How to Win a Sales Job Against More Qualified Candidates

Carter Hopkins

Carter Hopkins

Interview Tips


Maybe you’re just starting your sales career. Or your dream position just opened up but you’re going to have to punch above your weight class to land the job. Either way, I have a few tips you can use to end up on top, even against more qualified candidates.

Be unique and bold. Like it or not, competing against better candidates means you’ll have to take some calculated risks. But that’s not necessarily bad. It’s really just a matter of daring to be different across the interview process so you can distance yourself from the competition.

Most sales candidates prep for an interview with some light online research. But what if you were to interview a few of a company’s target customers with some pointed questions?

  • Have you heard of this company I’m interviewing with?
  • Do you currently use them?
  • Why do you use them (or not use them)?
  • What do you like and dislike about their sales reps?

This way, you can take the responses and prepare what’s basically a SWOT analysis of the company’s local sales process and present it during your interview. And that’s the type of strategy that immediately separates you in the eyes of a hiring manager.

Do the extra 5%. Granted, there’s only so much you can do to differentiate yourself. But while 95% of interview prep is identical, that last piece can make all the difference.

Besides the SWOT analysis, how about reaching out to some of the company’s current employees on LinkedIn? Ask for a few minutes of their time and many of them will gladly agree. Afterward, make sure it’s okay for you to mention the conversation in your interview.

From a recruiting manager’s perspective, that’s some serious moxie on your part. It’s proactive, innovative, and the type of outside-the-box thought and action that companies want to see from sales candidates.

Address objections upfront. When you’re not as qualified as other candidates, the lack of line items and bullet points on your resume is sure to be an elephant in the interview room. But why let it linger like a dark cloud and influence the direction and tone of the entire interview?

Instead, get that elephant out in the open as soon as the interview begins. Then spend the next 45-60 minutes selling yourself and why you’re the right who for the open seat. And just as importantly, explain why the company is a great fit for you.

Look the part. Of course, you also want to cover the basics by arriving at an interview early, dressing appropriately, and making a strong, appealing impression. But all of those should be a given.

Above all else, always try to exude confidence without being cocky, and show them how great of a sales rep you’ll be for their company by selling them on what you know best – yourself. That’s what HR reps and hiring managers want to see most.

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