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Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Simplifying the 'Round 1' Inside Sales Interview

by Gail Milton on Wed, Jun 05, 2013

I've interviewed hundreds of inside sales candidates over the years. I’d like to think that I’ve developed a proven process for making the most of a round one interview.

I have been working and reworking a short outline that I picked up from Trish roughly 6 years ago.

Earlier this month, I put it to the ultimate test.

From Sales Leader to Parent/Coach

My daughter (not in sales) asked me for help preparing for a very important interview. She is getting her Masters at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service studying health policy and management. The interview was for a position at Ernst & Young.

Panicked, I wondered if my trusty outline would translate. (Note: I know nothing about this field) Yet, realizing how important this opportunity was to my daughter, I wanted to design a mock interview that would be challenging and, most importantly, help her prepare.

Preparing a customized interview

Trusting in Daniel Pink’s notion that To Sell is Human, I pulled out my tried and true outline.

I did the usual preparation—looking at the job description, reviewing her resume, and learning as much as I could about the company.

When the day came, I felt pretty confident I could play the part of an EY recruiter.

Forty minutes later, the interview was complete. My daughter commented, “Wow! That was just like a real interview. I’m going to have to work on how to answer XYZ question. I wasn’t ready for that one. Thanks mom!”

Phew! I still have my daughter snowed. She thinks I'm smart!

Bringing the round one interview process to your business

There is no shortage of books, lists and articles on how to improve your interview process. The number of interview styles to choose from is daunting.

This initial phone interview is critical for separating the wheat from the chaff. As a hiring manager, time is a fixed and precious resource.

I want to share few of the questions I use. You can get my interview outline here (.PDF).

Current Position

  • What two or three things have you learned in this role?
  • If you stayed with your current company, what would be your next move?

Management / Peers

  • Thinking about previous roles, what did your best managers have in common?
  • Tell me about a time you were able to motivate your co-workers?

Personal Development

  • What have you done for your professional development in the last few months?
  • How do you feel about your progress (career-wise) to date?

Closing/ Wrap Up

  • Going home and talking about your interview today. How will you describe our company?
  • Thanks for your time today. Would you mind sending me an email recapping your impressions of our interview?

I hope you find this tool helpful.

And, if any of you have children graduating from college and/or searching for jobs, try it out on them.

You ‘ll find not only another opportunity to refine your interviewing skills, but a chance to learn more about your own children and perhaps mentor them in a new way.

P.S.—My daughter got the gig!


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