Insider Interview Tips From a Former Sales Recruiter

This post was contributed by Diana Hamister:


Recruiting is SO much fun. I literally cannot stand it. Why do I say that? Well… because it’s simply an adventure and very much like dating. All the fun, excitement and yes, sometimes all the drama that you can handle – or NOT! If it’s not fun, it is guaranteed to be a good laugh afterward. Bear in mind that this article is written in a lively way to demonstrate a point. Anyone who works with me personally knows that I have a genuine care to uplift others and to be honest, I’ve probably made a few of these mistakes myself in my past so no shame here!


My name is Diana Hamister and I am the Founder and CEO of a leadership driven, wellness/fitness and fun centered event business. Side project = YouTube


Main passion: Meeting my future partners in business and growing a national team of free leaders who desire elite mentorship, leadership and have a true vision for more out of life. Complacency = mediocrity. Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve.


And to be honest what I do now just about as much fun as my days in recruiting sales people, but with far greater purpose.


Yes, sales people are the best, and even the not so stellar ones will always brighten my day. Side note on the not so stellar:  Think super sleuth FBI investigation mode! That was always a fun interview. I won’t go into too much detail, but here is the deal: We hate being lied to and we always know. Don’t even think about it. You’re on our turf now so it’s time to play fair, even if we have home advantage. You’ll get over it, so no need to overcompensate. Drop the ego, it’s all good!


But seriously, can you tell I love talking to and meeting new people? Sales people are charming, funny, off the wall personalities that also have a huge drive and passion for closing deals and helping others.


In this article, I’m focusing on interviewing tips that should really hit home for the millennial sales crowd, a group that is so near and dear to my heart!


Ok now! Let’s go over the three key stages in the game and check out the characteristics of the players involved.


The Pre-Game:
Who to be:
Mr. or Ms. Charming – Smile over the phone and communicate with confidence. Have impeccable timing. Be this person at every stage and keep them curious about you!
Who NOT to be:
Mr. or Ms. Shy/Timid – Great salespeople are typically loud and know how to ask for what they want.
Mr. or Ms. Overconfident/Cocky – Attitude stinks and unfortunately us recruiters can smell it from a mile away. Think about how you approach conversations with others, do you try and overtake them and try to one up everyone, or do you listen and care about what others have to say? No. Don’t even think about being controlling!
Mr. or Ms. Stalker – This is like you spending hours on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook trying to get a picture of who your company is going to be. You do this in dating, and we sometimes do this as recruiters. It’s real, but the best advice I will ever give is to not base your decisions solely on social media. Plenty of companies haven’t built out their Glassdoor pages or LinkedIn profiles, so all you’ll see is a bunch of nothing and several Debbie Downers and excuse makers blowing things out of proportion. Don’t be that ignorant.  Walk into the interview with positive expectations, you’ll be glad you did because it will influence the outcome.
Lesson: Don’t be a Debbie by feeding into negativity. Seriously, save yourself the hassle and the other person’s time.
On the flip side: Don’t be desperate or sound insecure. If you’re having a moment or a bad day, just wait until it passes before getting into full on communication. Speak some positive affirmations and do whatever you need to make you happy. Get it together! If you reschedule, you may lose an opportunity, but a negative mental state will not help your communications either!
Insider tip: The good recruiters know so much even before the first interview. Paper can lie, but nothing speaks more than interaction!


Who to be:
Mr. or Ms. Sharp – Be well dressed and have proper body posture and control. You would not believe some of the things I have seen such as slouching, open mouth gum chewing and yes, cowboy boots.
I could absolutely write an entire article on the power of the attire alone! Picture walking out of Banana republic in something sharp that reflects the type of sales job you’re interviewing for. When in doubt, simply ASK the recruiter! A strong outer appearance will speak to how much self-confidence you have on the inside.
Last but not least, punctuality counts! To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late as the saying goes.


1. Show up prepared with two copies of your resume.
2. Even if you think you’ll be just a few minutes late, call beforehand. This is about doing what you say you will do!
Mr. or Ms. Congeniality –  Be friendly, warm, have good eye contact and for goodness sakes lighten up and smile!  Of course, you will have to gauge your interviewer’s temperament. Mirroring is another topic in sales that you will certainly want to use to your advantage. Google it. That’s the power of the information age. Boom. Answers at your fingertips!
Who NOT to be:
Mr. or Ms. High Maintenance – Yes, I know Millennials get a bad wrap for entitlement which is absolutely NOT true in my opinion, however, it is good to pick up on proper etiquette in business meetings. i.e. how to not come across as too demanding, arrogant, etc.
This is like you asking the wrong questions at the wrong time, demanding salary info in the beginning stages and/or prying for information that the interviewer is not willing to give. I understand that we all have a what’s in it for me mentality, but you just have to be patient and allow it to unfold or walk away if something doesn’t look to be working out.
A note on leaving the process: Have the courage to communicate WHY!  I cannot tell you how many times this has saved a candidate. They have the information incorrect and were about to make a decision on their own. Communication is key!
Mr. or Ms. TMI – This is probably one of the biggest downfalls of any terrible interview. We don’t need to know your sob story, we actually prefer not to hear it. It only sends shock waves to our mind about all kinds of drama about what your work life will look like at our company and how we will have to open a new req (fancy Recruiter slang for a job posting) to find the next unicorn sales phenomenon. Not an easy task. Again don’t lie, be honest. Learn how to spin it to your advantage. This is sales you know and you’re liable to shut everything down. Sad face, I know.


Bottom line: Zip it, check your baggage at the door and save it for someone else. Keep your Snapchat on lockdown. Don’t roll your eyes at me, you know who you are! Kidding, but seriously you know I’m right. I’m a coach, but I’m not your boss- therefore, no matter how much we like each other, I cannot help you after you leave me. There isn’t much training in the way of handling people. You are valuable and it’s unfortunate corporate leaders simply buckle under the responsibility of handling another human. Not an easy task, but certainly not one to be overlooked.


Last but definitely NOT least and I’ll end with this crucial first impression. The handshake. Some of you know what I’m talking about. The death grip and limp noodle are not effective ways to shake someone else’s hand. It literally ruins everything, not kidding and I wish I could explain it but there are no words. SMH… google it.


Post game:
Be your best version of yourself and not someone else.  Relax, have fun and connect with the interviewer and if they don’t BAMFAM (book a meeting from a meeting), you do it yourself! Ask for the next steps if you’re interested and it will speak volumes to the interviewer without coming across as desperate. Thank you notes are nice, and so are emails, but just keep in mind that in today’s society when you submit yourself to the power of a corporate interview process, it’s just going to be filled with moments of darkness. Many companies are just plain confused and over complicate simple decisions that should be based on integrity, raw skills, and a candidates willingness to learn.


Yep. Don’t worry and have FUN! It will work out in the long run, even if you don’t get the job. Patience is also key and I apologize in advance for their tardiness – it will cause you frustration.


So, now that we’ve talked about all these dating analogies – how will you know if your next job is “the one”?
Answer: If you happen to meet your future boss and he or she can provide a greater level of transparency. You’ve got a winner because that is an employer who will champion for you in the long run. Just be sure to meet EVERYONE. People are like cats, complex and moody. You don’t want your new boss to be like that. Recruiters are the face of the company which can be conflicting since we are salespeople too! So just be open to all the steps and work through the process. Don’t get stuck on just us, because you’ll get the best feel from meeting more people on the team. You’ll also experience serendipity or perfect timing. Mainly with us, but that’s just because we are magical matchmakers.


Well, that’s all folks! That is a pretty comprehensive list of tips, which to be honest, it’s rare to see someone pass with flying colors. Guilty of being judgy. That’s what we are paid to do and sadly it can be a bit cutthroat and crude at times in the corporate environment. Not one person is perfect, not even myself; but with continual development growth is possible! Google more, read more, and practice being a better human being more.


My top two timeless reads:
Now get out there and win!
To learn more about Diana, connect with her on LinkedIn
Twitter: @TX_FitClub

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