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The Best Sales Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

As the world opens up again, filling sales positions with talented, driven, and qualified candidates is at the top of the priority list for many sales organizations.

CEO of SELLect Sales Development, Merit Kahn, regularly reminds clients, “Your sales representatives aren’t there simply to bring in revenue. They also represent the company name to your clients and potential customers. Not only that, but it’s not very likely that you’ll be able to turn someone who doesn’t quite have “it” into a great salesperson through any amount of training.”

To make sure that you bring in the perfect sales reps when you interview for an open position, you’re going to need to ask the most relevant sales interview questions. What exactly are those questions? Read on to find out!

The Best Questions to Ask in a Sales Interview

Sales rep interview questions should cover four key categories: Work ethic, adaptability, attitude and personality, and sales acumen. Let’s explore a few different questions that can help you assess how much of each your candidate possesses.

Common Sales Interview Questions to Determine Work Ethic

Work ethic is a desirable trait—nay, an essential quality for any suitable applicant. Ask the following questions to get a general read on how the candidate views the concept of hard work.

  1. “Describe a particular time when you worked extremely hard.”
  2. “Tell me about a time when you were feeling overwhelmed by your workload and how you went about handling the situation.”
  3. “Describe a few of your accomplishments that you’re most proud of.”

sales reps interview

Best Sales Interview Questions to Determine Adaptability

“If we’ve learned anything over the past year and a half, it’s that sales reps need to be able to adapt to new situations swiftly,” said Merit Kahn, CEO of SELLect Sales Development. Whether it’s taking on new territory, a new sales process, or a brand new product or service, the ability to think on your feet is paramount to excelling in this space. That’s why some of the best questions to ask during a sales interview revolve around adaptability. Here are a few examples:

  1. “Tell me about a time you were tasked with a work assignment that scared you, either because it was outside of your job description or it was unfamiliar to you. What was your reaction, and what was the outcome?”
  2. “Have you ever had to adapt to a big change at work, such as the introduction of new technology or an entirely new system or process of doing things? How did you handle it?”
  3. “Tell me about a time where you received harsh criticism or difficult feedback. How did you react?”

Best Sales Job Interview Questions to Determine Attitude & Personality

You may offer the most incredible goods or services in the world, but your sales representatives can still wind up coming home empty-handed day after day if they’re lacking in charisma or have a poor attitude. Nevertheless, they are a part of your products for better or worse, so you need to make sure you find the candidates who add to their allure, not take away from it. To do that, ask the following questions.

  1. “Why are you interested in a sales position?”
  2. “Explain a product from your current company to me as if I was a prospect.”
  3. “Describe a losing streak you’ve been through and how you broke it.”
  4. “What’s your least favorite aspect of the sales process?”

Questions to Ask During a Sales Interview to Determine Sales Acumen

Soft skills are not the only important aspect of a great sales representative. You’re going to want them to be able to talk shop, too. That means complex numbers, granular details, and an overall understanding of the finer points of the sales industry. Here are some of the best sales representative interview questions to determine the candidate’s sales acumen.

  1. “Walk me through your sales process.”
  2. “Tell me about a time when you built a territory from scratch for a company with little or no name recognition.”
  3. “When establishing trust, which tactics have worked for you in the past, and which have not?”
  4. “Give me a detailed breakdown of your numbers.”

sales interview questions

SELLect Sales Tips for Interviewing Candidates

The questions themselves are only one aspect of the hiring process. If you really want to know how to interview a candidate for a sales position, take a look at the following tips.

  1. Start with a sales skills assessment so you go into the interview with more insight and you avoid scheduling interviews with people who don’t make the first cut.
  2. Be sure to ask follow-up questions. Many candidates can answer questions on a surface level. However, when you press them for details, the best ones shine.
  3. Start with an initial phone interview to build rapport. That way, you will save time scheduling face-to-face interviews and eliminate the weaker candidates quickly.
  4. Before making an offer, ask the candidate about their total compensation needs. Again, it’s crucial to acquire information about the candidate’s former base salary and commissions.   

Find Out How SELLect Online Can Help Improve Your Sales Team

Our moto is “Stop selling. Start getting SELLected” and it holds true for hiring salespeople as well as selling your offers to the marketplace. We hope you got some helpful interview questions for sales position candidates out of this article. If you want top sales professionals to SELLect to work for you and you think your organization could benefit from the help of a professional sales development team, contact SELLect Sales today to speak with one of our representatives!

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