By way of introduction, I’m the specialist in sales recruitment here in Sydney – meaning I’m interviewing sales candidates, daily. As part of my standard interview structure, I ask my candidates two questions about all of their sales roles: What were your sales’ targets? And what percentage of those sales’ targets were you meeting? These two questions let me know how experienced/senior a candidate is and they also give me an indication of a candidates’ performance.
Upon reflection, I’ve noticed that candidates have answered these questions differently – some were able to provide factual and concise responses, whilst others came across boastful and arrogant. As a sales person, you want to be able to discuss your achievements but you also want to be relatable to your interviewer. So, if you are preparing for a sales’ interview, here are some tips on discussing your success without making your interviewer think you are ‘showing off’:
- Don’t compare yourself to your colleagues: I’ve met candidates who respond to the above questions by stating they were the ‘best in their team’, and although that’s great – it doesn’t answer the question. The strongest candidates are those who state their individual targets and their personal sales achievements and are able to highlight their personal success without having to criticise their colleagues.
- Know your stats: Knowing specifics around individual sale amounts and their targets makes a candidate sound like they are discussing facts and less like they are exaggerating or stretching figures.
- Highlight the hard work that went into hitting your targets: In an interview you may get the urge to make it look easy but be cautious because this could backfire and you could be perceived as ‘boastful’. Don’t be afraid to mention that huge sale which you 6 months to get across the line, or if you had to make 100 calls before you finally got past the gatekeeper.
- Be prepared to talk about your failures. I always ask my candidates to describe a time they’ve lost a sale. What I’m looking for is to hear how they responded and what they learned from that situation. Hearing that a candidate has never failed isn’t believable, and doesn’t demonstrate vital competencies such as resilience, hard work, and the ability to learn from your mistakes.
In short don’t be afraid to discuss your successes in your next sales’ interview, as your targets are a great way to demonstrate to an interviewer what you are capable of; just be mindful not to ‘over do it!’
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