30 Sales Interview Questions to Ask Sales Interviewees

2 years ago 3 minute read
Sales Interview Questions

These days, sales talent is exceptionally hard to discover. This may be due to talented sales reps being happy in their current roles, the job market being tight, or it is too expensive to hire new sales reps. This is why identifying talent is so important to B2B companies. Finding people who best suit your business and open sales jobs is crucial to your success. Whether this is external hiring or internal promotions/role changes. A key way to understand how this new individual can help your sales process is through effective sales interview questions. 

By asking the right questions, you are able to uncover more information about their skills, personality, and more. Through this type of in-depth interview, you will get an inside look at how they’ll perform in the role and avoid making a costly mistake. The following sales interview questions will help you do just that. Whether you are hiring for reps, managers, or leadership roles. 

30 Sales Interview Questions to Ask Sales Interviewees

Sales Interview Questions To Ask Sales Reps

Interviews with sales reps are important as you can learn a lot about an individual and if they are correctly suited for a job in sales. This is where you get your first look at their enthusiasm, sales tacts, talent, and experience. All of these are crucial as it takes a specific type of person to become successful in sales and a specific type of person to excel in the role. This is a perfect time to see why they are interested in sales and what their goals are in the industry. 

  1. Why did you choose sales over another customer-centric role? Or, why did you choose sales over other roles in business?
  2. If I was a buyer, what would your cold outreach look like?
  3. Tell me about an opportunity you lost, and why it was lost? How did you handle it?
  4. How do you establish trust?
  5. Have you ever had to start a sales territory from scratch? If so, tell me how, if not, tell me how you would?
  6. What role does social media play in your sales process?
  7. How do you research prospects before a call or meeting?
  8. Have you ever turned a prospect away? If so, why?
  9. How do you deal after a full day of rejections?
  10. What’s your favourite question to gauge need and interest? 
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Sales Interview Questions To Ask Sales Managers

Interview questions for sales managers should be slightly different than those you ask sales reps. Of course, there will be questions that overlap, but there are specific questions you should ask those interviewing for a managerial role. The best way to handle such an interview process is to learn how they became interested in a managerial role and what experience they have had in the past. Learning about conflicts they have had to overcome and challenges they have worked through is a true testament to what kind of sales manager they will be. 

  1. Share a time when a rep came to you with a challenge or a problem. How did you manage it? What was the conversation? 
  2. Describe a time when a sales rep was failing to meet their quota. How did you handle it? What steps did you take?
  3. How would you gain the trust of your new team as an external hire? OR How will you gain the trust and authority of your team being promoted above your colleagues? 
  4. Provide a time that you had to give challenging feedback. 
  5. Tell me how your experience now will help you manage others? What managerial tasks/jobs have you completed in the past?
  6. How would you exceed expectations in this role?
  7. What’s your ultimate career aspiration? 
  8. What made you get into sales?
  9. What’s your opinion of the role of learning in sales?
  10. Describe your ideal sales manager.

Sales Interview Questions To Ask Leadership

Questions for leadership should be tailored more towards the experience they have had in past leadership roles, scenarios they have faced, or hypotheticals for the future. I am sure you can imagine how you would approach this interview differently compares to a sales member. As this role is much more stressful and has more responsibilities. But, this does not mean their time as a sales rep is not important. Ask them about their experience and how this has helped them develop further into management roles. 

  1. How long are you willing to fail at this job before you succeed? 
  2. What books are you currently reading? What are they about?
  3. If we were experiencing “X” problem at our organization, what would be your steps to solving it?
  4. If I were to ask people who know you, “give me three adjectives that best describe you”, what would they be?
  5. What would you need from the team to be successful at this job?
  6. Do you think our company organization could do better in sales?
  7. What motivates you?
  8. How would you describe the culture in your last company?
  9. What core value should every salesperson possess?
  10. What was the most difficult piece of feedback you received? When was it? How did it change you?
30 Sales Interview Questions to Ask Sales Interviewees

Wrap Up

There are of course more than these questions, and these questions can be asked to just about any person in a sales role. But these tend to be a great framework in which to structure your interview. This way you will learn not only about the professional qualifications they have (they are on their resume). But, you will learn about who they are and what drives them. It’s these attributes that will have a large impact on whether they will mesh with your team, business culture, and will succeed in your industry with your audience.

While you're here!

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Written by

Nick Hollinger | CEO

I am the CEO and Co-founder of Visitor Queue. Currently working with ~5000 companies across the globe including Microsoft and Jones Lang Lasalle. In my spare time, I am also the Game Day Director for one of Canada's most successful Junior Hockey Teams (the London Knights). Previously, I held Head of Marketing/Sales roles at SMB B2B organizations. A strong believer that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, experience, and opinion on Marketing, Sales, SaaS, and Entrepreneurship.