How to Prepare for An interview
Written by Jaret Mittenthal
A recent graduate from the University of Florida in May of 2020, he is a financial consultant at Equitable Advisors supporting individuals in their wealth strategy. He is a former Sales Development Intern at The Selling Factory in Gainesville, where he worked with local businesses on their marketing, outreach, and sales.
So here you are entering the big, scary room about to start interview questions and answers with a top executive at the company and the recruiter, who will make your final employment decision for a sales development representative (SDR) job. Your palms start to sweat and your voice starts to quiver. To ace interview questions and answers, there are certain interviewing techniques that can help you.
Interviewing Techniques to Follow
From my training as a sales development representative, preparing for entry level sales jobs is essential. These interviewing techniques for the interview questions and answers can support you. Do thorough research on the company. Scour the website for a couple of hours and have a good idea of what they do and what product or service they offer. When asked “Do you know what we do here at _____?” or “Are you familiar with_____?” use this information to inform your response such as, “Yes, I am actually extremely impressed with your ______ and how you ___________” Here is an example of a situation that happened to me during interview questions and answers: After doing my research, the recruiter asked me “Are you familiar with what we do here at BrightEdge?” and my response was “Yes actually, I am a big fan of your technology and am really optimistic about where the company is headed going forward”.
The recruiter was impressed that I took the time to learn about the company. This is how to set oneself up for success before the interview. Now let’s dive into how to win the interview. I hope your palms are not still sweaty because you are extremely prepared and were meant for this position and this moment. Confidence is key. Project your voice from your chest to sound loud and presentable. This will mask the nerves if there are any.
There are three interviewing techniques that I always try to do to exude confidence:
Laugh. This helps to build trust and to develop a connection right away. It also shows that you are relatable, which is something recruiters are drawn to. Here’s an example:
Interviewer: “Hey ____ how are you doing today?”
You: “Great! I’m a little cold which I did not expect in Florida but I’ll get over it (Insert a chuckle here or a light laugh).”
Talk up your experience, especially relevant experience. Recruiters are interested in what makes you stand out. Highlight aspects that differentiate yourself from your peers. I was fortunate to have sales development representative (SDR) experience. This provided a great talking point about my successes and challenges in this field. In addition, it was important to showcase my work with CRMs such as Hubspot, Salesforce, and Nimble, which many graduates are not familiar with. Big thing companies love, having experience with.
Ask questions. This is super important because it shows that you are actively listening. It can be something as simple as asking about a picture of the interviewer’s family, or something more creative. Be prepared with at least seven to eight questions (unless more specified by the recruiter) specifically about the company and the role. The more creative the better. After, you can ask questions about what you talked about during the interview or information you looked up during your research on the interviewer beforehand (check out their LinkedIn). An example from my experience is that I noticed the interviewer had said he went to and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. I remembered this until the end of the interview so after I asked all the job-related questions I said, “So did you watch the Illini beat Wisconsin, or were you there?”. The beam of excitement I saw from him definitely contributed to his overall impression of me, as the recruiter told me after how much the interviewer said he liked me.
More Techniques to Remember
Hygiene. Don’t smell and don’t have bad breath.
Appearance. Dress to impress. Make sure your clothes work well together. Color schemes are everything.
Match the interviewer’s tone of voice and posture. If he or she is leaning forward, lean forward. If the interviewer is leaning back, do the same and appear relaxed. Match the tone of voice. They are bringing energy and are enthusiastic, bring it right back. They seem calm and are talking very slow, do the same.
Have an elevator pitch. Tell them about yourself in a concise statement. Include your year in school, major, graduation semester, current or previous experience, and what you are looking for in terms of a position. If you want to include something impressive you do in your free time that is also beneficial. It should sound something like this: “Hi, I’m Jaret I am a senior at UF graduating in May of 2020 with a degree in Business Administration. I’m currently interning at The Selling Factory in Gainesville where I do marketing, outreach, and sales for local companies. The position I’m interested in is the ______ (If you are in an interview they already know this part so don’t include it). In my free time, I coach a little league baseball team a few times a week (This part is better for an interview rather than an initial conversation at a career fair)”. This is a great way for them to get a sense of your confidence and will make the get-to-know-you part easy.
These interviewing techniques can help your confidence and prime you to get an entry level sales jobs. You’ve successfully avoided the sweaty palms and the danger of having your voice quiver. Good Luck with your interview questions and answers and becoming a sales development representative (SDR)!