Finlay James

Stage one: understanding the interviewer’s requirements

Stage one: understanding the interviewer’s requirements

So, stage one. This is all about understanding what your interviewer is hoping to get out of the meeting.

You can never tell how a sales interview is going to start and I think it’s important that you are prepared for any eventuality. The interviewer could make it easy by telling you exactly what they are looking for at the start of the meeting, or they could begin an open discussion by asking you to ‘tell me about yourself’.

If asked to talk about yourself it is really important to qualify what the interviewer is looking for before going off on one. Otherwise you could end up wasting time discussing irrelevant aspects of your background. Typically a first interview will last around one hour so every minute counts.

Even at this stage of the interview you need to start to show your sales ability. You can do this by qualifying what the interviewer is looking to find out from you during the session and what their requirements for the role are (basically what is their objective for the meeting).

I would simply say, “Of course I can discuss my background however I am conscious of wasting your time by discussing something irrelevant, so what are you looking for?”

Top Tip: Write down their requirements as this will come in handy later on in the interview.

Coming next: Stage two - pre-close and aim statement