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Sales Interview Mistakes. . .

09.13.12   |   Job Search & Career   |   Sean Cashman, Senior Consultant at Treeline Incorporated

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The title is pretty straight forward, so here they are:


  • Professional Attire - Always:

    • This is an easy one but many times underestimated. Don't make the mistake of going on a 1st interview wearing a button down shirt and khakis. Real simple - Guys, dark suit (blue, black, or grey), white or blue shirt, and a conservative tie. Clean shaven, no piercings. Gals, corporate attire and close toed shoes. You might have more style to offer but they are not going to hire you because or your style - but it is a very real possibility that they will not move you forward because of your style. Keep it simple and clean for the interview - show off your style after you get hired.

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  • No Cell Phone - Off or Leave it in the Car. No Mute Button.

    • Do I need to say more than this? It doesn't matter what you have going on, if your cell phone goes off or you look at your phone - you are telling the person you are meeting with that they are not the priority. Huge red flag. You can afford to go off the grid for an hour.

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  • Padfolio with Copies of Your Resume, Paper to Take Notes and a Pen That Works.

    • Not a manila folder, not a note book, not a trapper keeper. Go to Staples and spend $10 on a leather padfolio with a note pad in it. And even if you emailed your resume to the potential employer - always have a few hard copies of your resume on hand. You never know who you could be meeting on the fly. Better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them.

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  • No Gum, No Coffee, No Water - Unless Offered

    • Please do not be the person to show up with a coffee, soda, or water bottle in hand. Really? You can't go an hour without ingesting something? You may receive advice to refuse water or coffee if offered but it is fine and acceptable to take them up on it.

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  • Eat Something Before Hand, But Don't Pig Out

    • This goes hand in hand with the last one. If you have a morning meeting, get some coffee and a power bar in you. If you have a meeting around lunch - get something into your system. You do not want to be on the last leg of a 2 hour interview with the VP and all you are thinking about is the Steak Bomb you are going to get as soon as you get out. With that being said, I recommend that you don't pig out before an interview. We have all fallen victim to the 2PM sleepys.

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  • Do Not Ask about Sales Compensation or Benefits

    • This goes along with a 1st interview. You are trying to show your value to them, you are not trying to find out how many vacation days you get. Go reference the interview scene from the motion picture You, Me, and Dupree. If they bring up money, feel free to discuss - but let the interviewer lead the discussion. Talk price when the company understands your full potential and value.

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  • Talk About the Role You Applied For

    • This might seem confusing, but in this market companies are trying to disqualify you as well as qualify you - which they should be doing. Sometimes the interviewer will use a tactic by saying, "Your background maybe a better fit for another role..." and then explain a role that is different than the one you were there for. It will still be an attractive role and you may be just as interested if not more interested in the new role. STOP. THINK. Even if you think you would be a better fit for another role, as soon as you express an interest in the new role, you are taking yourself out of the running for the initial role...and who knows if the new role is even real. They are testing your legitimate interest in the job you are interviewing for. Instead, say something like, "That seems like an interesting role, I would like to continue to discuss the initial role that we started talking about and if at the end of the interview process you still think I am still a better fit for this other role, I would be happy to discuss further. For now I think I would like to learn more about the initial role." You keep the door open to the other position but keep the ship on course.

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  • Do Not Fall for the Negative Sell

    • This is another interview tactic. The interviewer may ask, "Why do you want this job? It is very hard, the days are long and you will be required to make 100 cold calls per day. Are you comfortable with rejection? How do you feel about having 99 hang ups per day? Do you really want to do this?!" What they are saying is very much the truth. There will be days like that - sales is rough. They are asking you this to see how real you are - anyone can do this job when you are closing deals and things are going well. They want to know how you react to the bad days and when the job is incredibly hard. Don't react - you know sales is tough, that is not breaking news. Tell them that you are resilient and are not negatively affected by phone hang ups. You are optimistic and know that all good sales professionals get excited about the next call.

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  • Ask About the Toughest Parts of the Job

    • This goes along with the last one. During the interview process, the company is indeed selling you their job. If they like you, they will want you to take the job. They will talk about all the great things - the growth, the opportunity, the money. If they do not talk about some of the tough parts or challenges - bring it up. Ask them what the toughest parts of the job are; what are the first 30/60/90 days like. Better to ask then and know rather than be surprised after you start.

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  • Do Not Lie about Your Story or W2

    • This may seem obvious but it is worth stating. Everyone has their own unique story. You have most likely made good and bad career decisions, just make sure you speak positively about each. Make sure you are accountable and if you moved on from a company on good terms and you have good references - be sure to package it that way. If they ask you what you have been making, be honest. If a company looks to make you and offer and a background check shows a discrepancy in your story it is likely that an offer will be rescinded.

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These are just a few; if you find these helpful and would like to start to explore new sales opportunities a good website to visit is http://www.dadomatch.com/job.

 

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