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One Executive Reveals How to Succeed in a Sales Job Interview

Posted by Amy Elisa Jackson

October 2, 2018

Standing out in a job interview can be hard. Recruiters and hiring managers are screening and interviewing candidates at what seems to be warp speed, and there are so many qualified candidates applying to the role just like you are. So how do you really make them sit up and take notice?

"Sales teams need to have a drive that's unmatched," says Tracey Newell, President, Global Field Operations for Informatica. Grit and determination are essential for new hires, and, she adds, ideal candidates need to have a desire to stay committed to their team and their customers. "If [you're] changing jobs every two years, this is probably not the right place for you."

For the enterprise cloud data management company, a candidate who is applying can succeed in interviews by also showing a track record of success despite obstacles as well as a desire to work as a team. As Newell reads through a resume, she asks herself, "Has the candidate taken on a role where they had to create success in a territory that was not previously successful? Does the candidate have a history of reporting the news inside of their accounts, or is the candidate an individual who makes the news?"

In interviews, Newell will frequently ask applicants the following situational questions to get specifics about their work history and soft skills:

  • Can you share an example of a strategic win that involved executive sponsorship?
  • What's the most strategic sale you have ever had, where you leveraged your solution as a better option compared to a competitor?
  • Can you give me an example of a tough situation, where you wanted to give up, and you turned the situation around? What was key to your success?

Informatica, like many other companies, looks for and hires employees from a wide variety of backgrounds, who can successfully speak to these questions with the experiences they have had.

"We have people from all types of different software companies," says Newell. "While our sales account managers are not engineers, they need to be curious about the technology that they're selling, and have a good understanding of it. Our successful account teams are always learning, adapting, and applying what is new within their customer base to win in the market."

To drill down on what Newell and her colleagues look for in ideal candidates, we asked her to get specific — very specific — about what it takes to succeed in a sales job interview and get an offer. Here's what she said:

  1. Expect a straightforward process & be transparent. "Our recruitment process is straight forward and efficient – candidates should expect a fast moving end to end process. Our Talent Acquisition team will review applicants and perform an initial screen. The hiring manager will review and conduct a phone interview if experience matches the role’s requirements. If successful during the hiring manager interview, you should be expected to meet with the team for final face to face panel interview. Once you pass the face to face interview, you should expect an offer or feedback from the recruiter. Our interview process is world class and we keep the candidate experience front and center for all candidates."
  2. Show a passion for the work we do. "There isn’t a hotter topic in the world than data, and if you think about it, data is the new currency, which means our team is focused on accelerating our customers’ data-driven digital transformations. We know this is a board-level conversation and an opportunity for the world’s leading sales professionals to join the world’s leader in enterprise cloud data management. We are a leader in all five of the Gartner Magic Quadrants that cover the industry, which does more than just open doors for our reps, it gives them undisputed credibility with prospects and customers."
  3. Show an ability to master both the technical and the non-technical. "Our customers are depending on us to help them disrupt from their competition, which means our teams need to be able to have a business discussion, while also understanding how our software works. Our teams understand how we integrate with our customers’ reference architecture and their other critical solution providers, while also understanding our competitors and how to differentiate from our competition."
  4. Be a team player who is eager about learning & development. "We are all about making our new hires successful. We have a world class enablement organization that has built a jump start training program around how to win and to ensure our new hires are successful in the role. Our Jump Start program is not just about training. Sales is a team sport, which means that we have sales campaigns, marketing events, and our strategic partners all focused on helping you to get off to a fast start once you join our team."
  5. Be comfortable with talking to anyone and everyone. "We are looking for candidates experienced in selling and relationship management, to include success in selling to the Chief Information Officer or Chief Data Officer. Successful candidates will have experience in solution selling, selling subscription software, and understanding how both on premise and cloud base environment works."

If you're someone who loves to learn, adapt and exceed expectations, consider a career at Informatica. With hundreds of open positions, you're guaranteed to find one that works for you.

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