Interview Prep: Sales and Marketing

Interview prep for sales and marketing candidates getting ready for to meet potential employers.

Suits_Computers If you work in sales or marketing, odds are good that you’re not worrying up a storm the night before a big job interview. Selling your skills and experience to a new company? Figuring out what they’re looking for? That’s your thing. You’ve got it down. And in many ways, you probably do.

“Sales people tend to have more control over their own destiny,” said Art Romero, managing director of Academy Recruiting in Denver. “If you’re a good sales person and you generate revenue, it’s hard to ignore your value.” But this doesn’t mean that even the best sales and marketing gurus don’t make mistakes in interviews. Recruiters have seen it all. Recruiters warn that, quite often, the resumes of sales and marketing professionals aren’t optimized for their current roles.

“The usual resume says that I sold to so-and-so or I worked here, and it’s pretty nondescript or average,” said Greg Bennett, a recruiter at the Mergis Group in Cary, N.C. “If you’re in sales and you’re not screaming about how successful you were, you probably weren’t beating the odds. What it should say is how much you sold and to whom and how much your percentage exceeded the quota. And you shouldn’t lead off with your education; it’s irrelevant to sales. I have got to know that you know how to sell.”

Sales and marketing folks are generally good at reading and persuading others. In fact, Jim Brown, president of Jim Brown Associates in San Francisco, said that he’s gotten feedback that some of his candidates were almost too charming — and talked too much.

“I tell them, you’ve got two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you talk. Answer the questions that are asked of you, and don’t go overboard,” said Brown.

Finally, it would seem unusual to remind someone in sales of their ABCs (Always Be Closing), but sometimes even the most marketable candidates forget.

“You gotta remember, if you’re interviewing for a sales job, one thing that’s absolutely got to happen is that you ‘ask for the order.’ Close the deal!” Brown said. “The last thing you should say is that you’re very interested and ask about the next step.”