Preparation is the key to a successful interview. The more time and effort you put in to preparing, the more you’ll get out of it personally, and the better you’ll come across to the employer.
Research the company
- Visit their website to review and understand the organization, products and markets
- Visit LinkedIn to review profiles of the interview team
- Read trade publications for relevant articles and current news
- Google competitors to learn about the industry and markets
- Talk with customers
Take time to review everything you’ve done in your career:
- Specific job responsibilities
- Reasons for past job changes and why you’re currently looking.
Prepare responses for potential questions about your experience. Be direct and to the point, descriptive, and positive. For example, when an employer asks you what you did at a particular company, your response might be something like this; “I was responsible for selling HPLC instrumentation into biopharmaceutical accounts within the state of Ohio and took my territory from 1 mil to 1.7 mil in 3 years.” When asked about past job changes, also be direct and to the point, but positive. No one wants to hear negative comments about your past or current employer.
At the Interview
- Dress business professional – suit for men, business dress with jacket for women
- Light make up, perfume, cologne, aftershave
- Bring a portfolio on your background to include:
- List of references
- Documentation of performance
- Letters of recommendation, copies of awards
- Arrive early
- Do not chew gum
- Offer a firm handshake and always sit up straight
Ask good questions
Companies like to be interviewed, too. They appreciate people that ask good, tough, well thought out questions. Keep them relevant to the specific job and expectations of the employer. There’s nothing wrong with having a list of questions written down on a note pad and going through them during the interview. Some examples;
- Why is this position open?
- Tell me what the ideal candidate looks like to you.
- How has this territory performed in the past….and why?
- How is support and service handled?
- What is your training process for new hires?
- Why did you come to work here, and what’s kept you here?
- If you could change anything about this company, what would it be?
- What is the biggest challenge you face in this role?
Responding to questions
- Be direct and to the point. Don’t stray off topic.
- Be positive
- If you’re asked something you don’t know, say “I don’t know, please explain.”
- Be prepared to answer some standard and situational questions. For example:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Tell me about yourself?
- Describe a difficult problem and how you dealt with it.
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- What did you like/dislike about your previous positions?
- What type of people do you get along with the most/least?
- Give an example of a sale you lost and why.
- What do you know about our company?
Do not ask about salary. Let the employer bring it up. Compensation questions come up one of two ways. An employer will either ask you what you are currently earning, or what are you looking for. Answer both the same way. Let the employer know what your current compensation is and that your expectation is that they provide a fair and reasonable increase over that.
Close and follow up
Make sure you let the employer know you’re interested and ask what the next step is. Ask if there’s any reason why they wouldn’t want to move forward with you. Ask if they have any concerns or reservations. In a multiple interview setting where you are meeting with several different team members, treat each person as though they had sole responsibility for making the decision. Close each one of them.
Follow up. Send a follow up email after your interview to thank them for their time and restate your interest. Call Analytics following your interview to provide feedback. This information helps us assist you with moving forward.