You can’t put a price on insight, especially coming from Flockjay fireside chat guest speaker Allie Covarrubias- Clapp, Director of Recruiting at Plenty. She recently shared actionable tips with our students, also known as Tech Fellows, on how to strengthen and sell their own candidacy when interviewing for tech sales jobs. 

Muhammad Elfaham, a Batch 5 Flockjay Tech Fellow, shared this takeaway:  

“With her outstanding experience at Box and as a veteran at Salesforce, Alison has lived to see many companies start-up and exponentially grow. It was refreshing to listen in on her wisdom and transparency sharing some secrets in the hiring process, whether with a recruiter or a hiring manager. My favorite quote from her last night was: ‘You are interviewing these companies just as much as they are interviewing you.’”

If you’re a jobseeker, soak up six interviewing tips to help you land your next role. 

1. Bring Virtual Presentation Ability to the Interview

As you begin focusing on the interview cycle, know that interviews are very dependent on the actual environment. Right now, that environment is completely online. This makes it incredibly important to have some type of presentation ability prior to interview day. Yes, knowing how to operate Zoom or similar video conferencing software is a baseline – but this goes beyond that. 

Do you know how to sell yourself to a virtual audience? Sometimes this requires over communicating your emotions, almost like an actor on a stage. What about how to quiet the other distractions? It’s not acceptable at this point to not be able to get online or have consistent WiFi crash issues. Get a connection booster if possible.

2. Don’t Say You Can Do it, Tell Them How You Have Done It

You might think you don’t have any relevant experience to talk about, but you probably do. For instance, maybe you worked in the food service industry. Did you come up with a plan to improve guest seating, expedite order delivery, or clean the kitchen faster? These are all great examples to highlight your abilities. 

Even if you haven’t worked at a startup, it’s important to show that you can handle a potential startup sales environment (read: chaotic, ambiguous, challenging, rewarding). 

3. Track Your Recruiting Adventure and Job Interviewing Process

What are your goals? What metrics would you set for yourself? Sales people are numbers people – they want to hear about processes and numbers. Do your best to speak their language by talking metrics and goal targeting. If you’re thinking, “But wait… I don’t have that data.” Start collecting it.

Track your recruiting adventure as a point of reference, considering: 

  • How many companies have you targeted?
  • What is the number of LinkedIn InMails you’ve sent? 
  • How many follow up emails have you sent?
  • What actions did you take in between interviews to get to the next stage? 

As Allie said, “Notice your process. Notice what you’re doing to get to where you are.”

4. Demonstrate Your Grit—It’s an Employer’s Market 

Allie shed some light on her experiences as a recruiter, noting that we are currently in an “employer’s market.” What does this mean? In short, given the unemployment rate, hiring managers have a lot of quality resumes to sift through. You need them more than they need you, which is why these interviewing tips will prove valuable. With encouragement, she said:

“You’ve really got to demonstrate your hunger, your ability, your persistency, your style, and your passion for the company to get those coveted spots.” 

5. Make Friends with the Gatekeeper: the Recruiter

Allie says job seekers shouldn’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager questions like, “What is the manager’s style like? What is the time frame of your hiring process? How many other people are you interviewing?” Some common language in the recruiting space that she mentioned is also the question, “Are you still calibrating candidates?” Slide that one in and your recruiter might pick up on the fact that you’ve done your research. The more information you can get from the recruiter in that first discovery call, the better advantage you have. The worst thing to feel coming out of an interview interaction is not knowing where you stand.

Being authentic about who you are and communicating that effectively will help the recruiter make their decision. For Allie, she said, “I personally hate questions that have no soul to them.” 

6. What’s Important to You? Do a Forced Stack Ranking Exercise

Allie mentioned that the exercise of forced stack ranking has helped her career path in terms of working with people. From the jobseeker’s standpoint, she says to force yourself to stack rank the most important elements in this role to you. What is important to you in this next move? Start with that question and work backwards to uncover the answer, using Allie’s suggested 12 factor exercise.

It’s going to sound simple, but don’t underestimate how impactful this exercise can be. Our Tech Fellows reported this as one of their favorite interviewing tips from Allie.

Allie says the first step to figuring out what really matters, is to write down the 12 most important things to you in your next career move. Whether you think that number seems like a lot or a little, Allie found that “12 has been this sweet spot.” Think about everything from what you want personally to what you want within your role and the company itself. Then put them in order.

Don’t get bogged down thinking about forever, though – approach this by thinking about the next five years. Based on your experiences, what do you want more of that you have now? What do you want more of that you’re not getting? If you don’t want to get real with yourself about those answers, your uncertainty will come through to recruiters when you’re talking.

By the end of the exercise, you end up with your true compass of what matters to you in the workforce. Maybe you learn that the ability to work remotely is more important than your title, maybe you do some thinking about the importance of company culture and mentorship and find out it ranks higher than your salary goal, you won’t know until you force yourself to rank these factors. 

Flockjay Tech Fellows Learn from Weekly Expert Fireside Chats

Big thanks to Allie for taking the time to share her knowledge and expert interviewing tips with our Batch 5 Tech Fellows. Weekly fireside chats with industry experts are a core element of our online tech sales program here at Flockjay, because we believe in the power of learning from those who came before you. 

Are you a jobseeker who is ready for a change? Join our flock!