When planning for a sales job interview you will want to ensure you ask the right job interview questions to ensure that you hire the ideal candidate.
Preparing for interview
Before interviewing, you will want to ensure that you have reviewed the candidate's application and learnt what you can about their background. You might also want to check LinkedIn to confirm their information and find any gaps. You will also want to ensure that you are clear on the specific role you are hiring: is it a general salesperson, such as a sales representative (sales rep), or are you looking for a sales manager? Being clear on the sales position you are trying to fill will mean that you listen for the right things in response to the questions. You will also want to consider how the candidate will fit in to your company culture and team members and crucially if they can relate to your client base to ultimately sell your company product.
In this article we will talk through some sales interview questions to ask when interviewing sales candidates to ensure that you build a successful sales team.
1. Why are you interested in sales and why are you interested in our company?
Whilst this might seem like a boring, common sales interview question, it is crucial to ask why the candidate has an interest in sales and more importantly, why they are interested in your company. The individual will ultimately be selling your company's product, so if they lack information about your company they likely lack interest meaning no amount of sales experience will motivate them to fulfil their potential. You want your candidates to see and know your company value and company goals. If a candidate cannot identify these, it is probably red flag and if they don't have questions and answers about your company you're probably not a good fit.
2. Where do you want this role to take you?
Asking what direction an individual wants to pursue will give you a good indication of how this position will fit into their sales career.
3. What traits did your best sales performer or manager have?
You don't really care what management style (unless you're hiring managers of course!) the job candidate's colleague had. What you are trying to lead the candidate into explaining is the skill set of a good salesperson and their desire to learn from others to grow. You want to hear about what the individual believes to be the core values of sales leaders so that you know they know what it takes to be an effective sales person. They also might list effective ways of handling sales calls (often called cold calls) or talk about sales strategy, evidencing their knowledge of sales processes.
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4. What is worse, not making quota or not having happy customers?
This question is designed to see how the candidate sees sales within the business. A candidate that recognises that both are important is a good sign and shows that they are a team player and committed to a sales experience that is underpinned by teamwork. The concern here shouldn't ultimately be what side they fall on but their thought process should show how they understand the importance of both sides. A good answer (though of course not necessarily the right answer) might say that both are important and at a personal level making quota is important but at a company level happy customers are more important and if it is therefore a trade-off between the two the company's interests should prevail. Ultimately, unhappy customers can do a lot more damage than missing out on sales targets.
5. What is the most creative way you've closed a deal?
This question is designed to see the candidate's approach to problem solving. Creative solutions are often required in difficult situations and great sales people will be able to provide these. If an individual does not have sales experience, the same logic applies. Instead ask, what is the most creative way you've resolved a problem. This question will allow you to judge the candidate's self-awareness and their ability to grow as a sales professional.
Sales recruitment is an exciting part of your company's growth. After the interview process, you should follow up with all the candidates to either offer them a position or give them feedback.
When offering the position to your new hires, you will want to provide them with an employment offer letter that details the major points of employment. If they accept this, you will then want to provide the prospective employee with an employment agreement that sets our both parties rights and obligations.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.