Monday, 15 August 2022
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Preparing For A Sales Recruitment Interview

Even before you get to your first sales recruitment interview, you need to start preparing. This goes beyond just preparing for the interview itself – if you are new to sales, it also involves getting to know what sales is all about.

During your sales recruitment interview, you are likely to be asked questions about what sales actually involves. By participating in a real sales environment, whether it be retail or by ‘shadowing’ an experienced B2B sales representative, you will develop a very good understanding of sales.  This in turn will help you to answer your interview questions. 

There are a number of practical things you can do to prepare yourself before attending interviews for sales jobs.  In preparing for your sales interview, you will give yourself valuable insight into sales as a career, and in doing so you will be better able to present yourself well at interviews. 

Most interviewers will be looking for evidence that you are committed to embarking on a career in sales:

  • Read books about sales – There are countless books available on sales in your local library and in bookshops.  Focus on books about business-to-business (B2B) sales. 
  • ‘Shadow’ a sales representative – You might know a sales representative through your personal networks, or perhaps there is a sales team where you are currently working.  Approach the sales reps or their managers and ask if you can accompany or ‘shadow’ them on their sales calls for a day.  Most reps will be pleased to have the company. 
  • Do some sales work – Retail sales (also known as B2C or business-to-consumer sales) is not the same as B2B, but nonetheless it will provide you with some useful insight into how to communicate with people and customer relations.  You may also wish to consider obtaining some part-time work with direct sales companies (for example, selling finance, outbound sales in a call centre, selling over the telephone).
  • Document your successes – It is useful to keep a file on all your successes in life and to bring this with you to your interview.  Compile evidence of all your successes in life, including all your exam certificates, letters of commendation, or thanks from grateful customers or other people.  You should maintain this file throughout your life and add to it constantly.  Whenever you do well, ask the appropriate person to put their thanks or recognition in writing so that you can include it in your file.
  • Talk to sales people – Simply talking to friends or colleagues who work in sales can provide you with useful insight into the sales profession.  Interviewers like to hear that you have a reasonable understanding of what to expect and that you have taken the time to speak to someone who works in sales. 

The key is to be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • What do you know about sales?
  • What have you done to prepare yourself for a career in sales?
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