Christine is planning a career in sales. Her interview is for a sales support role, she intends to progress rapidly to a sales exec. This is how her interview with Nigel Bartlett developed.
The requirements for the role included: articulate individual; outgoing personality; professionalism; pleasant manner; academic Intelligence; aspirations to progress: dynamic.
Nigel: Tell me a little about yourself
The interviewer wants you to feel relaxed and will normally start the interview with a question that makes you feel at ease.
Christine: I have been working as an account hander for the past eight months and before that I was in a completely different industry doing various roles but at a junior manager level. This provided me with an insight into various working areas and led me towards sales. This is where I want to say and develop a successful career.
It is good to talk openly about your career history; also this is an opportunity for you discuss your hobbies and interests.
Nigel: What were some of the duties you were performing at your previous place of employment?
The interviewer is trying to gauge what roles you have performed and how well you carried them out. Ideally your last role should be a foundation for the interview.
Christine: I was in a brand new division to start with which meant I was given a wide range of tasks to achieve. These ranged from account handling to dealing with client queries and basic admin duties. I always wanted to be in a sales environment, so I was given the chance to shadow my superior and learn the right skills and approach from him.
This response tries to answer too much too quickly. The best approach is to be specific about each task and give examples.
Nigel: Why are you interested in sales?
This is a straightforward question that demands a straight answer. Interviewers will spot if you waffle and this will come across unfavourably.
Christine: When I was younger, sales scared me slightly. I had the impression that people in sales were loud, aggressive and quite pushy. Since working in insurance I have realised that some of this is true but most of all it's a peoples business. I am a people person, I love presenting and talking to people. I get such a buzz from communication.
It is good to highlight the traits of the role as an attraction for you. This positions yourself as having the right mindset for the job.
Nigel: What can you bring to this role?
The interviewer is looking to see how you can sell yourself.
Christine: Enthusiasm. I am willing to put my all into the position.
Ideally a little more expansion and depth here would show the basic skills needed for sales.
Nigel: What do think makes a successful team?
Your response must demonstrate an ability to think beyond your own achievements and to work productively for others.
Christine: It's about working together and sharing ideas. Each team is made up of individuals who have to achieve personal goals for the good of everyone else. Keeping in contact with each inside and outside of work.
A better response would provide examples.
Nigel: What do you think makes a good sales person?
Christine: It is all to do with personality. Someone who has charisma and good communication skills. And of course the ability to listen.
This response addresses the question and shows a good understanding for the role.
The secrets to interview success:
1. Present yourself professionally, first impressions really do count.
2. Be punctual, arrive on time. Being too early can be as bad as being late.
3. Be honest. A good interviewer will probe the areas that appear superficial and weak.
4. Never swear, even if the interview does. It can backfire to be over familiar and too casual and laid back.
5. Make sure that you can provide strong examples (more than one) to back up your experiences.
6. Keep answers relevant to the question. Candidates are often nervous and tend to waffle.
7. Do as much research for the organisation as possible. Look at its website and any company literature. Ask to see a copy if its annual report if appropriate.
8. Prepare questions to ask in advance, make sure you have read the job description thoroughly.
9. It is normal to be nervous; the interviewer most probably is too. Relax and take your time. The interviewer wants you to do well.
10. Remember to bring extra copies of your CV as the interviewer may want to discuss it with other key staff.