Interviews. Daunting or exciting? Easy or hard?

Whatever your thoughts are on interviews, they are what stand between you and your dream job so take them seriously. You could wing it, but is it worth the risk? For me the classic saying ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is most significant when you are talking about interviews. Your main aim should be to stand out over and above any other candidates. Even if you are not 100% sure going in to an interview that this is the right job for you, if you don’t impress and get yourself an offer then it’s not in your hands to choose whether you want to do it or not. You might just miss out on something you end up really wanting to do.

This blog is all about telling you the secrets of effective interview preparation for the motor trade that we have being going through with candidates face to face for the last 13 years and we have seen it work extremely well. For some candidates this will be a refresher and some it might be new ideas and fresh thinking.


How to prepare yourself!! Your BEST SELLER!!

When I interview candidates myself the common phrase I hear all the time is ‘I’m not very good at selling myself’. That is only ever true because you haven’t prepared to sell yourself. The most important part of interview preparation is to know yourself, what you are good at, why you are good at it and how that helps you achieve your goals. You also need to think about what is important to the interviewer. You need to have a focus when showing/proving what you can do.

This example is aimed at an interview for a dealership based role. It could be a front of house role or back office. I believe for any role in a main dealer if you can prove that you can help INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT and INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION then you are very close to securing that role. It then just comes down to if they think you will fit with the team.

So how do you get across that you can do those three things. We advise you to write something called your BEST SELLER and if you do this now you will be ready for any question they can throw at you. Your BEST SELLER is the easiest book you can write as it’s all about you. It can be a 500 page novel or just bullet points but it is yours to refer back to and reread before every interview. 

How you write your BEST SELLER!

First of all, start by writing down your top achievements. These should be based around SALES, PROFIT and CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. They can be really small achievements like hitting a weekly or monthly target, or a bigger achievement like getting a promotion or winning competitions or awards. If you tell the interviewer your achievements outright then they may sound impressive but the likelihood is that they will have more meaning to you than them. Now comes the important part of your BEST SELLER. With each achievement you will have set out on a journey to make that achievement reality. It may have been a week, it may have been 10 years but what you need to do now is for every achievement, think back to the start of the story. Write down where you started from and more importantly, what you did during that time period to achieve your goal. Only by telling someone how you did something can you truly prove you have the ability to add value to their business. What training did you undertake? What advice did you learn from? What failure did you learn from? What process did you follow? What ethics/beliefs did you work with? Break it down and really focus each individual story on how you can help INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT and INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

After you have finished this process on your achievements you then need to complete the same process on all the other stories you can think of. For example, have you ever seen a customer who was upset or wanting to complain? If so, how did you handle this situation and more importantly how did your efforts from this situation help INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT or INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. Have you ever seen a customer who everyone thought wouldn’t buy? If so, how did you overcome this customer’s objections to help INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT and INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

Once you have written down all your stories, you then need to write down your top 5 strengths. A lot of people just list their strengths as one word answers but after you have written down your strengths then write down how each one of your strengths helps you INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT and INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

Last but not least, write down your biggest weakness. It’s a tough one and something you may get asked. Everyone has weaknesses so you need to write yours down but then think about what you can do to improve on this weakness and when you do how that will help INCREASE SALES, INCREASE PROFIT and INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

Once you have written this all down and reread it over and over you should not ever say again ‘I am not very good at selling myself’. This can be adapted to any job interview. All you need to do is choose those three things that you think are the most important to your interviewer and write your best seller about them.


What else to do!!

Follow that up with the basics below and you will be in great shape!

First impressions really do count. So dress for the job. Mystery shop or visit the dealer first. If there seems to be a dress code, then follow it. You want to look like you are part of the team when you first walk in. Don’t stand out because of what you are wearing, stand out because of your skills and personality.

Research!! Imagine the first question you get asked is ‘So tell us what you know about us’. Are you prepared to answer that question? Are you going to fail before the interview even gets going? So, for a main dealer job opportunity you need to research three different avenues.  

  • The Brand! What’s exciting? What reviews have the cars had? What’s selling well? What are the current offers? What’s new? What’s coming out? There is a big chance that a new model is coming out that the Manager you are going to see will be really excited about. So know about it and why it’s going to be good!
  • The company! Who owns the business? Is it a big group or a small local company? What are their values? Are they expanding? What career prospects can you see?
  • The person! Not many people think about this one but remember that the person you are going to see has your CV so knows a lot about you beforehand and they may have even done reference checks on you already. Why shouldn’t you research them before? Wouldn’t it be great to know their work history, where they come from, what they like to do? Social media is a great tool so use it. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Find out as much as you can about the person you are going to meet so you can find things that you have in common that help you build rapport.

Questions!! Always think about questions you want to ask them. They could be about them as people, about the company or the brand. Make sure as part of your research you find some things you want to ask them. Don’t make it about money! Make it about the job! One question to fall back on is always about what training is provided and what career prospects will there be. There is nothing better than showing your willingness to learn and your desire to be the best and progress.

Close the deal!! Based on what I explained earlier you will have just spent the best part of an hour trying to convince your interviewer that you have the ability to sell. If you don’t close them then you were lying. You also want to stand out above others so show you are not afraid to ask the killer question. ‘We have spent an hour together now, do you think I am the type of person you are looking to employ for your business?’. It will allow you to bring out any possible objections they may have and allow you the chance to overcome them. If there are no objections you can ask what the next steps are and when you are likely to hear. If you don’t ask this you can end up coming out of the interview and not knowing how it went and how frustrating is that?!

Follow all of these tips and you will give yourself a highly increased chance of getting the job you desire. Prepare to succeed and succeed you will!!

Good luck and you can thank me later!

Director at ACS Automotive Recruitment Consultancy