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1. Plan Your 'Small Talk' for an interview

Prepare beforehand the small talk that you will use to get though that initial ‘sounding each other out’ stage.  Talk about (non contentious) current affairs, how nice the offices are, how friendly the receptionist is, how easy to find the offices were, how good the tea is.  If all else fails talk about the weather – but whatever small talk you make ensure that it’s positive – they want to hire a winner not a whiner!  Maintain solid, but natural eye contact, nod in agreement, use open handed hand gestures.

2. Take a notepad into every interview and use it!

Taking a notepad will make you come across more professional and interested in the role (and help you remember what was discussed in order to prepare for the second interview!).  Ask to take down notes – you’ll get a ‘brownie point’ for being polite, let them subtly see the research that you have undertaken in preparation for the meeting.  Invest in a document case where you can have your pad on the right side and your interview questions and even a list of your strengths and aspirations to the left side.  When you get that tough question – a quick dart down to your left and you’ll be back on track.

3. Build Rapport and Mirror the Interviewer

Mirror the style of the interviewer. Subtly mirror their body language – if they lean back, lean back yourself, if they use expressive hand movements do so yourself, try and talk at the same pace in the same range of tones. If you breathe at the same pace as the interviewer you will find yourself communicating at a similar pace. BUT be natural, don’t try to be someone that you are not and use natural body language.  Over-emphasised body language is very easy to spot, makes you comes across as staged and contrived.  I have even had interviewees come across as ‘weird’ or ‘intense’ because they took this mirroring advice far too literally so beware!

4. Listen!

We’ve all heard the cliché two ears and one mouth – but it is imperative at interview.  Listen to what’s not being said as much as what is!  Observe body language, eye movement and ensure the interviewer is engaged by what you have to say.  Don’t monopolise the conversation, be succinct in your answers and don’t waffle.  Ask acknowledgement questions i.e. ‘did that answer your question’ to ensure that the interviewer is engaged.  Don’t tell anecdotes unless they are highly relevant to the question and are backing up your case.  If asked questions such as ‘give an example of a risk that you have taken’, ‘what’s the biggest regret of your life’ always answer them in a way that will show you in the best positive light.  Skilled interviewers will lull you into a ‘false sense of security’ and before you know it you’re telling them that your idea of a perfect holiday is drinking twenty pints of lager a night!

First interviews tend to be a test of personality, character and basic fit i.e. could they see you working with the existing team, fitting in with the corporate culture, team dynamics, etc.  

5. Ask Questions throughout the interview

The best interviews are a two way process - where the balance of conversation is equal. In fact top books for interviewers say that the perfect balance should be 60/40 (60% Interviewee and 40% interviewer).  Prepare questions beforehand and ask them at natural points throughout the meeting. 

There is nothing worse for an interviewer who asks ‘Any questions?’ (as an invitation to close) and in reply gets a list of questions at the end – what are the hours, why do you work here, etc. - it’s very unnatural!

6. Know your facts in an interview

Know your CV inside out.  Ensure that you are able to back up, substantiate and elaborate on any claim that you have made on your CV.  Know your clients, your targets, your processes.  Take along testimonials, sales league tables, certificates of achievement/training, etc. 

7. Take your time

If you are unsure of the question or its’ relevance, ask for clarification. Don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to compose your succinct answer to the question (3-4 seconds goes unnoticed, shows you’re composed and gives you the thinking time to construct that killer-answer!)

You may also be interested in: Answering the question: "Tell me about Yourself"

Continue to Tips to Help you control your nerves at an interview


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Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis’ services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

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Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles saught to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dawrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard on securing my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them

C. Caine, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

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