In this section
Second Interview Presentations
It is the norm to be asked to prepare a presentation at the second stage for a sales vacancy. Often a topic is already requested but more often than not the topic is ‘Why are you right for the job?’
I would go so far as to say that a good discipline is to prepare a second interview presentation along these lines, even if you haven’t been asked to prepare one. The effort in putting together a presentation that matches your quality, skills and experience against the job requirements will give you the edge on the day and will really make you think that you are making the right decision in joining this organisation.
It shouldn’t take any more than two hours to put together and will be there to turn to if the meeting really isn’t going in the direction that you had planned.
If you've gotten ahead of yourself and perhaps need advice on first interviews, you can have a look at all our advice on 'how to WOW at a first interview'.
GOLDEN RULE: However, an absolute DON’T is to use your presentation as a ‘safety blanket’ when you haven’t been asked to prepare one, i.e. Interviewer: ‘How do you expect to penetrate into the following markets....?’ You (tucking into your briefcase) ‘well I have a presentation here, that.....’ ONLY use the presentation during the meeting as a last resort.
What the presentation should be short (no more than ten minutes if you have to deliver it) and no more than ten sheets or slides). It should contain:
Why you want to work for the company – key facts, direction, etc.
Why you want this particular job – the opportunity, etc.
What benefits you can bring to the company – experience, strengths, values, etc.
Your training and development requirements to succeed
Why you are the right person for the role
You may also want to include how you would plan, your approach, how you would structure your working day/week/month/quarter.
How you would impose key performance indicators upon yourself to attain and exceed targets.
GOLDEN RULE 2: The employer knows their business better than you. Keep it general, don’t quote specific accounts that you could bring to the company, the account values, etc.
GOLDEN RULE 3: Always take at least three printed copies of your presentation to the meeting and hand them out at the end. The adage of remembering just 25% of what you’ve heard after 24 hours is true and most hiring decisions are made after a period of deliberation that is typically 24-48 hours. Your presentation document just might have the memory trigging tags to make the decision swing your way!
Obscure second interview questions
You may be asked to prepare a presentation with a title such as ‘The features and benefits of a ping pong ball’ or ‘Nature or Nurture, what is more important?’ or ‘You work for a paperclip manufacturer and you have to sell the features and benefits of a paperclip’ (all of the three detailed here are factual cases!)
Why do employers do this? It may appear churlish but it’s a demonstration of lateral thinking, willingness to go the extra mile, creative thinking, negotiation, commercial flair and above all salesmanship. It's also a test of commitment to the job - how much effort will you put in to 'land the deal', are you prepared to ‘jump through the hoops’!
If you fancy a list of common interview questions, we've assembled a list of the most common interview questions here.
Obscure Presentation Example: The Paperclip Presentation
As an example I’m going to use ‘You work for a paperclip manufacturer and you have to sell the features and benefits of a paperclip’ (which incidentally, is the standard second interview presentation for a major household FMCG brand).
Many treat the presentation as a game and present it as a game and make it fun and light hearted - they invariably don't get offered the job. Others put together a jazzy presentation on paper clips, their variety of uses and pitch accordingly. Where they fail is that unless you understand the need you can't sell anything – the adage of ‘diagnosing the illness before prescribing the medicine!’
A perfect way of executing this exercise is as follows and please tune it accordingly to the ‘obscure presentation’ that you may have been asked to prepare!
First off. Enter the meeting. 'Thank you very much for inviting me here today to discuss your urgent paperclip requirements. I understand from our discussions last week that today you are looking to agree a preferred supplier of paperclips and I understand that Ben, you are the Group Purchasing Director and Fred you are the, Group Finance Director. I also understand that you are looking to make a decision on a supplier today – is that correct?’ (by doing this they cannot use the objection of - we're not the right person, we're not in a position to make a decision today, etc'.)
Start the presentation with an overview of ‘Paperclips 'R' Us’ (or whatever) - history, services - holding stock, 3 day delivery, ability to supply volume, quality of product, ability to bespoke to need, etc.
It's imperative that YOU ask THEM early on 'what is your budget' - then you might find that you can easily sell to them on price.
Collect a handful of different types of paper clips (shapes, styles, colours), etc.
Ask them to touch the product (you can’t beat a kinaesthetic sale!)
Paint a couple, put tippex on a couple, wrap some coloured tape around some – whatever – I know it sounds somewhat strange but going this extra mile will make the difference!
Then probe to understand their needs - prepare 15 or so questions around the type of paperclip that they require, the volume, added value services, etc.
Prepare a slide per type of paperclip so that you can go into the detail of their preferred clip and skip past the ones that aren't right for their need and explain why
If asked price answer something like - 'I know that price is important to both of us but can we park this just for a moment until I fully understand your needs. I am confident that I will be able to propose a price that is both attractive and works for both of us'
Then pitch the product - the features, examples, benefits of the paperclip that is the solution to their need (have a brainstorm with yourself about exactly what benefits there could be – the amount of paper it can hold, flexibility, uniqueness of the colour, etc. think of every imaginable feature and benefit!)
Then ‘semi close’ - Do you agree that this is the right paperclip for you? Are there any further features that they would like you me to detail? What do we have to do to make the deal today?
Prepare bartering chips other than price - stock holding, delivery time, volumes, payment terms, etc - if you negotiate down on price ensure you give nothing away and always get something in return. Remember, negotiation is where both parties leave happy and it’s a win-win - not where one is battered on price, that’s called discounting!
If you are getting nothing but positives then close it down
Get agreement to product, volume, additional required services, total cost, etc.
Go one step further and pre-prepare an order form - get it out of your briefcase and get them to sign it on the spot!
If they don't agree to this as a minimum get agreement to the next meeting and an agenda for what you will propose - i.e. you'll go back to your R&D department to bespoke accordingly, you'll look at cheaper raw materials to get the price down, etc.
Pre-prepare a price list so that when you get their signature on the dotted line you can detail how well you negotiated to secure the deal!
Remember never give anything away for nothing - everything is tradable and barter accordingly to secure a price and service that is right for both parties!
Go the ‘extra mile and a half’ by creating a logo for the paperclip business, an order form, business card, price list - it'll only take an hour or two but could really make the difference between you and the other interviewees.
Thank them for their time (and their business); close the meeting and job done!
As you can see we have now taken a somewhat trite and childish presentation title into a 'full on' business pitch. This approach will demonstrate how you will succeed in their organisation by questioning, understanding needs, pitching product, negotiating, closing, etc.
Good luck with putting together your second interview questions and we hope that you found this useful!
- How to WOW at Second Interview
- Researching for Second Interviews
- Second Interviews - How to Negotiate Salary Package
- How to Close at Second Interview
- Great Tips for Second Interviews
- Second Interview Presentations
- How to Follow Up on an Interview
- How to Wow at Second Interview - Video and Transcript
Date published: 26th November 2022
Submit your CV
Take the first step towards your new role today
With hundreds of jobs available, now is the time to look for your perfect position
by Simon Bonner
About the author
With over 25 years in B2B sales and recruitment, Simon is an English Graduate from UEA and specialises in recruiting commercial and FMCG sales positions. Simon joined the sales recruitment industry in 1998 before progressing into field sales and returning to recruitment in 2015. As an Associate Director, Simon is well placed to understand the needs of clients and candidates' needs, having spent ten years selling electronic security and managing National Accounts within OEM manufacturers and distribution channels. An avid Luton Town football fan, Simon dotes on his two daughters and enjoys keeping fit, socialising, food and wine.
From our blogRead more
Our employers say...
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
Generally good standard of candidates. Especially liked the personality profile. Overall good value for money and will certainly use you again.
Managing Director, Medicash
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
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
Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.
Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd
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
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
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
Very professional service and will certainly be in contact for future recruitment.
Director, Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I can't fault Sam or AW! Sam was a pleasure to work with and provided great support from the start. Sam always provided me with timely updates when required and provided outstanding candidates!
Director, Waste Managed 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
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
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
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
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
Really good service. Just the right amount of contact and easy to deal with.
HR Manager, Zircon Software Ltd
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
Our candidates say...
When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs
D. Pinder, Candidate
Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.
C. Caine, 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
George is a fantastic recruitment agent and provides a great service. It was a pleasure I thoroughly recommend George to anyone.
C. Beaugie, Candidate
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
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
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
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
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
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
Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.
E. Heley, 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
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
I would highly recommend thank you to Darren for helping me secure my new job role! Excellent service all round!
G. Thompson, Candidate
Very polite and friendly and was very helpful finding me my next new role.
K. Craggs, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.
A. Van Der Mescht, 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 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
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
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
The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.
M. Owusu, Candidate
For anyone looking for work, I can't recommend Aaron Wallis highly enough.
C. Rockliffe, Candidate
Friendly, proactive, communicative. Overall a really positive experience.
R. Houston, Candidate
Sophie has been fantastic and always so attentive, highly recommend.
T. Ashbourne, 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