Knowing how to interview salespeople and what questions to ask a sales candidate will allow you to collect enough data and make the right decision. Before conducting any interview, you need to be as prepared as a candidate. In this case, you will not end up wasting time on general questions and, thus, will receive enough information about the candidate’s skills, experience and competencies.
Main tips for carrying out a successful interview:
- make a list of questions to be asked prior to the very interview;
- be ready to answer any candidate's questions (about information which is not listed in the description of your company or on its website);
- make sure you have got all the tools needed for proper assessment, i.e, the candidate’s resume, cover letter, interview template, etc.;
- take notes during an interview in order not to miss valuable information about each of the candidates (especially if you interview numerous salespeople);
- ask candidates the same question to be able to compare them easily;
- avoid asking questions about age, gender, sex, nationality, marital status, religion, ethnicity because there is a high risk of discriminating candidates resulting in legal repercussions;
- keep your questions job-related. Questions should serve to discover if a candidate has skills, competencies and experience to succeed in the required position;
- be aware of the candidate’s behavior. Body language and non-verbal communication will show how interested they are in the position and how they will deal with clients (while building rapport).
There is no such thing as the best list of interview questions to ask sales candidates. Questions can’t give you all the answers about a person. Nevertheless, giving people special, tricky questions and seeing how they answer and react, will be helpful in your search.
Here are top interview questions for sales candidates:
- Why do you want to work in sales?
This is one of the fundamental questions. You can get to know why they have chosen a sales career and want to be in this profession. Besides, you can understand whether their goals coincide with the goals of your company.
- How are you improving yourself?
Sales representatives are lifelong learners. Therefore, you need to hire the one who wants to learn new selling strategies, improve their skills and get better at what they do.
- What motivates you?
In sales, motivation is crucial. Thus, such a question will give you an understanding of what candidates are striving for, what helps them to improve and reach top results, and whether they are self-motivated.
- What situation can stress you up and how do you handle it?
As the sales process can be quite stressful, it is essential for a candidate to stay calm and confident under pressure. This question will help you to expose both the strong and weak sides of a candidate who faced challenges.
- When was the last time you won and lost a deal?
You want to get to know how often a candidate loses deals and if they realize why that happened. In addition, it is important to see their results and whether they are passionate and motivated by them.
- How do you handle rejections?
To succeed in sales, sales representatives must be able to face rejections in order not to be defeated. Thus, by asking this question, you will make sure if candidates can overcome them and be able to improve themselves.
- What do you know about our product, customers and clients?
It helps to find out if a candidate makes some research before being interviewed (as research is an important stage in the sales process). You can analyze how they understand customers' needs, the benefits of your product/service and why it’s more competitive.
- What are the main steps to be taken in the sales process?
This question will show candidates’ understanding of the sales process. It also illustrates how they organize their thoughts and what sales strategies they use.
- What qualifying questions do you ask every prospect?
The answer will allow you not only to understand how they qualify prospects but also to see their sales instincts and training.
- What is your ideal sales manager?
By asking candidates to describe an ideal sales manager, you can see how autonomous they are, how they work in a team and respond to challenges.
Interviewing sales representatives can be complicated because they are trained to be questioned by clients and can be very good at telling what you want to hear. The above-mentioned questions will help you to determine what candidates will be good at selling your product and if they are a good fit for your sales team.