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Tips for Interviewing With Sales Recruiters

Tips for Starting a Career in Sales: Part One of a Three-Part Series

Are you a college student looking to enter the exciting world of sales? Or maybe you have a few years of experience in the workforce and are looking for something new? Either way, you’re starting down an exciting path in which each interaction you have is an important step for moving your career forward. We’re here to help make the process easier with our three-part series that includes tips for getting a job as a salesperson and excelling in the field.

The first person you need to sell yourself to is a sales recruiter. They’re the first line of defense for a team that’s hiring, and know exactly what a company looks for in its sales staff. We took some tips straight from the Impact Recruiting department as to what they look for in a potential hire and what makes a candidate stand out at career events and over the phone.

Do Your Research

Research is key to being a successful salesperson, and recruiters want to see that you did your homework before interviewing. Frame questions around what you’ve seen on the company website, give details about what made the company stand out from others and talk about how your goals and skills align with theirs.

Be Confident, Not Cocky

You only have a short phone conversation to sell yourself; don’t shy away from recounting your accomplishments, but provide context to back up what you’re saying. If a recruiter asks about your struggles or weaknesses, be honest; but follow that up by explaining how you’ve worked on them. Also, don’t overcompensate or stretch the truth; a recruiter would much rather know what you don’t know and are willing to learn in sales than find out after they hire you that you may not be able to deliver on what you promised.

Get Ready to Learn

Whether you’ve been in the classroom or the field, it’s important to express that you’re still eager to learn some new tricks. Salespeople don’t always get the time needed to learn everything they feel they need to know when they first start a new role. If you have any examples of how your courses, internships or past experience have given you valuable lessons regarding the sales process, interacting with people or facing challenges that required problem solving, bring them up. Recruiters want to see people who are flexible and willing to adapt to changing times, and who have the capacity to understand the various technology, solutions and other products they will be selling. Know that you don’t need to know everything right away.

Show What You Know

You’ve shown you’re always ready to learn; now show your recruiter what you bring to the table. If you’re fresh out of school, pick out a piece or two from a project or internship that focuses on sales, business or marketing, or pieces that show problem solving, creativity or practical skills to send to your recruiter. This gives you the opportunity to talk about real world examples of how you’ve dealt with problems, as well as how you’ve worked with a team. If you’ve had a few years of work experience, discuss what projects you’ve enjoyed working on at your current job and why. Recruiters want to see enthusiasm and pride for a job well done, and talking about what you’ve worked on gives them a better idea of where you could fit into their company.

Understand Rejection

The first year in sales is notorious for high turnover rates; recruiters find that oftentimes, even if a salesperson is a great fit for a company, they may not be ready to face the rejection and high-stress environment that comes with day-to-day sales. Discuss overcoming hardships in the past, and highlight a project that lasted several months or longer to display that you’ve got the tenacity to stick to your work through the hardest of times with a cool head.

Be a Team Player

While salespeople do much of their work by themselves, no salesperson is an island. Sales teams need to collaborate in order to strategize and grow. New sales reps work very closely with senior reps and managers, who are crucial to their career development. When you’re talking to a recruiter, you don’t necessarily have to say the words “team player”, but talking about the benefits of teams or working alongside a colleague or mentor will stand out as a green flag.

Have a Vision

You’re new to sales, so having a 5-year plan, or even a 1-year plan can seem pretty daunting. Not to worry; you don’t need to have it all figured out yet, but sales recruiters do like to hear that candidates have ambitions, particularly if they can relate to the company you’re applying for. Onboarding salespeople is expensive and training takes years, so if a candidate talks about where they could see themselves going with the company or discusses what they’re looking forward to in a sales career, it’s a plus!

Keep in Touch

Whether or not you think an interview went well, go the extra mile and follow up. A simple email shows that you follow through (a must when it comes to working with clients) and it gives you one more opportunity to express your interest. If you forgot to include a specific example, now would be the time to send it along. It may seem unnecessary, but to a recruiter, it makes a candidate memorable.

Like the sales process itself, the interview stages for salespeople are different each time, but if you show up prepared, ready to work and excited for a future at the company you’re interviewing for, you’re one step closer to making it into the world of sales.

This is part one in our series of tips for new and inexperienced salespeople. We will be posting additional content throughout the month; stay tuned!

Sold on the idea of a career at Impact? Want to learn more about upcoming recruiting events? Contact our Recruiting team at [email protected].