Categories
Interview Prep Tips

Questions to ask an interviewer

Introduction

You applied for a sales-related job, landed an interview and your interviewer asks the inevitable question: “So, do you have any questions for me?”.

Your answer to this question should always be “yes”!

Interview follow-up questions are a great opportunity for you to highlight strong points that for whatever reason weren’t probed in the interview and also to demonstrate to your interviewer that you actually care about the job or organization you are applying for.

So make sure you ask questions after an interview – if you do it right, it will definitively boost your chances.  We’ll show you how.

Assessing the first part of the interview

Before diving into the follow-up questions, you should take a second to assess how the first part of the interview was – when the interviewer asks you the questions.

Was it a great interview and you only want to end on a high note?  Was it an interview where you aren’t sure you did your best?  Or was it an interview where you didn’t perform at your best and it needs to be salvaged ASAP?

The questions you’ll ask depend a lot on your assessment of the first part of the interview.  Unfortunately, I can’t give you a hard and fast answer to the questions you need to ask – you need to think about which questions would benefit you the most.

Below are some questions split up into broad categories to keep in mind as you wrap up your interview.  Mix and match those questions to maximize your chances of getting hired.

Questions about the organization and the role you are applying for

  1. What is the culture at this organization?
  2. What is the culture in this department?
  3. What can you tell me about the team I’ll work with?
  4. What do the people who work here love the most about this organization?
  5. What is the leadership team at this organization focused on fixing right now?
  6. How does this role fit within the broader organization?  Is it a strategic role?
  7. What is the process for giving feedback in this organization?
  8. How is success measured for the person in this job?
  9. Do I have a say in setting my targets and goals?
  10. Does the organization expect evolution or revolution when it comes to this role?


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Questions about the work that has to be done

  1. What’s the biggest challenge facing the person that takes this job?
  2. What kind of resources would I have available?
  3. In how much time does the organization expect results from my work?
  4. Do you feel the biggest challenge facing this role is internal or external?
  5. How much freedom do I have in setting up my workflow?
  6. What are the organization’s biggest competitors?
  7. What is the organization’s biggest challenge?
  8. What common mistakes have people in this role done?
  9. Is there a product or initiative pipeline?  How does it look?
  10. How much attention will I get from my immediate superior?

Questions about long term commitment

  1. What kind of training and development opportunities are available?
  2. Does this organization do broadening assignments?
  3. What do I need to do to advance my career here?
  4. Is this company profitable/growing?  Only ask this in case the information is not publicly available.
  5. Ask about benefits if this information hasn’t been provided yet.
  6. Do you see this role having expanded responsibilities in the future?
  7. Does the company have a long-term vision?
  8. Does the company have plans to go public (in case this is a privately held company)?
  9. How tra
    nsparent is upper management with the rest of the employees?
  10. What is the company’s employee churn rate?

Questions you should not ask in an interview!

  1. Did I get the job?
  2. How did I do?
  3. How did I do compared to the other candidates?
  4. How soon can I request days off?
  5. How soon can I ask for a raise?

Closing the interview

While asking follow-up questions is absolutely crucial for a successful interview, don’t go overboard.  You might have allocated a whole afternoon to an interview, but your interviewer might have only 30 minutes!

Therefore, you have to play things by ear and gauge how much time the interviewer has leftover for your questions.  In some cases, you’ll only be able to ask one question, while in others (especially for jobs higher up in the organization), it is not unheard of chatting for hours after the formal interview is over.  Though keep in mind that the person you are chatting with will definitively still be in “interview mode”!

One last question you must ask the interviewer is pretty straightforward: What are the next steps following this interview?  This shows you are interested in the job and it will also help you feel less stressed while waiting for an answer.

Practice for your interview!  Here’s how:

Interviews are very stressful and can break down even the most confident applicants.  One way to make sure your confidence is solid is to practice your interview.

Prepare for the interview appropriately and practice with a platform like Voomer – you’ll be able to practice and receive feedback on those very questions listed above (and more!) in an environment that is very similar to the real interview.

If you are curious about how Voomer’s AI-powered video assessment tools can help you to prepare thoroughly for your upcoming video essays click below to get started!

If you feel we’ve left any out any questions would like us to update the list please email us: [email protected]

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

Interview questions for sales managers

Introduction

Applying for a sales manager or business development job can be very stressful.  As a sales manager, you’re expected to think on your feet, deal with any unexpected issues gracefully and wrap up conversations with customers on a high note.

As a former hiring manager myself and a sales veteran, I can attest to the fact that hiring managers are very likely to turn up the pressure during your interview to 11 – precisely because sales roles and high pressure usually go hand in hand!

Therefore, even if you have lots of sales experience or if you are looking for a job upgrade into management, it is always a good idea to thoroughly prepare for a sales manager interview!

The sales manager’s role

It is important to keep in mind what the role of a sales manager is, as that is what the hiring manager is looking for in an applicant.

If we could choose only one word, it would be “results”.  It is extremely important you keep this in mind during the entire interview as every question you answer is an opportunity for you to mention something you did that resulted in concrete, positive results for the organization you worked for.

That being said, the term “manager” is also a big clue to keep in mind.  You’ll have to manage several resources to reach the goals the organization sets out for your role (and that you set out for yourself!).  Chief among them is people.  Money and assets such as cars, phones, laptops, etc follow closely behind and enable you and your team to reach their goals.

What the hiring manager wants to hear – and hire!

First and foremost, they want to be sure you match the job description.  So make sure you tailor your CV and cover letter to that.  Also, prepare for your interview with that job description in mind.

But that’s obvious, what else does the hiring manager expect?

Most people at higher levels in an organization are extremely busy.  If you can show them you are driven and have initiative (while presenting good results of course), that’s most of the battle already won.

The best way to demonstrate initiative while delivering results is to use the CAR method when answering questions.  CAR stands for context, action, result – all of your answers should be structured that way.  In more detail:

  • Context – What was the situation you faced at the time?  Tell the interviewer what was going on.  The interviewer is going to be interested in how you assess and deconstruct problems.
  • Action – What did you do about that situation?  This is where you show the interviewer you can put actions into words and do something positive!
  • Results – How did your context change due to the results of your actions?  If things got worse or didn’t work out as planned – that’s OK.  The interviewer is also looking for signs you can do an honest self-assessment of your actions.  However, if you have an example to share with great results, try and use that first!


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Before the interview / Plan and prepare for the interview

Don’t just jump into an interview without preparing for it.  As a former hiring manager, it is painfully obvious when an applicant hasn’t taken the time to prepare.

Take some time to research the company, the business and the role.  There are lots of great resources for that such as Wikipedia and Glassdoor, the latter works well even for smaller organizations.

Write out questions you want to ask the person interviewing you.  Keep in mind that this is another great opportunity for you to shine – a well-thought-out two or three questions help to make you a memorable applicant.  Take a look at this article where I go into detail about how to come up with great post-interview questions.

Just before you head into the interview, put your mind in the right place.  For some people that might mean a few minutes of quiet meditation, for others, it might mean listening to some tracks that will pump you up.  David from Team Voomer put together a great playlist for the latter group.

Interviewing on video (Zoom/Skype/HireVue/Spark Hire/etc)

If your interview is going to be done on video (either a live interview on Zoom or a recorded one on a platform such as a HireVue or Spark Hire) you must be aware of some extra steps in your preparation.

Since you are going to be on camera, special attention must be paid to your hardware, surroundings, lighting, framing, etc.  I recently wrote an article covering most of these steps here, so make sure to check that out.

Another thing you must do is practice – interviews on camera are completely different from face-to-face interviews and many people underestimate how unnerving it can be to do a video interview.  Build your confidence with a platform like Voomer that simulates the look and feel of a video interview.

Small talk

52% of interviewers make a decision on whether to hire a candidate between 5 and 15 minutes into the interview.  What does that mean?

That means that the seemingly innocuous small talk before your interview “really” starts is as or more important than the “real” interview itself!

Small talk helps you set the mood and pace for the rest of the interview and you want to set that up in a way that benefits you the most.  Do you want to come across as a cheerful, approachable person?  Or as a “let’s get down to business” pragmatist that doesn’t beat around the bush?  You are the best judge of which persona is best for you and the job you are applying for – just be deliberate with your small talk.

Behavioral interview questions

  1. What was the most complex problem you ever had to solve?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to train someone else.
  3. Tell me about a situation where you had to fill your manager’s shoes.
  4. What was the strongest disagreement you had with your manager?
  5. What was the strongest disagreement you had with a teammate?
  6. Tell me about a time you noticed something in the market you were in, or in the organization you worked at, that no one else noticed.
  7. Tell me about a time you empowered someone at work.
  8. Tell me about a situation where you implemented a change at work.
  9. What was the harshest criticism you received?
  10. What was the toughest decision you ever made under extreme time pressure?

Sales knowledge interview questions

  1. How did you organize the workflow in your previous job?  Why did you choose that setup?
  2. What type of support did you request from other departments in your previous job?  How did you integrate that into the sales process?
  3. What type of support do you predict you’ll need from other departments?
  4. Pitch your cell phone to me, pretend I am a customer.
  5. Walk me through your objection management process.
  6. Walk me through your path-to-purchase process at your previous job.
  7. Which CRM systems are you familiar with and how did you use them?
  8. Tell me about a time you were able to reactivate a dormant customer.
  9. Tell me about a time that you failed a customer.
  10. What was the toughest deal of your career?

Motivational interview questions

  1. Why are you applying to this company?
  2. Why are you applying for this role?
  3. What inspires you?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  10 years?
  5. Why did you choose a career in sales?

CV based questions

Since these questions are based on an individual’s CV, there isn’t a list of questions we can show you – it all depends on what on your CV or resume piques the interviewer’s interest.

However, under certain circumstances, there are some common questions that do come up.  Look at your resume and ask yourself if these questions are likely to come up:

  1. Explain this large gap in your resume
  2. Explain why you left company X.
  3. Explain why you left your previous role.
  4. Tell me why you decided to change careers.
  5. Why did you change roles within sales?
  6. Why does it look like you had a demotion?
  7. Why did you decide to work for this (potentially morally objectionable) company?
  8. Why did you spend so much time in a certain role?  This is usually the case when a person hasn’t been able to get a promotion.
  9. It says on your CV that you are familiar with a certain ERP or CRM platform – prove it.
  10. You don’t have the necessary experience for this job, why should we hire you?

Unexpected interview questions

Some interviewers like to ask questions that don’t really fit any of the above categories.  Sometimes they are used as icebreaker questions or they might even be asked to deliberately confuse you.  Regardless of the reason behind the question, take a look at the below examples to be prepared!

  1. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try?
  2. What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?
  3. What is the most interesting course you took as a student?
  4. If you could meet anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?
  5. What is your most treasured possession and why?
  6. If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?
  7. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  8. How many barbers are there in New York City
    ?
  9. What’s the best book you have ever read and why?
  10. Tell us about the most interesting place you’ve traveled to. What did you enjoy most about it?

How to answer these questions?

For all the above questions, stick to the CAR methodology I mentioned earlier – as long as it makes sense!  For a question where you have to answer with dry facts, that methodology might not make sense and it is more appropriate to simply answer the question in a straightforward manner.

Be careful with the vocabulary you use.  For questions that revolve around teamwork, make sure to use the word “we” a lot, highlighting how the group was able to work together to achieve a certain goal.  Yet when the interviewer is exploring your individual capabilities, make sure to use “I”.

Conclusion

Interviews for sales manager jobs can be tough.  While it can be very rewarding, sales is usually a very rough environment where results are expected and excuses are frowned upon.

This translates into how interviews are conducted, so make sure you prepare for the interview appropriately and practice with a platform like Voomer – you’ll be able to practice and receive feedback on those very questions listed above (and more!) in an environment that is very similar to the real interview.

If you are curious about how Voomer’s AI-powered video assessment tools can help you to prepare thoroughly for your upcoming video essays click below to get started!

If you feel we’ve left any out any questions would like us to update the list please email us: [email protected]

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

The Ultimate Goldman Sachs HireVue Question, Preparation, and Research Guide

You are now part of the future of the hiring process worldwide. Each firm you are applying to that uses HireVue recorded interviews is telling you how great this new development of one-way interviews is in allowing them to speak to and analyze applicants. Indeed, Goldman Sachs has a video celebrating this new era of interviews on demand and providing you with some headline but not exhaustive guidance on tackling HireVue.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for you to share this joy with them. Like nearly all candidates taking HireVue recorded interviews, it’s your least favorite step – an awkward experience with no feedback, and no human connection. Another hurdle on your way to building that successful career you dreamt of. That is why we created Voomer, to enable you to get feedback and feel confident, and why we created this guide, to make one of the most challenging recruitment processes a little less daunting.

The guide has the following sections:

  1. Research
  2. Preparation
  3. Question Bank

Research

This section of the guide explores the key research factors in preparing you for success in an interview with Goldman Sachs. From looking at the firm itself to fundamental headline stats your research will set you up for success. Let’s get started!

  1. Research the firm
  2. Research the division
  3. Build global news awareness
  4. Know fundamental stats
  5. Conduct a PESTEL analysis
  6. Review recent executive movements

Research the firm

Form 10K: As with any other US public company, your first stop for research should be Goldman’s Form 10K. The Form 10-K, as well as other mandatory SEC filings, can be found in the SEC’s EDGAR database. Why exactly is the Form 10-K so useful that we’ve said it four times? That’s because it contains a comprehensive summary of financial performance. Company history, organizational structure, executive compensation, equity, subsidiaries, audited financial statements, and a discussion of current expectations and business conditions are often found here. This cues you into potential avenues to explore, or key factors that have led to historical decision making. We have one question: Could an applicant ask for more?

For up to the minute updates on Goldman we suggest using a financial news outlet’s company search feature, such as our favorite The Financial Times’ company search tool here. This will cue you in not only to Goldman news, but transactions, deals, and areas Goldman positions itself as a clear thought leader.

Research the division

For division research, A news platform’s company search tool can provide a great start. Build a filter around the specific topics and metrics you expect your selected divisions are interested in. If IBD (Investment Banking Division) is your focus you might want to look at cross-industry and cross-market effects on stock prices. If markets, consider what is moving the market right now, and what is the story behind current volatility (or lack of) in the market as a whole and particular groupings of stocks. Have a perspective on GameStop!

Build global news awareness:

Make it a habit to check in with CNBC just before or just after you check social media, or if you struggle to do that just follow CNBC on Facebook. Remember to keep abreast of any major changes in geopolitics and especially news that is relevant to your division. Open up a GoogleDoc and keep notes as to the topics of interest and update when you see new headlines. Remember that Form 10-K, how and where do these stories tie into Goldman’s current situation?

Know fundamental stats:

Know the price of Oil, Gold, and Bitcoin. Both the general levels Oil, Gold, and Bitcoin vary around and a specific price on the day of an interview. It is not likely to come up in the HireVue video interview but it is great practice for being ready for in-person interviews and not making a silly faux pas by saying Brent crude is $500 a barrel and Gold is currently at $75, and a bitcoin is $1000.  If you struggle with memorizing make sure you know the order of magnitude of the values and add them into finance apps on your phone. Build a habit.

Conduct a PESTEL analysis

Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal. Get a sheet of paper for each of these and create a mindmap, or use a tool such as MindNode on your phone or laptop. What are the main issues in each of these areas that are producing opportunities, risks, or both for Goldman today? Maybe that Form 10K seems incredibly useful now, eh? Think both at the high level of global trends which are bringing sweeping change to the industry, and specific events that are having a collateral impact of note on Goldman in particular – are there any events that are having a greater effect on Goldman versus competitors – or any that competitors are feeling the brunt of and Goldman is not impacted by. Why?

Review recent executive movements

No we are not talking about following executives on a motorcycle to a private jet to figure out where the next big deal is happening… we are asking: Where are the recent executive hires? Are there any positions that are currentl
y unexpectedly open within the firm? Is there someone new in the division looking to create their legacy? What transitions are taking place? Why? All of this foundational knowledge can help you tie in answers and link your experience to current-day events in the company.

In this section, we explored the fundamentals of research in preparing you for success in an interview with Goldman Sachs. From looking at the firm itself to headline stats research, research will set you up for success. Now we have the basics in place, let’s progress to prepare for the recorded interview itself!

Preparation

This section of the guide explores a selection of ways to prepare you for your recorded interview with Goldman Sachs. Goldman suggests preparing for the HireVue recorded video interview as if it was a regular interview – we are here at Voomer to help you perform at your best. From looking at practical webcam and microphone tips to building your familiarity with the medium, we discuss how solid hardware and tools such as Voomer can position you for success. Let’s get started!

  1. Collect and collate meaningful personal stories
  2. Get the technology right
  3. Practice, practice, practice – with Voomer
  4. Check out the question bank
  5. Pick the time
  6. Set the mood
  7. Nail it.

Collect and collate meaningful personal stories

Make brief notes on 5-6 problems you experienced in college or in a previous job. Try out the PAR approach. Specify the Problem, describe your Action, celebrate the Result. Start off making brief bullets on the P, the A, and the R.

The Problem sets the scene, it doesn’t have to be a crisis but it should set forward a challenge that not every candidate would easily find a constructive resolution to.

“I was part of a class project team and two members of the team decided to go to the gym rather than help finish the assignment due that night.”

The Action shows the methodologies and dynamism of how you approach and address challenges. Make sure not to short-change this section of the answer – in many ways, this is the most important section. Discuss how you collected insights to decide, empathized with the other parties, and then competently, proactively, and with the buy-in of other stakeholders took an action to tackle the status quo.

“After speaking with my other teammates I determined that there was a significant amount of work to be done by the end of the day that required the expertise of those teammates who were planning to go workout and that collectively each of us felt that there were responsibilities that we did not feel comfortable releasing the other teammates from – they did sign up to work both equally and collaboratively on the project. I advocated for calling the other teammates directly, rather than passively brooding over what had happened and coming up with a scheme to out them – as other students had done in different classes. Understanding their reasoning for believing that the gym was more appropriate than the project was the next step.”

The Result provides your opportunity to show your value to the organization. It is all very well having problems and trying to do something about them, but do your actions result in measurable positive results for the team?

“After calling up the teammates directly, it seemed they hadn’t had the negative intent that was initially assumed. I discovered by asking them what went into their thinking behind heading to the gym rather than to work with the team, that they had both misunderstood the assignment instructions and due date. Within 15 minutes they had sprinted back across campus to work with us, we hit the deadline and we avoided turning a miscommunication into an unwarranted fallout between classmates. Since then I’ve worked on several projects with them and continued to excel together”.

Get the technology right

The first step in getting the technology right is knowing the limitations of the technology your laptop contains. Your laptop camera will generally be sufficient to record a great video interview. Your microphone quality on the other hand – not so. We’ve covered these issues in detail in this blog post.

Internal microphones can be incredibly sensitive, pick up all ambient noise, and sometimes even the fans inside your computer – making the interview reviewer feel like they are just taking off in a jet airplane! By using any headphones with an external microphone attached you are already upping your game significantly. Less external noise will be picked up, and the range of frequencies will be broader. Interviewers would rather listen to your voice, than to the sound of a wind tunnel! If you do have to stick with the internal microphone make sure to focus on finding the quietest place possible. Many successful recorded interviews have been taken in the bathroom!

Your camera angle is also important. Nobody likes exploring the inside of a nose with no warning! Your camera should be just above your eye line and tilted down so that the top of your head almost reaches the top of the video. A quick hack is to stack some solid books together to raise the level of your laptop, but be careful – try not to shake everything by leaning on the table by accident.

Use books as a quick and easy way to raise your camera to eye level.

For lighting it is important that you are brighter and more visible than your background – otherwise, you can appear washed out and barely visible. To fix this issue have at least one light source that is in front of you and behind the camera. Try to avoid sitting with a window behind you especially when the sun is coming through. Once you have your lighting sorted your face should be lit up and your expressions and enthusiasm will
be amplified during the interview.

Spot the difference! Remember to have the light source originating from behind the camera.

If you can invest in some hardware for your video interviews and recorded interviews here is a quick list of key items that we use at Voomer which have brought our recorded video to the next level:

For clear audio that makes your voice stand out with a discrete microphone use the Rode SmartLav+ currently at $70 – and is from a household name in professional audio  – will work on your laptop.

For getting the perfect camera angle when you have run out of books to stack, there is the FENGE Standing Desk for Laptop at $79.99.

For lighting on a budget, to make you feel like a recorded interview superstar, and a lot of bang for your buck there is the Radiance Ring Light at a very manageable $15.99.

Practice, practice, practice – with Voomer

Eye-contact, body language, monotone, pauses, filler words, attire. It all matters, but it is easy to fall short. That’s why we created Voomer – to help you get a handle on all the areas you need to perform in with instant feedback. Set up your space as you would do in preparing for the actual interview. As you get closer to your planned day and time to take the interview dress the part, try on your interview attire, and see if you feel confident. If your clothing doesn’t make you feel right, switch it up.

The bottom line is practicing your recorded interview will help reduce stress and build confidence allowing you to move your focus to make a compelling connection with your audience rather than worrying about if you are performing at the required level. The more familiar you are with the recorded interview environment and the questions you’ll be asked, the better prepared you will be for your interview. Try Voomer now.

Check out the Question Bank

Practicing your interview answers with Voomer and its question bank will ease the stress during your actual HireVue recording, allowing you to focus in-the-moment on building a connection rather than struggling to come up with answers. The more familiar you are with the possible interview questions that come up, the better prepared you will be to succeed. At the bottom of this guide we’ve included an extensive question bank for you to dive into and review – it is also built into Voomer.

Pick the time

The most common time for people to take their video interview is in the late evening. Rather than yawning your way through the interview, we suggest you buck the trend and do your interview during energy peaks before lunch or just before dinner. Although the time of recording is not supposed to be a considered factor in the interview process – indeed HireVue is used to allow you to do the interview in your own time – if you are applying to a job where you need to be mentally optimal from 6am onward you have an opportunity to show you can nail the interview during the times you are expected to deliver on the job. Let us just say, 7:30am is much more compelling than 23:59pm on the last day that you can sit the HireVue.

Set the Mood

It’s the day of your recorded interview. Find that attire that is both smart and you felt the most confident in. The Goldman Sachs Interview Tips video features someone in a smart GS branded T-Shirt, for example, however, the safest choice is to go with the same attire you would wear to an in-person interview.

Remember to self-affirm, your skills, education, and dedication brought you this far and they can take you all the way. Take deep breaths and hold for a count of three before exhaling, while sitting at your desk with your eyes closed visualize yourself successfully answering the interview questions – taking a question you weren’t expecting in your stride with a smile. We’ve also created a top 5 playlist of songs to get you pumped up before the interview.

Nail it

Remember that if you have made it this far you have what it takes to go all the way. Goldman is particularly selective and focuses on individuals who can create not only meaning in their own lives but in the lives of others too. To be at this stage Goldman Sachs has already spotted something in you showing the promise of an exceptional colleague, they are excited to get to know who you are beyond your resume, genuinely, and hear what you have to say. You’ve got this.

Question Bank


Your question bank sample is on the way!
You can practice live now at https://tryvoomer.com!
We’ve not been able to send you a Question Bank, but at Voomer you can start practicing with these questions now.


Conclusion

Well there you have it, our Ultimate Goldman Sachs HireVue Questions, Preparation, and Research Guide that will put you on the path to success. If you have any questions that or have ideas for us to update the post please email us: [email protected]

Besides knowing what the questions will look like, another way to increase your chances of getting in is by practicing. Voomer is an AI-powered interview prep platform designed for interviews like the one you’ll face at Goldman Sachs, both the live interview and the HireVue interview.

If you are curious about how Voomer’s AI-powered video assessment tools can help you to prepare thoroughly for your upcoming video essays click below to get started!