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Sales Phone Interview Prep Checklist – How to sell yourself

If you got your CV and application right, proceeding to a phone interview stage is often the next step in the process.

Phone interviews are usually not the last step in the process, so they won’t get you that job, but if you don’t nail this step, it could cost you the chance to get through to a face to face stage.

Often, phone interviews are used to screen applications from those that submitted CVs that fit the bill – make sure to take it as seriously as a face-to-face interview, as the stakes are the same. Your CV got the hoped for attention, here a few things to be aware of to sense check against to stay on track.

What is it really about? Yes, there will be questions about the job, your skills, but they will often remain quite basic. What it often comes down to at this stage is, that the interviewer wants to get a feel for your interpersonal skills. Especially important within a sales environment as you know. Can you build rapport, can you get across what you are trying to, can you communicate effectively?

Know your place. Let the interviewer lead through the conversation, don’t hijack questions, don’t twist them to say what you want to say. Listen carefully, think and respond with well chosen words. Show them that you are easy to talk to, easy to get along with, that you can think on your feet and that you get it.

Do you need to prepare? Yes and definitely and for certain. Don’t try to wing it.
Read up on the company you are applying for to join, be prepared to talk someone through your CV and career journey so far and your experience that is particularly relevant for the role you are interviewing for. And if you can, find out as much as you can about the person you’ll be speaking with.

No need to memorize information – take advantage of the situation that you can’t be seen. You can refer back to what you researched, but make sure that it can’t be heard that you are looking through paper or clicking through pages.

All this will make sure that you have the confidence it takes to shine and not to waffle. Don’t waste anyone’s time, be efficient with your responses and respect the time of the interviewer. Some example (and rather broad) questions to be prepared for are:
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Why do you think are you the best person for this role?
Why do you want this job?
What do you see as your biggest achievements as a sales professional?

Be ‘technically’ prepared. Charge your phone and ensure you are in an area where you have reception. Choose where you take or make the call. No distractions, minimum background noises and no need to type.

Then, flip the coin. Let the interviewer ask all the questions they prepared. They may or may not ask you in the end “if you have any questions at this stage” – but even if not, you can ask if you can ask some questions. Have some ready.

It shows that you really want this, that this is not just one in many jobs and that you are taking this process seriously. Ask about the team environment, the team structure, targets and KPIs and next steps in the process.

This process is to benefit you as much as it is to benefit the interviewer. You can find out if you truly want this job.

How to get it all across? It comes down to basic manners. Be friendly and warm, but not too friendly and warm, keep it professional in tone. Smile, they can’t see you, but it will come through in your voice and attitude.

What it all comes down to: You can and want to do the job. You will fit in with the team and the culture.

And finally…
Set a reminder to make sure to follow up with us two days after the interview if you haven’t heard back yet. Ask where they are and you are in the process. It will show that you care and that you really want this. We can then pass this on to our client and let them know that you are truly keen.