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10 Brilliant Ways to Prepare for an Interview

Congratulations, you’ve landed an interview. But that’s the easy part, now you’ve got to prepare appropriately to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance of being hired.

You can be sure your competition is doing the same, so the more thorough you are at this stage, the better you’ll perform and the more likely you’ll be to come out on top.  Also, the more you prepare the more your confidence will increase, and you’ll be more relaxed. In our experience, the more relaxed candidates, who allow their personality to shine through, perform best at interviews.

Sales roles rely heavily on being prepared for meetings, so not readying sufficiently for an interview could be a big red flag to potential employers.

Here, then, are our top ten interview preparation tips.

1. Interview preparation - The basics

It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many candidates fall at the first hurdle – getting the location or the time of the interview wrong. Anyone turning up in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can kiss goodbye to their chances of success there and then.

Check, and double-check where you are being seen and when. Find out how you will get to the interview and give yourself plenty of time. Arriving just on time, flustered and sweaty, will not create a good impression, making you appear disorganised – hardly a plus point for a salesperson.

2. What to wear to an Interview?

Perhaps the biggest faux pas after turning up late is dressing inappropriately. In sales, business-like is always the way to go for first interviews.  Outside of IT, we recommend a suit and tie for gents (perhaps an open shirt for IT roles), and smart office attire for ladies.

Turning up in jeans, t-shirt and trainers shows a distinct lack of professionalism. Even though not many workplaces insist on them anymore, men should wear ties.  A great tip is to call up and ask reception whether interviewees are best to wear a tie or not.  This will inevitably get back to the hiring manager, and you’ll have won a ‘brownie point’ before you’ve even arrived.

For more information see How to Make a Terrific First Impression

3. How to research a company before an interview

At the interview, you are expected to be knowledgeable about the company you want to join. Showing a lack of understanding gives the impression you don’t care or that you cannot grasp detail – both things that will mark you down negatively in a sales role.

There are many ways you can read up about your target company, such as its website. Also, look at its LinkedIn profile, any media coverage, its share price (if applicable) – consume as much as you can about the business and its strategy.  One of the most important areas to research, particularly with larger companies, is their corporate values and how these could resonate with your own.  See How to Ace a Values-Based Interview.

Also, find out about its culture and who works there. If you don’t know anyone ‘on the inside’, look for staff members on LinkedIn. Then, search their social media accounts to see if there are any posts about their employer – don’t worry, this is not stalking, it’s simple basics to get an idea about a company, its staff and culture.

Also, look at Glassdoor to see what current and previous employees have written about working there.

For further reading see Researching a Company Prior to Interview.

4. Who will be interviewing you?

If you can, find out who will be conducting your interview, so you can research them as much as you can. Doing so will prepare you better for what to expect, and possibly open-up mutual interests or past associations that you can raise naturally during the interview.

If you can, ascertain if more than one person will interview you, or if it is to be a panel interview. Ensure your interview preparation is the best it can be for panel interviews, where you must appear confident before several people, all of whom will have specific roles during the process.

5. How to decipher a job description before an interview

Are you 100% sure about what it is that you are being interviewed for? Have you examined every word of the job description to be clear it’s what you want from a new role?

The job description not only aligns you with the vacancy, it will give you a good idea of which direction the interview will take.

Look at the core tasks of the role and write down examples of when you have excelled in these areas.  Then, look at the requirements and see if there are any gaps between these and your skills. If there are, think of arguments to counter against them. For example, if the brief states ‘must be a graduate’ then you could detail that you gained the grades to attend University but you decided against this particular path.  Interviews are now commonly competency based so it’s worth preparing specifically for this format.  It isn’t as daunting as it may sound, see How to WOW at a competency-based interview

6. Is this role really for you?

If after reflecting on the job description, your heart is not 100% in the new role, then don’t go through with the interview, even if you feel it may be good practice to do so.

However, it is imperative to communicate this to either your recruiter or to the interviewer directly. Not turning up is simply not an option. Business is a small world and we have tens of examples where further along in their career a candidate has had their ‘no show’ at an interview ‘come back to bite them’.

Any interviewer will hate their time being wasted and would far prefer to hear the reasons why you are withdrawing from their process and your rationale behind this.

Be confident about what you want from a new role, and this job search checklist may help you.

7. Know your product or service

If you’re gunning for a new sales role, preparing for a job interview must include thorough research of the product or service you’re going to be selling.

You’ll hardly inspire confidence at interview if you haven’t got a clue what the product you’re selling is, how it works, or who will be buying it.

8. How to practise interview answers to common interview questions

Many questions will crop up at just about any interview, particularly in sales. You can read some common interview questions here.

The more you rehearse these, the more confident and knowledgeable you will appear during the interview.

9. What questions should I ask at an interview

Preparing for a job interview isn’t just about the questions that you’ll be asked. Every interview concludes by asking the candidate if they have any questions. Don’t be the one who shuffles nervously in your seat and says: “No, I think we’ve covered everything.”

Have questions up your sleeve to ask at the end, or even to bring up during the rest of the interview (without coming across as too earnest).  Here are Five Good Questions to Ask at an Interview and How to Close a Sales Interview

10. What do I tell my current employer when I am attending an Interview?

If you need a few hours away, think about how you will inform your employer. Don’t say you have an interview as it’s likely to mark you down as disloyal and raise questions about things such as data security and business continuation.

Instead, take a half-day holiday or be as honest as you can, saying you have an urgent personal appointment. Most employers will understand without demanding to know the reasons behind it.  It can sometimes be useful to book a week off, around two weeks after you start your job search, purely to dedicate to attending interviews.

By following these ten pointers, you should be well prepared for your next interview. Just be yourself, answer truthfully and be expansive but relevant and focused in your answers. Show interest, too, and you will stand a good chance of progressing to the next recruitment stage.  For more advice visit the Aaron Wallis Career Tools Section

Aaron Wallis are a national specialist sales recruitment agency comfortable across many sectors, however more recently the majority of our clients utilise the below offerings:

Date published: 5th March 2024

A photo of Sophie Jones, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Sophie Jones

Sophie is an Associate Director at Aaron Wallis, and her main focus is to help clients find the best sales talent while ensuring that candidates secure the best professional fit. Sophie doesn't just fill vacancies; she strives to understand her clients' business goals, and she identifies candidates who will not only excel in the role but also contribute to the company's long-term success. Maintaining open communication is crucial, and Sophie ensures that clients are well-informed throughout the recruitment process, addressing any concerns and ensuring that expectations are met. She's a trusted advisor, and her ability to build bridges, solve problems, and advocate for success makes her an invaluable asset in the World of sales recruitment.

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I could not suggest anything I would like you to do better. The service you provided materially exceeded my expectations. I would especially like to commend Simon Bonner; he is easily the best recruitment consultant I have ever dealt with. I particularly valued his advice and guidance throughout the recruitment process. 

UK Sales Manager, BTS Holdings Limited 

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.

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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

Generally good standard of candidates. Especially liked the personality profile. Overall good value for money and will certainly use you again.

Managing Director, Medicash

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

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

Sophie did a great job at understanding our business and our needs, she is extremely professional and we hugely benefitted from her experience and expertise.

HR Manager, The Data Privacy Group Ltd

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

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

George is a joy to work with, and I'd recommend him to anyone seeking that unicorn hire - he found me mine, and I'm delighted!

Director, Education Support

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 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

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

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

George is a rare find in the world of recruitment - communicative without being pushy or over-bearing. He listens and understands what the customer needs as gets to know the business to ensure he provides fully competent candidates who fit.

HR Manager, Big Dug

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

As always we were extremely impressed with Rob's understanding of the role and our specific needs.

Managing Director, Speck & Burke

Really good service. Just the right amount of contact and easy to deal with.

HR Manager, Zircon Software Ltd

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

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

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

George came recommended by a colleague and has been a pleasure to work with. He was great at updating us on his progress and ensured a great experience for both client and candidate.

HR Manager, Annapurna Recruitment Ltd

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

Thank you for your dedicated help during the recruitment process - we came to you after unsuccessfully searching elsewhere, and hired, not one, but two! Quick response times, and a really personal approach, without being pushy.

Managing Director, Accora Ltd

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Our candidates say...

Sophie helped me secure a new role I have been searching for. She took her time to explain clear and concisely all I needed to succeed at the interview stage. Thanks again Sophie!

O. Oladejo, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

I had a very good experience with Aaron Wallis. The company itself is offering great content for all things related to the hiring process. I definitely recommend.

J. Ostermeier, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

I had the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.

A. Van Der Mescht, Candidate

Sophie has been fantastic and always so attentive, highly recommend.

T. Ashbourne, Candidate

I have to say using Aaron Wallis Recruitment has been nothing but an absolute pleasure. I've used many agencies over the years as the client and the candidate and its not always been a pleasurable experience!

L. Knowles, Candidate

The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.

M. Owusu, Candidate

Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.

J. Tooze, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

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

C. Caine, Candidate

I would highly recommend thank you to Darren for helping me secure my new job role! Excellent service all round!

G. Thompson, Candidate

The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

K. Peacock, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance 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 to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, 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

Managed to get me placed within a week! Really friendly and easy to deal with. Always available for a call and my biggest challenge was I was in work at the time I was looking for my next opportunity (which is stressful) but Sam made that easy.

P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

Sam was by far the most professional and helpful of any individual I've ever dealt with through a recruitment agency. He was supportive and thorough throughout the process. He definitely goes the extra mile for you. A pleasure to deal with. I would highly recommend him. An asset to Aaron Wallis

M. Wyer, Candidate

Sophie contacted me about a role explained the details clearly and made sure I was ready for the interview. She kept in touch every step of the way till I started the job. Thank you Sophie for a great experience.

S. Powell, Candidate

Friendly, proactive, communicative. Overall a really positive experience.

R. Houston, Candidate

When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs

D. Pinder, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with he was supportive really quick at replying and really put me at ease.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

Rob was really helpful when I was putting together a presentation for the second stage interview. Overall their communication was great and kept me updated of any progress

J. McGrattan, 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.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

George Humphries was a complete professional at every point, from our first phone conversation to his “good luck tomorrow” text on Sunday before I started in my new role.

E. Fry, 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

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

For anyone looking for work, I can't recommend Aaron Wallis highly enough.

C. Rockliffe, Candidate

Very polite and friendly and was very helpful finding me my next new role.

K. Craggs, Candidate

The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

D. Bermant, Candidate

I had a great experience. Helped me every step of the way to get my new job. Sophie was very polite, kind and helpful!

J. Parnham, 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

Excellent experience. Knowledgeable staff and really went the extra mile. Found my ideal position and I couldn't be happier. Special shout out to Sam and George: who made the process smooth and easy for me. Highly recommend.

K. Pearce, 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

Darren at Aaron Wallis was really encouraging and helpful. He was very responsive and regularly made phone calls to explain the job opportunities available, and guided me through the application process.

A. Brown, 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

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

I would highly recommend Aaron Wallis Recruitment, Darren was extremely helpful and provided me with plenty of advice and support throughout the whole process.

D. Bretherton, 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

George above and beyond to make sure I had everything I need to secure my new role. Outstanding Professional.

A. Kirkland, Candidate

Professional and responsive from start to finish. I would highly recommend. Special thanks to Sophie J for her help and support throughout.

N. Leney, Candidate

George is a fantastic recruitment agent and provides a great service. It was a pleasure I thoroughly recommend George to anyone.

C. Beaugie, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, 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