your answers to interview questions, she can help you spin difficult situations into positives (or at least neutrals), and can help you pinpoint and develop those intangible qualities that are ultimately job-winners.
Find someone who is an expert in your field that you are comfortable working with. Hiring an interview coach is a small investment in yourself that will pay off big for you when you land the job of your dreams.
What's the most important sales job interview (and resume) tip?
Quantify Your Experience!
A sales rep's job is to make the sale. So if you're looking for a new sales job, your mission is to demonstrate that you can ring that cash register, and do it well.
Quantify your resume.
In order to get the interview, your resume should be a marketing document for you....your "brochure" that draws them into calling you for an interview. If you are in sales, the numbers you pull down (in terms of customers, dollar amounts of sales, sales rankings, and more) matter a lot. A sales resume is all about the numbers. That's what hiring managers are looking for:
What kind of numbers can you pull down?
What's your sales ranking? Did it increase?
What does your customer/units sold/profit growth look like?
What was your budget?
What kind of revenue have you generated? (Either in actual dollar amounts, or percentage increases.)
If English is your second language, finding a job can be difficult. It's important to sound confident when you are speaking with potential employers but not only can this be tough on the best of days, the language barrier can add an extra obstacle. Here is an excellent tool to help you practice job interview answers so that you can speak to employers confidently and get the job offer:
This series consists of 50 different videos where I ask a job interview question that you can answer on your own, and then you can play my answer. Compare both, and easily see how to improve your answers immediately. These are the answers that will get you hired.
I've been hearing many comments from folks who aren't as comfortable with English telling me that they love this tool. I encourage you to give it a try and see for yourself.
Just had to share - yesterday I accepted an offer for my targeted job with my dream company! Specifically mentioned was that no other person had taken the initiative to submit a 30/60/90 plan. I was told that it was one of several points that elevated me above my competition and showed my dedication to going above and beyond what was required and instead do what was necessary.
One of the worst things that can happen to you in a job interview is to get a tough interview question that makes you freeze, like a deer in the headlights. You are surprised, you don't know which way to go, and so you just sit there waiting for disaster.
I received this great comment from a hiring manager on interviewing, and thought her insights would help you in your next interview, when you answer interview questions.
My observations as a hiring manager are in line with what you are saying in this video. I've interviewed candidates for a position in software development team and asked them a standard question: "Where do you see yourself in three years?" Many responded enthusiastically, "I want to be a manager", not realizing that this be viewed as a threat to the continuous employment of a manager :) A safer answer is "I want to be a senior programmer."
The biggest assumption people make is that if they tell you what they did, you will understand that they will and can do the job. I think this approach is far from perfect, and they will be better understood if they spell this out explicitly. For example, "I can support Oracle database and resolve performance issues because I have such and such experience to rely upon." What I heard often was "I am passionate about Oracle and done a lot of Oracle programming" - how [your passion helps] me was not spelled out for me.
The big ideas here are to remember who you're speaking with and adjust your answers accordingly, and give evidence-based answers (especially quantified ones that include numbers, dollars, and percentages) instead of only talking about your passion. Passion and enthusiasm are good, but evidence is better.
Preparing an action plan for your job interview is the best job interview prep in the world. It will help you speak more confidently about your ability to do the job, and demonstrate that you are someone who not only can do the job, but will do it and be very successful at it.
How do you do an action plan for your job interview?
The best way to come up with an action plan is just like with any other goal: break it into smaller goals and figure out the steps to reach those.
An action plan can refer to any length of time you'd like--from 30 days to a year. Most people use an action plan for the first 90 days, or a 30-60-90-Day Plan.
When you break up your plan into 30-day increments, it becomes easier to figure out what you should be doing in each section.
The first 30 days normally focuses on learning the ropes: meeting co-workers, support teams, customers, clients; learning software and systems; and getting settled into the job.
The next 30 days (60-day section) usually finds you digging deeper, past the surface stuff. You're learning more details and becoming familiar with the job and the company, and you're getting feedback on how you've done so far.
Sales job interviews are different from other job interviews.
Watch this video to see how they're different, and then check out the tips below for how to prepare for a sales interview.
Prepare for a behavioral event interview. Hiring managers in sales like these because it helps them see how you'll represent the company in everyday situations, as well as in difficult situations like the ones you'll surely be in on the new job. Examples of how you've handled things in the past provide evidence they can use to determine whether you're a good fit for the job. Think about possible behavioral interview questions for a sales position and come up with outstanding examples of your fine selling and customer service skills.
Quantify your interview answers as much as possible. This means providing examples in terms of numbers, dollars, and percentages. The job of a sales rep is to ring the cash register, so show how you've done that.
Bring a 30-60-90-Day Sales Plan. Show your future sales manager how you'd attack the job in the first 90 days. It shows who you are and what you can do, and is the best tool for showing you're the one they should hire.
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These questions are pulled from my How to Answer Interview Questions Series. The series contains 101 questions, so feel free to explore and get even more interview answers that will get you the job. Also, Forbes has a great list of 50 questions to ask before hiring sales employees. I encourage you to look over this list for additional questions you may be asked, and practice how you would answer them. When it comes to interviews, it's always better to be over-prepared and ready for anything.
The best tool you could ever bring to any job interview is an action plan for how you would attack the job and be successful in it. Writing an action plan shows who you are and what you can do in a substantial way, and makes you stand head and shoulders above those who did not write their own plan.
Just like with any big goal, the best place to start is to break it down in to smaller, more specific goals. So, with an action plan for the first 90 days on the job, you'd break it up into smaller sections: the first 30 days, the next 30 days (60 day) and the last 30 days (90 day).
Then you'd think about what specifically you'd need to take action on in each of those time frames.
Got a sales job interview coming up? Get ready to talk about your sales strategy. Giving the interviewer a sample sales strategy is a great way to demonstrate how you will operate on the job.
When you are asked about a sample sales strategy, it will likely come in some version of the classic challenge: "Sell me this pen." This is a role-playing exercise that many sales managers love as a part of their job interview questions. After all, there's no better way to see how you sell than to see how you sell.
There are a lot of opinions (ahem...) about this issue, but I will tell you that as a sales recruiter, I can ask this of my candidates and tell what someone's skills are like, or if they are missing skills using this strategy. So this is very valuable to hiring managers, so expect that you may be asked to role-play a sales scenario.
No matter what they ask you to 'sell' to them, the principles and the strategy are the same--just use the same principles you would use in any sales process. I am a big fan of SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implications, Need-payoff.