Crush Your Interview: Prep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

awkward first date The job hunt can feel like an unbalanced and desperate online dating experience, the gauntlet to find THE ONE. You’ve sent out carefully selected winks and favorites and to your delight 1/3 of the candidates that made it through your screens invite you to the first date phase. Phew! Now the hard work begins. Coffees, lunches and dinners are weaved throughout your already tight schedule. Add to that the stress of consistently being on point – wearing, saying and ordering the perfect things. You’re trying to read the situation, maintain the upper hand. It’s enough to make your head spin. The same can be said for the job hunt. The good news is that if you show passion, excitement and commitment for the company you want to work with, you’re not deemed a stage-4 clinger, rather, that could be your X Factor! Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole other set of social rules and “games”, but playing coy is thankfully not one of them. HR, Hiring managers, the VP of sales – they’re all human, they all have egos, and they want to find someone that can connect and fit with the corporate (or un-corporate) culture. Being able to communicate that you’re the missing link and the solution to their office banter and productivity needs can be tough in 30 minutes to an hour. On top of that, an interview is not unlike public speaking and, therefore, a whole other animal. It has been estimated that 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety/nervousness when public speaking[1], making it the #1 fear in America, suffered by over 243 million people. Odds are you fall in that camp and sadly, our warmth and wit can’t shine through the awkward eye contact and sweaty palms, which is just perfect for that closing handshake. So, let’s go over the basics of getting over those flattering nervous ticks and then get to those “little something extras” that can be the icing on the cake. #1: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde


This is sales so, odds are, you know you’re an extrovert. But I know that’s not the only characteristic that describes you! Get to know yourself a little bit better. You could journal, meditate, talk with a therapist but really, ain’t nobody got time for that. Put who you are into words by taking a C. Jung and I. Briggs Myers Personality Test and gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses in 10 minutes. Craft your interview responses to demonstrate this sense of self and why those strengths make you perfect for the job. #2: “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser


There is no excuse not to know immense amounts of information about the company you’re applying for. Of course, you want to go into that interview, knowing what advantages you bring to the table but you won’t know what’s important to them unless you know about the company. Every firm worth working for has a website. If they have a blog, LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook, Instagram presence, even better. Mull over everything, taking note of exciting products, team culture, and corporate agenda. The more you know about them, the more informed and relevant questions you can ask throughout your interview and the better you can position yourself. #3: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz stressed_cat The night before, the morning of your interview, your nerves are at their worst. By this time, you’ve done the research, your interview responses and career highlights are tight, and you can confidently say you’re a great fit and close for the job…theoretically. Your stomach lurches, your mind races, and time seems to be going unnaturally fast. GO TO BED, be well rested. Wake up the next morning, allowing yourself plenty of time for a nutritious breakfast, a quick review of what you want to showcase, and time to preen. GIVE YOURSELF A BUFFER WINDOW. Arrive early. Personally, I like to take a brisk walk to get my blood and mind pumping. Smile as you walk and if need be, recite a power mantra in your head: I got this, I got this, I got this. Focus on confidence and you will embody confidence! Unfortunately, today’s job market is fiercely competitive. There very well may be several other candidates with your experience, knowledge of the firm and who exude confidence. Here are three “extra little somethings” that you can bring to the interview table to stand out from the swarm of qualified candidates. Here are three “extra little somethings” that you can bring to the interview table to stand out from the swarm of qualified candidates. Be Their #1 Fan: Provide Free Promotion

spartan cheerleaders

If they have a blog, leave thought provoking comments and share the link on your social feeds. Retweet and reply to their tweets, adding your insights and taking the idea a step further. Promote their facebook events. Whatever promotion and opinions they’re putting out there, they deem important. Demonstrate that you’re onboard and can bring a fresh perspective to their campaigns. Be a part of their conversation before you even walk through the door! Believe It or Not, Come Bearing Gifts


DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON YOUR GIFT! Again, show that you have a pulse on what’s going on at the firm. If they’ve recently launched a new product, bring fresh ideas on how to sell and market that product. If you’re applying for a specific territory that’s open at the firm, come with a territory plan, complete with target clients and strategy. If possible, make this gift a tangible presentation that you can leave behind and leave you at the front of mind. The Thank You Note: A Timeless Classic Thank you! A big part of sales is follow-up and closing. Follow up on your interview. Express genuine gratitude for their time and the opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic organization. Reiterate your close. From your end, you couldn’t imagine a better fit for the next step in your career and you hope to work with them soon! Send a personalized note to every person you met with throughout the interview process. You’re awesome. You’ll kill it at your next job. Take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Research and immerse yourself in your prospective company and online culture. Take a deep breath and calm your nerves so you can shine on, you crazy diamond. SET YOURSELF APART!

  1. Hamilton, C. (2008/2005). Communicating for Results, a Guide for Business and the Professions (eighth edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth

Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.