The job market for enterprise sales professionals is tough, and you can expect a rigorous interview process. Here are thirteen things that are likely to happen during the interview—and how you can prepare for them.
1) Interviewers will examine your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Once you get to the later stages of the interview process, hiring managers really will scrutinize your resume and LinkedIn profile. It’s critical that the two documents match. You may be asked about any discrepancies.
You should be able to speak intelligently about every item on your resume, including your responsibilities, performance, and what you learned from the experience. Resist the urge to exaggerate. Assume that you will be asked about everything.
2) Hiring managers will contact your references.
References matter. Make sure that your references are prepared to give glowing recommendations. Contact references ahead of time to let them know you’re applying for jobs. You might even keep them appraised of new developments in the job search process so that they’ll be prepared for a call.
Be strategic in selecting references. All references should be able to offer a detailed assessment of your abilities and work ethic, drawing on specific examples.
3) The interviewers will ask you to explain your sales process in the detail.
Interviewers want to know all about your sales process: how you prospect, your approach for early conversations, and how you close the deal. Be prepared to delve deep into this. It’s always helpful to explain not just what you do, but why you do it that way. They want to see that you’re thinking about your craft and they want to understand your thought process.
4) You will be asked question about sales metrics in past jobs.
It’s very typical for interviewers to ask about quota attainment, typical deal size, biggest deals, and more. Having the numbers on hand is great, but you should also be prepared to contextualize the metrics. What was average quota attainment at your previous company? How do your numbers compare with other sales reps at your level? Did your numbers improve over time? Use the numbers to tell a story. And don’t just focus on the better numbers. Talk about your low points as well and show them how you came up with action plans in the past to improve your numbers.
5) Interviewers will want you to walk through major deals that you’ve completed in the past.
When it comes to past successes, hiring managers want to know about all the details, not just end results. You should be able to walk them through the entire process, including challenges that you faced along the way and how you dealt with them. This is a chance to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.
6) Your interviewers will want to know details about your prospecting methods.
Be prepared to discuss how you prospect, including how you find and research prospects, what methods you use to contact them, and how you approach the initial conversation. If you use a specific prospecting method, explain what system you use and why.
It’s always helpful to draw on specific examples from your past experiences.
7) Hiring managers will ask you about your process for conducting research prior to meeting with a client for the first time.
Pre-conversation research is critical to sales. You can expect interviewers to ask you to explain your research methods in detail. Don’t just say, “I look through their website.” Be specific about what you look at and how you use this information to inform your meeting.
Again, specific examples are invaluable.
8) You will be asked to describe your QBR process.
QBR or Quarterly Business Reviews are important throughout the sales process. It’s when you discuss business with your client and you present ways on how you can support them. Companies want to know that their enterprise sales reps take the QBR process seriously as a means for self-assessment and improvement. Describe how you go about your process. What role do metrics play? How do you assess successful deals? Deals that didn’t go through?
It’s also critical to explain how you use QBRs to make changes going forward. Tell a story about the role QBRs have played in your career thus far.
9) Interviewers will ask you to discuss your biggest challenges in the past.
Job applicants often want to keep the interview focused on accomplishments, but it’s critical for you to discuss past challenges in a thoughtful manner. Don’t try to evade the question by mentioning something that’s very minor. Be honest about a challenge you encountered—but make sure that you also discuss how you dealt with it and what you learned from the experience going forward.
10) Later in the interview process, you will be invited to do a mock sales presentation.
Managers want to see your sales skills in action. Expect to do a mock sales presentation in later interview rounds. It’s likely that you’ll get a heads-up about it, and you may be able to select the product you pitch. Prepare for the presentation, but be wary of coming off as overly rehearsed.
After you complete your pitch, interviewers will probably ask you about what you could have done better. Answer honestly and thoughtfully.
11) Hiring managers will ask you about long-term career goals.
Managers want to hire ambitious salespeople who will grow within the organization. They will try to assess how well your aspirations fit with the company. Let them know about your long-term career goals and roughly describe how you plan to get there. You’re not wedded to the plan, but showing that you have one will differentiate you from other candidates.
12) Interviewers will ask you questions about what you’re doing to learn about sales, business, and the world more generally.
For top-performing salespeople, the expectation is that everyone is constantly learning more about sales and business. Tell your interviewers about what content you’re consuming, training courses you’ve taken, etc.
It’s quite common for interviewers to ask about the last three books you read. Your answers don’t need to be business-related, but you shouldn’t struggle to identify three books.
13) People at the office will evaluate your professionalism and congeniality during every step of the process.
Even “small” moments like introducing yourself to interviewers and greeting the secretary will be taken into consideration. Sales managers want to hire professionals who conduct themselves gracefully at all times.