The Sales Interview: Top Tips For Graduate and Junior Sales Candidates.

The Sales Interview: Top Tips For Graduate and Junior Sales Candidates.

With the summer approaching in Ireland we can never guarantee good weather but we can guarantee one thing and that’s an influx of brand new graduates to the jobs market.

If you’re one of these graduates navigating your next move can be challenging, particularly when you’re applying for sales jobs having spent your college years working in retail, hospitality, promotions, and other miscellaneous part-time jobs. You’re probably wondering how you can make this experience appealing to a sales manager.

Here are some of my tried and tested tips that will help you translate your experience into gems that will impress in a sales interview:

Lead with your competencies

More often than not you will be asked by an interviewer to talk through your CV. Bear in mind that these interviewers are speaking to graduates and junior sales candidates every day, so you need to make your experience POP! Highlighting the sales element of your retail, hospitality, or promotions role will strike a chord with a sales interviewer. Words like upselling, incentive, target, and KPI will definitely win you brownie points.

Instead of: “When I was in college I worked in a restaurant, I would take orders, serve and clear tables etc.”

Say: “When I was in college I worked in a restaurant, while it wasn’t a sales role we really had to sell, we’d upsell starters and desserts, dishes of the day, upselling bottles of wine instead of glasses of wine etc.”

Moving through each position on your CV while talking through your most relevant experience and how it will positively impact you in the role you’re interviewing for is key here- the fewer questions the interviewer has to ask the better!

Another important thing to mention here are your wins: promotions, incentive wins, targets exceeded, and customer compliments are always great to mention. These are the things that make you stand out as a top candidate.

Magic Numbers

In a sales interview numbers definitely speak louder than words.

Anyone can go into an interview and say they are a brilliant salesperson - what’s going to win your interviewer over is proving it. Be forthcoming with any kinds of targets or KPIs that you might have worked in the past. Targets don’t always have to be about sales- be creative with your examples, plenty of companies have incentives and targets around CSAT surveys, newsletter and e-receipt signups, upselling add-ons and accessories, and even time deadlines- all of these can work when demonstrating your competencies for target based roles.

Candidates who are interested IN a company become interesting TO a company!

Leaving an interview without asking questions is a huge missed opportunity. It gives you a chance to make a great lasting impression with your interviewer and to find out some great information about the job you’re interviewing for. I would always advise asking three questions at the end of an interview (steer clear of any questions about salary, benefits, and anything to do with HR and disciplinary processes). Questions about sales processes are obviously going to be a big hit when it comes to sales interviews!

Here are some great examples of what to ask:

  • Tell me about the top performers, what would I need to do to get to their level?
  • What will my first year in the company look like?
  • How long will it take me to get up to speed in this role?
  • Can you tell me about the targets?
  • What’s the company culture like?
  • Do you have any examples success stories of people?

If you’re a graduate or a junior sales candidate new to the market who wants to explore some opportunities and need some help upping your interview game I’d be more than delighted to talk to you, give me a call on +353 1 632 5029 to get the ball rolling!

Abigail Woods

Sales Recruitment Consultant | RECRUITERS

Email: abigail.woods@recruiters.ie

Tel: +353 1 632 5029

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