In knowing that this question will be asked, it is wise to prepare accordingly and to have a prepared answer with room to customize based upon what the hiring sales manager is looking for and what the qualifications are for the job you are pursuing.
Below is an outline of how to frame your answer. To gain a competitive advantage over other candidates that don't prepare and practice for this question, take the time to practice this out loud. Having someone ask you the question and to give you constructive feedback is also a great idea to help you gain confidence in your answer and to gather feedback from different people who help you practice.
If you have a video camera, dress in your interview suit and practice giving your answer in front of a camera and review this yourself to see if the response you gave is something you are comfortable with and it achieves what you want communicated to the hiring sales manager.
Remember, you need to frame and customize response based on the needs of the hiring sales manager and company. Preparation is key for this and in knowing that you will be asked this, it is best to spend some time on this single question. This is the first post of a series that will explore this question in further detail, but to give you a start, look at the format I have used in the past and have seen others used during interviews to deliver an effective answer. Sign up for our newsletter to be sure you get all the tips and advice on this single question, as it is very important in the deciding factor when hiring a sales professional.
- Remember to keep it simple and relevant to the job you are applying for. Elements could be answered with key items the hiring manager is looking for based upon your research and things you have learned while pursuing this sales job.
- Many people use their resume as a conversation map to explain this. You can use this with the greatest effect if you stay brief and relevant to the job. Do not spend a majority of the interview going over your resume and giving irrelevant information. Give responses based upon how it will add value to the sales job you are pursuing and to prove why you are the best fit for the sales job opportunity.
- Highlight your achievements and remember to tie it into how you can apply it towards the sales job you are interviewing for.
- When mentioning your academics, keep it brief and only highlight the strong points and find how you can tie this into adding value to the hiring company and hiring sales manager. You may want to use specialized skills you learned in college to apply towards your job or if you have a high GPA, it shows your level of dedication and performing at high levels.
- Remember to include deliverable in your answer. Keep it relevant to sales and create interest by giving the highlights of your sales accomplishments. The hiring sales manager might ask for more details, but in telling about yourself, you want to give the overall highlight reel of what you bring to the table.
- Don't bore them with the details and when you end your series of answer, tell the hiring sales manager that you can explain in more detail if he/she wants to learn more about what you have mentioned. Also show sincere interest in the job and why you are pursuing the sales job opportunity and company.
This is the first article in a series that will explore this question in more detail. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get each of our tips/advice for this specific question.