This is not a witty article. It doesn’t even include the “why” you should follow the advice listed below. If you can’t figure out the why yourself, you’ve got rocks in your head.
Me: “how do you prepare for an interview?”
The person, probably you: “I usually just go to the website, learn a bit about their company and, yeah, maybe go and look at who I’m interviewing on linkedin”
Me (internally): Please. SPARE ME. Why don’t you actually do some research? Then get some good questions, then prepare to talk about yourself.
Me (externally): Ok, no problems! Let’s go through some research together. It may help you put your best foot forward. Have you got 15 minutes now?
- Explore all relevant linkedin profiles that work at the company you’re interviewing. Your interviewer, their boss, your team members, the marketing department, the CEO
- Can you articulate the problem the company solves?
- Can you articulate the value proposition of the company?
- Do you know who the target market is, and have you mapped out any contacts you have in this space?
- Have you thought about how you’d go to market or target people in this space
- Have you thought about what the sales cycle is likely to be?
- Can you research/make an educated guess on the economics of the company? This could be through pricing on the website, it could be through an earnings report, it could be in the news.
- Have you downloaded a free trial/ebook/case study, or have you mystery shopped the sales team?
- Have you researched the company in the news?
- Have you thought about who the partners of the company might be?
- Who are the direct competitors, and how do they compare to the company you’re interviewing with?
- Have you done a loose 30/60/90 day plan?
Questions! “what’s the culture like”… seriously, you suck. Here’s what you should think about asking instead:
- What are the top performers doing differently to everyone else in the team?
- What % of the team earned commission last year?
- What’s the biggest objection you come across when selling your product, and how do you overcome it?
- Who are the key internal and external relationships I need to nail in order to do a great job here?
- Can you tell me about your work habits and your team management style?
- What does a great first 6 months look like in this job?
- Do you have any hesitations about me or my experience for this role? (bolded as it’s one of my favourite questions, and usually only asked by the bold)
You! (probably your favourite topic, but one that you need more practice on than you think)
- Can you tell the story of your best ever sale/deal accomplishment (and can it be interesting?)
- What about a sale you lost, that you should have nailed, what did you learn from that?
- What are your work habits like?
- What are your hero qualities in the workforce?
- What do you want to improve on in the next 2 years?
- Can you explain all the KPIs/targets you’ve had to work to over every role you’ve had, and your performance against those targets?
Next time you have an interview, go through this checklist. Do it 2-3 days before the interview. Then do it again the day before. Take notes. Practice saying the words with your mouth. Think about follow up questions. I promise you will be ahead of 95% of people if you do. Just please don't say “I usually just go to the website, learn a bit about their company and, yeah, maybe go and look at who I’m interviewing on linkedin”. Please.