Finding a quality sales rep isn’t easy.
In order to build a strong sales team, it’s imperative to find people who can meet quotas and handle rejection, while also staying persistent and not coming off as aggressive. Hiring the wrong person can keep your company from reaching important goals, so never rush the recruiting process!
These effective interview questions dig into a salesperson’s skills, knowledge, experience, personality, and motivation. They can help reveal one’s true identity and whether or not they will fit the role and overall culture of a company.
Sales Interview Questions:
- How do you keep up to date with industry news?
- In your last position, how much time did you spend cultivating customer relationships versus hunting for new clients, and why?
- What is your approach to handling customer objections?
- If you are hired for this job, what would you do in the first month?
- Judging from your research, where do you think our company can improve and be better?
- When do you stop pursuing a potential lead?
- What is your best way to establish a relationship with a prospect?
- What’s worse: Not hitting monthly quotas or not having happy customers?
- What core values do you feel every salesperson should possess?
- What is your long term goal in life and how will you get there?
Let’s take a more in-depth look at these questions:
1. How do you keep up to date with industry news?
Even if the target market from their last job was totally different, this will show their ability to keep up with relevant trends and news in the industry.
Look for answers that revolve around reading publications, blogs, and up-to-date content sharing current data. If they don’t on their own, ask the candidate to elaborate on a recent article or piece of information they recently learned.
Receiving answers like, “Oh, I just watch other companies,” or, “I like to wait until we notice a sales decline to experiment new things” should be seen as red flags and signs of someone who may not be a good fit for your company.
2. In your last position, how much time did you spend cultivating customer relationships versus hunting for new clients, and why?
This is a great question because there is no ‘right’ answer. Some companies will prefer salespeople to always be on the hunt and searching for new clients. While others may want them emphasizing retainer clients and continuing to nurture relationships with them for future deals.
Although both are vital for sales, this will help your company know the type of salesperson you’re interviewing.
3. What is your approach to handling customer objections?
Put simply, listen for a process.
Look for things that revolve around, “I like to ask what exactly the prospect’s concern may be, and search for ways I can help resolve them”.
Having a prepared process to deal with objections instead of just winging it is a must.
4. If you are hired for this job, what would you do in the first month?
Don’t expect a response that like, “Grow your company to make millions.” That’s not realistic.
Instead, look for a goal. Hiring someone who is ready to come in with an idea and action plan in place is a great sign. Yes, you will have to provide proper training, but a candidate who’s a self-starter is never a bad thing.
5. Judging from your research, where do you think our company can improve and be better?
How can you expect an answer from this candidate when they haven’t even started or seen your company yet? Exactly!
This question will test the candidate’s creativity as well as show how much research they’ve done before the interview.
We often hear how important it is to educate ourselves about a firm and have questions prepared for them upon interviewing. This will test their approach.
6. When do you stop pursuing a potential lead?
The right answer here may depend on your company’s process and goals, so look for the obvious. Anything that comes off as “I try as long as I can because I refuse to lose,” should be noted and taken into consideration as an indicator of this candidate’s personality.
You can check out HubSpot’s “Sign’s You Should Walk Away From A Prospect” to learn more about when enough is enough at winning prospects.
7. What is your best way to establish a relationship with a prospect?
Gather insight on how they approach and maintain relationships with prospects. Answers that contain constant emails and occasional phone calls should be a red flag. Instead, look for a candidate that collects information from the prospect and uses it to build rapport.
For example, as a sales rep, if you’re on a call and find out this prospect likes to travel in his free time, ask where. Maybe his answer will resonate and be similar to the places you like to go as well. All of which can help build rapport and make sales calls feel more personal!
8. What’s worse: Not hitting monthly quotas or not having happy customers?
It’s important to listen for keywords with this question. The right answer may be dependent on the company and what their priorities are, but reps who go strictly after quotas rather than truly giving customers what they want should be noted.
9. What core values do you feel every salesperson should possess?
Listen for things like: “Putting the prospect first.” “Patience.” “Caring.”
Remember, you’re hiring a sales rep. If they are not willing to deal with objections and aren’t very understanding or willing to adjust in certain instances, this is probably not the job for them.
10. What is your long term goal in life and how will you get there?
Like every interview, there should always be an open-ended question that doesn’t have to pertain to the job itself. Use this time to learn more about the person themselves and not just their qualities in the business world.
Asking this question is extremely important because it’s a chance to learn something you may never have otherwise known about the candidate.
They may share an impactful personal story about their life, and as a result, it drives and motivates them every day to work towards their goals until they get there.
Now that sounds like someone I’d want on my team!