Thursday 28 February 2013

The 4 Keys to Success at Second Interviews

Well done you have secured a second interview –, it means the company are genuinely interested in you for their vacancy. Before you attend your second interview though please do remember that although you have done well, you have not YET been offered the job!
The process of selling yourself into the role is not over, please take a few moments to read the following points to help you WOW in the second interview!

1.       Frist Impressions Count!
Just as the 1st interview, first impressions are vitally important, you may be meeting the interviewer for the first time, in which case you should refer back to the first interview preparation, it got you this far : -
  • Know where you are going, and correct time
  • Arrive five minutes early
  • Upon waiting take an interest in the company, (i.e. read information, talk to reception)
  • Greet the interview by their last name
  • Switch off your mobile phone
  • Present yourself correctly – if you’re not suited,  booted and groomed, it could be a losing battle!
2.       The Aim of the 2nd interview

The main objective to be achieved in this interview is to leave the interviewer with an overview and impression that your skills, experience and personality are a match and that you are exactly the candidate that they are looking for.
DO NOT fall into the trap of thinking that because it’s a second interview, the interviewer knows all about you.  By taking this approach you will be doing exactly what the other candidates might be doing, so don’t undersell yourself!

Remember that at a 2nd interview stage, the interviewer is looking to decide who to offer the job to and it’s your job to present you key skills at this point and why you are right for the role as clearly and confident as you can.
3.       Preparation
The best approach is to treat a 2nd interview as you would a 1st interview, prepare the selling points of yourself that you used in the first interview.
  • List all the skills/attributes that the job requires- with examples
  • The list then constitute a summary of your key skills, that relate to the role
  • Focus on the attributes required in the job specification, back up questions with your example list
  • Remember on a second interview you have to put in a great performance at a second interview.
Even if its “Just a chat”, “Lunch” or “meet the team” you are still be interviewed, so keep professional at all times, selling yourself, - You will be showing you are the best candidates for the role.   

4.       Closing the interview

This is a vital stage, your performance so far at the 2nd interview could have secured the role for you. As in the 1st interview it is inevitable that you will be asked “any questions?” Your questions may have already been answered during your interview but like any great salesperson question until you fully understand their need. 

Video: How to Close a Sales Interview

This demonstrates that you have thought about the role and have done extra preparation. This is one of the most important parts of the interview a poor performance here and by not questioning further it could end your chances.
When attending your interview you must demonstrate to the interviewer(s) you are talking this seriously, take a folder containing, all you preparation notes – 'handouts'. Of course you must use the folder, check your notes to answer questions, check to make sure all your questions have been answered and then tell the interviewers that “all my questions have been answered”

Video: The Most Important Questions You Should Ask at a Sales Interview
The MOST important questions to ask during your second interview:-
“What reservations do you have about me/my experience?”  - asking this question will give you the chance to answer any last questions, remove the doubt in the mind, something you might not get another chance to do.

The final thing to do and is a MUST is to tell the interviewer(s) that you are interested in the role (you may want to write this down as a question so that you don’t forget)

“Thank you for talking the time to see me, I am very interested in the role, this is a position I have been looking for” – add the close – “when are you looking to make your decision”

Good Luck from the team at Aaron Wallis.

By Paul Masterson

Paul can be contacted on 01908 764280

Thursday 14 February 2013

5 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask at Interview

1)       Why is the position vacant?
This is an important question because it will enable you to understand whether the position has been put in place to overcome a particular problem. On the other hand it may be that you will be replacing a previous employee that wasn’t performing. The answer that you get will give you an idea of what the employer is looking for you to achieve and where the previous employee may have made mistakes. This will help you to avoid falling into the same traps or underperforming in these areas.

2)       What challenges does the company currently face?

By asking this you will hopefully gain an understanding of any problems that are hindering the company’s performance. You can then promote yourself as the solution to overcome these obstacles. Not only can you sell yourself using the employers response but you may also be able to determine whether they are being unrealistic in what they are trying to achieve.
3)       Specifically what do you think I can do to overcome these problems?

Now you have a more detailed idea of what the employer is actually looking for you to achieve within the company using this you can now arm yourself with answers for any objections that they may have about you. For example:

“We don’t think that you could effectively cold call our type of clientele because …..” You can now respond using knowledge that you have gained from the above questions with, “I can assure you this won’t be a problem because in a previous role I dealt with ….. and sold …..”.

4)       What are the expectations on me within the first 3 months, 6 months, and year?

Again the answer to this question will enable you to determine whether you these employers are going to target you in a constructive, achievable and realistic way that will enable you to be successful in this role. Use this answer to decide if this is an organisation that you can see yourself working for.  
5)       How do you feel that I am going to fit into your team?
Ask about other members of the team. Try and find out about their backgrounds and how successful they are in similar roles. You can use the response to gauge whether you will be an effective member of the team.

Remember you are a sales person so treat the interview as a sales pitch, seeing yourself as a solution. Sell yourself in the best possible way and close the deal as you would with any other sales pitch.

Written by Tom Ward

More about Tom:

Tuesday 12 February 2013

The Top 10 Biggest Interview Mistakes

Interviews, it may be the single toughest part of any individual’s job search, and yet, job seekers often compound their interview nervousness with lack of preparation and frequent mistakes. Interview mistakes can be avoided. The 10 biggest interview mistakes and how to avoid them are as follows:

1.     Don’t Lie.

If the conversation drifts to a topic you're not knowledgeable about, admit you don't know the answer and then explain how you would go about finding a solution. Displaying your problem-solving skills is better than telling lies about something you don't understand.
2.     Do Your Research

You are expected to fully research every company prior to every interview. It is essential that you do some research on the business, industry and market before every interview. It is essential for two reasons a) to demonstrate your interest in the business and b) more importantly, to ensure that the business is right for you!

3.      Winging It

This is never a good idea. Trying to formulate an off-the-cuff answer to even simple questions in a high-stakes interview is sometimes harder than it appears, and doing so can be a recipe for disaster.

4.     Turning Up Late

Before the interview work out exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. On the day allow yourself 30 minutes for traffic problems or any other delays – if you’re too early you can always grab a cup of tea nearby and go over your CV. If for some reason you are running late, call your interviewer to let them know.

5.     Don’t Talk Too Much

There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on... The interviewer really doesn't need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers short, to-the-point and focused and don't ramble - simply answer the question.

6.     Not Talking Enough

It's really hard to communicate with someone who answers a question with a word or two. When you fail to communicate with the interviewer, you may destroy your chances of being hired by the company. Make eye contact and be confident with your answers. So, even though you shouldn't talk too much, you do want to be responsive and fully answer the question as best you can.

7.     Dress Appropriately

Turn up to an interview in ripped shorts, an old t-shirt and some flip-flops and you’ll probably find yourself back out the door before you know it. Dress appropriately for the type of job interview. Always dress in more conservatively than you would normally. Make sure that you are not wearing outlandish colours, showing too much skin, or wearing too much jewellery (man or woman).

8.     Badmouthing Past Employers

It’s fine to talk about what you would like to achieve career-wise and how this may not be possible in your current job, but never bad-mouth a current or previous employer. It could give your interviewer the impression you’re difficult to work with.

9.     Close The Interview

Everything you say or do is being judged very closely in an interview. Make a mistake in one of your responses and your chances of getting the job are diminished. However stressful an interview may be, if you can end the interview by closing for the position, you will earn tremendous respect and show an example of your closing skills.

10.  Not Asking Questions

Asking questions towards the end of the interview shows you’re confident, thoughtful and are seriously interested in the position. If you can’t think of anything, good ones to fall back on are what career opportunities are available and what kind of training do you offer.

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Candidate Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 2 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Reputation is all: Could the internet kill your job application?

You surely can’t have missed the story of teacher Carly McKinney. In short, Carly, a Colorado high school teacher was suspended pending an investigation after she tweeted provocative pictures of herself, tweets about her recreational drug taking and feelings towards one of her students, who she described as “jailbait”. Strangely, Carly hadn’t broken any laws… her pictures didn't contain any obvious nudity, her tweets relating to marijuana use are also legal as she lives in the state of Colorado. So, the only damage done was to her online reputation.
So why have we all heard about her online posts and why is her career at stake? The simple fact is she chose to openly reveal herself over the internet and by so doing created a particular online reputation – a reputation that the Colorado board of education just didn’t like. As I said earlier, what Carly did is legal, but Carly chose to publish her actions and is still blissfully unaware of why there is such a fuss.
Hand on heart, I know the vast majority of candidates I meet at Aaron Wallis aren't sharing intimate photos or information about themselves on the internet. However, the truth is each one of us has an online reputation to consider.  These days, everything we do, everything we say and the photos we are in are easily found on the internet – posted by us or posted by others. So remember, when you are considering a career move, it’s very likely that potential employers are googling you.
Managing your online reputation when looking for a new role is crucial.  Have you taken time to assess what your online reputation is like? Is everything written about you true? Do all your images show you in the right light? Give it some thought… others are. 

Stefan is a specialist sales recruiter focusing on the security and fire industries at Aaron Wallis. Having held senior sales and marketing roles with leading companies in the security industry, Stefan works with a wide variety of companies to recruit sales professionals across all levels and disciplines.
More About Stefan Kobewka:

Discover More About Stefan’s Career on LinkedIn:

Top 10 Biggest CV Mistakes

It's very easy to make mistakes on your CV and extremely difficult to repair the damage after an employer has already seen it. It is imperative that you prevent these mistakes whether you are writing your first CV or revising it for a new job search. The 10 biggest CV mistakes and how to avoid them are as follows:

1.     Do Not Head Your CV ‘Curriculum Vitae’.

It should be quite obvious what your CV is without giving it a title; if it’s not then I would suggest that you have a problem. Start with your full name, address, telephone number(s) and email address. Very often your CV will get printed off and stapled together, so don’t put your contact details at the bottom of the last page. The fact that the page looks like a CV will do the rest.

2.     Making Your CV Too Long or Too Short

There are no real rules regarding CV length, however that doesn’t mean you should start sending out 5 page CV’s. In general you should limit yourself to a maximum of two or three pages depending on experience. At the same time don’t cut the meat out of your CV by sticking to one page.

3.     Punctuation and Spelling Mistakes

Your CV needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers and recruiters will read between the lines and draw unfavourable conclusions about you, like “This person clearly doesn’t care” or “This person can’t spell”.

4.     Job History That Doesn’t Match The Job Your Applying For

All employers want to see a CV specifically for them; they expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organisation. Your key achievements should match many of the job requirements in the position you’re applying for.

5.     Highlighting Tasks Instead of Achievements

It is very easy to note tasks after tasks you completed whilst in a job but what employers are really looking for is your achievements, they want to see achievement after achievement, make your achievements stand out first and then put in the tasks you also completed.

6.     Poor Layout

If you’re CV has a poor layout it could be put straight in the bin. Some CV’s are scanned in less than 3 seconds, so it needs to be pleasing to the eye and easy to read. Don’t cram in too much information in a small font, your font should be no smaller than 10 but also make sure it isn’t too spaced out. Finally make sure your most recent job is first and the job before that second and so on.

7.     An Outdated CV Will Make You Look Obsolete

Your CV should be updated for every position you apply for. Be sure to update your skills and work history; make sure your skills set is current and tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for.

8.     Some Things Are Best Left Off Your CV

Don’t list your hobbies, no one cares what your hobbies are, your CV is not your Facebook profile. Don’t put anything on your CV that’s irrelevant to your job. If it’s not relevant then it’s a waste of space and a waste of time.

9.     Don’t Write Your CV In The First Or Third Person

It’s fine to write in first person in your opening statement, but the rest of your resume should be in bullet points. Never write in the third person as everyone knows you’re the one writing the CV.

10.  Professional Email Account

Don’t include email addresses or websites that have the potential to reveal controversial or inappropriate personal information, Make a new one. It takes minutes and it’s free.


Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Candidate Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 2 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.


Friday 18 January 2013

How to Conduct a Brilliant Interview in 60 Minutes or Less

There’s a formula for conducting a great interviews and it’s called planning!  Here’s a quick video which explains how you can make a great impression yet still be able to conduct first interviews in less than an hour
  • 15 Minutes: Small talk and ‘chemistry’, Set the agenda, The company, role and opportunity (see How Not to Lose the Best Candidates)
  • 30 minutes: Competency Interview
  • 5 Minutes: Q&A
  • 5 Minutes: Where we go from here. Close.
  • 5 Minutes: Notes and prepare for the next candidate
I personally sit facing a clock to make sure that I keep on track.  However, I do know of interviewers that have a desk clock in the middle of an interview desk and another, the SD of a major courier firm, who sets an alarm for 45 minutes and then on the beep states there’s ten minutes remaining!

How to Use Twitter in Sales

How to Use Twitter in Sales

How to Not Lose the Best Candidates

How to Not Lose the Best Candidates

Questions Employers are Not Allowed to Ask

Questions Employers are Not Allowed to Ask | Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment offering top sales jobs:

Thursday 17 January 2013


There is a huge number of things that your 2013 sales strategy could and should contain. A good sales strategy and plan should target and address all the minute challenges and opportunities your business is facing. It should be focused on unique business distinctions; however…there are three things that should be top of your list to complete your 2013 sales strategy: i) A Learning Plan, ii) Content Marketing and iii) Social Selling.

A Learning Plan – despite not taking everything in whilst at school, I have always been a big fan of learning and problem solving, I see something that interests me, and I want to learn more. This year I am committing to a learning plan; I have a list of things that I want to learn to help increase my sales.

We’re wired to learn; we can’t help but learn, but we can choose what we learn and depending on what you choose it can make a huge difference to your sales. The companies that have been benefiting for the past few years from; social media, content marketing, blogging, etc. are in most case's learners; they build a learning plan into their sales strategy. Recognize the development of a trend or a gap in your knowledge and commit to increasing your knowledge in that space.

If your 2013 sales strategy lacks a learning plan, you will find yourself behind the curve. Find a specific topic or topics you and your organization want to become the expert in during 2013.

Content Marketing – every sales and marketing organization's 2013 strategy needs to contain a content driven lead generation campaign. It must have a way to attract clients with detailed content.

Content Marketing is used by the foremost sales people who have the greatest command of information and insight. Long before social media, content marketing, or the Internet, the most successful sales people carried the best and most compelling insights and information. Content marketing is perfectly built to propel those with insight and knowledge. If your sales organization isn’t very good but has more relevant insight and information, there is no better way to differentiate your organization than Content Marketing.

Social Selling – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus are changing the selling game; it has created a new approach for sales people to connect and sell to customers and clients. Social Media has given sales people the insight and connectivity to their target market in ways they couldn’t do in times gone by. Ignoring Social Selling and not proactively integrating it into your sales strategy via training and tools is failing your sales organization.

If your 2013 plan doesn’t have these three things, then it could cost you not only in 2013 but also in future years.

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Candidate Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 2 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.

LinkedIn -

Tuesday 15 January 2013

How to WoW at an Interview

How to WoW at an Interview

Your foot is in the door, interest has been gained, you have secured a potential sales meeting. This sales meeting is highly personal due to the fact that you are attempting to sell YOU!

From the perspective of the employer this is a firm process after scrutinising several CV’s and finally coming up with a productive shortlist. There are qualities within the job specification that are deemed essential but also elements that would be preferable.

All employers would love to see the ‘picture perfect’ CV on paper but this is rarely the case and as such various competencies and qualities have to be reviewed and so this leads us to the first interview.
Depending on the organisation the meeting can vary and will cover elements like basic details, competency questions, market specific information, aptitude etc. One thing that is certain is the fact that this is the first opportunity for you to have face to face time with the potential employer.

We have covered several aspects within a short video to cover all areas and give you the best possible chance of obtaining a return visit. It is essential that you prepare and by watching this video you will gain an insight into basic checklists which make best practice permanent practice not only for the interview process but also for any potential sales meetings. The video covering just a few minutes will provide you with valuable material to add to your already successful sales capability, you can find it via this link


Tuesday 8 January 2013

Happy New Year – When Does it End?

As a sales person you almost feel obligated to start each call with a ‘How are you doing?'  or ‘Did you have a good weekend?’ type statement but ‘New Year’ is a real peculiarity.  When do you stop saying ‘Happy New Year?’ and ‘Did you have a good Christmas break?’.  Is it the 4th January, 7th, 15th, 31st?!
I took the decision that the new business year started with a vengeance on Monday 7th January as most people had returned to business and most people don’t have any annual leave booked now for some months.  Everyone whom I know has kind of ‘blown off the Christmas cobwebs’ and wants to get fully back into 'sales mode' to ensure a great start to 2013.  However, is there a possibility that the ‘How was the festive break?’ opener could return your psyche back to the times of indulgence, mince pies and weird drinks that you’d never entertain at any point other time than the last two weeks of December?
I’m deliberately trying not to reminisce back to those festive times, so I apologise to anyone whom I call that I’m not opening with the ‘How was the festive break?’ statement.  I’m consciously trying to motor into 2013 and steadily going through the gears with the aim to reach full steam on say Thursday 10th.  So I’m not being rude by not opening with the ‘Happy New Year’ statement, I just feel that it’s time to say adios to 2012 and HEEELLOOOO to 2013! 

So for the last time, Happy New Year!  May I wish everyone a happy, healthy, successful and prosperous 2013. 

Monday 24 December 2012

Bribery Act VS Christmas good will?

Some companies have no hard and fast rules regarding this and leave it to the discretion of the employee. Last year the Royal Mail advised staff that gifts under £30 were acceptable but not to accept cash or gifts to a value above £30. What is acceptable and are companies overreacting when it comes to protecting themselves from risk of prosecution for breach of the Bribery Act this Christmas?
This year, like all previous years at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, we have just compiled our Xmas donations list for our client’s staff raffles. With the bribery and corruption act at the very forefront of our minds we have been wondering whether it is a tradition we should carry on.
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. The intention behind it was to amend and reform the UK’s criminal law and provide a modern legal framework to combat bribery in the UK and Internationally. There is a guideline to follow but are company’s up-to-date with the law.
Tins of sweets and a bottle of champagne have always been the theme for us but when you do cross the line and it becomes an illegal gesture?
How do you feel about it and has it put your company off giving Xmas donations?

Thursday 20 December 2012

SALES Engineer or Sales ENGINEER?

What’s in a title you may ask, a great deal when it comes to the ability of a successful Sales Engineer.

We have frequent discussions with Managing Directors, Operations Managers and Product Managers all regarding the same issue ‘are they a sales person, a technical consultant or possibly both?’

If we consider a company selling a technically complex piece of capital machinery to a specific industry where the sales process could possibly take up to 12 months do we need an ‘off-the shelf’ sales person?


An initial consultation request from a ‘warm lead’ comes in involving a technical presentation, benefits and ROI for the equipment. The SALES Engineer is primed and dragging out a System Engineer they head to the meeting to make sure the customer is brought on. During the meeting the note book fills with questions needed to be chased up at a later date but will this lose the sale?

By taking two members out on the visit we invest heavily in the meeting but has this secured the sale and given the potential customer the reassurance in the service?

A Game of Two Halves:

When looking at the ability of a Sales ENGINEER we may not need to send out the System Engineer as all angles could be covered but would they have the commercial sense to secure the sale?

So the outcome is that we need a combination of SALES ENGINEER!

To find a ‘great’ technical sales person we should consider the following:

Review the academic experience and the complexities of any study taken in the past

Previous projects dealt with and the length of time they were responsible for this

Recent ‘wins’ and who was involved (a clear indicator on sales ability)

If dealing with a Product Manager did they have a clear understanding of possibilities and limitations?

The support they have had in the past from technical teams

Another common comment is that ‘over promise and under deliver’ can occur when under pressure to secure the sale. Transparency is essential when committing to the pitch, simple comments like ‘if we need it to do this’ or ‘can it be installed by’ should happily and confidently be answered with specific solutions.

With so many factors to consider from an employer perspective it is essential that any relevant background should contain a clear and accountable report of ability. Previous employers will play a part where relevance to product or service is considered but looking for ability is essential to gaining the right vessel for future development.

Written by Stephen Minney
Lead Consultant within Automation and Process Control at Aaron Wallis
After spending 8 years in the Army he joined the technical division of Aaron Wallis

Life's Little Instructions

It's that time of year when we're updating some of our website content and we decided to add to our 'about me' pages some motivational quotes, mantras, poems and the like which means something to each of us as individuals. 
I'm adding this list of 'Life's Little Instructions' which by all accounts was written by a 95 year old man, William Snell, to a young friend.  I first encountered this on a poster that my sister had in her guest bathroom and I've always tried to follow these (apart from having a dog!) There’s some really good ones her, for instance, I don't particularly like cake so I was known to often refuse it - now I've learned to just take the calorie hit, accept with thanks and life is so, so much easier....

I hope that you like them as much as I do…

Life's Little Instructions

  • Sing in the shower.
  • Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
  • Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
  • Never refuse homemade brownies or birthday cake
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Plant a tree on your birthday.
  • Learn three clean jokes.
  • Returned borrowed vehicles with the petrol tank full.
  • Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  • Leave everything a little better than you found it.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.
  • Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  • Be forgiving on yourself and others.
  • Say "thank you" a lot.
  • Say "please" a lot.
  • Avoid negative people.
  • Wear polished shoes.
  • Remember other people's birthdays.
  • Commit yourself to constant improvement.
  • Have a firm handshake.
  • Send lots of valentines cards, sign them.
  • Look people in the eye.
  • Be the first to say "hello".
  • Return all things you borrow.
  • Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
  • Keep secrets.
  • Plant flowers every spring.
  • Have a dog.
  • Always accept an outstretched hand.
  • Stop blaming others.
  • Take responsibility for every area of your life.
  • Wave at kids in school buses.
  • Be there when people need you.
  • Don't expect life to be fair.
  • Never underestimate the power of love.
  • Drink champagne for no reason at all.
  • Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
  • Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake".
  • Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know".
  • Compliment even small improvements.
  • Keep your promises no matter what.
  • Marry only for love.
  • Rekindle old friendships.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Call your mother.
  • And your father too, if they happen to be alive.