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Some Common Sense Interviewing Points That Will Help You

Updated on February 22, 2018

From my 25 plus years of recruiting and interviewing sales and sales management candidates, here are some good points to help you have a great job interview.

I have over twenty five years of hiring and training experience*, and over that time have interviewed thousands of job candidates. Here are some tips I've learned over the years. Many points are "common sense"; sometimes common sense isn't that common.

Be Prepared:

  • The most obvious comment is the one you've always heard about. You need to look good and smell good. Dress for success, but don't forget your breath and body odor. Carrying some breath mints is a good idea. Also, watch out for too much perfume or too much after shave. Only one comment about dress: it's always better to be overdressed. Being underdressed is difficult to overcome.
  • Here's a killer. If the interviewer sent you an email, or over the phone asks you to review their website or some attached information about the job or company, do it. Certainly in sales, it is very normal for the recruiter to give the candidate some "assignment" purposely to see if he/she can follow directions. If the candidate comes to the interview unprepared, many times the recruiter as been coached to end the interview immediately and have the candidate call back to reschedule when they are better prepared. Don't let this happen to you. Follow directions.

The Resume:

  • Have a copy of your resume. I know, it's that common sense thing again, but you'd be amazed at how often a job candidate just assumes the interviewer has a copy. Don't have that, "well, you called me, didn't you", attitude. It is a big immediate negative when the candidate walks in with no resume. Have a nice copy of your resume. Don't bring a "well used" copy. Take the time (and expense) to print your resume on nice linen or heavier stock paper, it just looks professional and that you are serious.
  • Please take the time to proof read what you are presenting. Again, it is very unprofessional for the interviewer, or your potential manager, to read misspelled words or some words that don't make sense. Again, not professional. Lastly, regarding your resume, have a second copy for yourself. When you're in front of the person doing your interview, you don't want to forget your work history, or misquote data.

Take Notes (Be Interested):

  • Have a pen and paper to write some notes. It just amazes me when a candidate sits down for an interview, and has brought nothing with them. This one is hard to understand, but it happens. The point is, don't just bring a pen and paper, use them. Write some notes, show some interest. Taking notes shows the interviewer that you are paying attention and desiring to retain the information being presented.

Be Prepared for Questions and Have Questions to Ask:

  • Be prepared for the questions you know they will ask you, such as, "So tell me about yourself. What are you looking for?" and, "Tell me why you left this job." and maybe, "Tell me why we should hire you."
  • Be prepared with some questions of your own. As mentioned above, if they gave you some material to review before your interview, have a few questions prepared to prove you did your homework.

Compensation:

  • Lastly, don't be too quick to ask about the compensation. Don't blurt out, "How much does this pay?" Wait until the end of the interview, and if the interviewer hasn't brought it up, politely ask, "Can you tell me about the compensation plan?"

Much of this is basic and simple, but often it's the little things that sometimes seem unimportant, that can end up making a big impression. Good luck.

*My years of experience include hiring and training in three primary industries: life and health insurance, mortgage lending, and oil and gas. Areas of personal expertise: sales and sales management.

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