Without the right team members at your sides, it’s impossible to achieve great sales results. Finding those standout performers is no easy task, however, and will require you to put together a well-developed hiring process in order to achieve the best results.
The interview process is your chance to vet your candidates, and to learn more about their capabilities and characters.
In this piece, we’ve put together the ultimate list of sales interview questions that you can use to get the most out of your interview process, discover more about your potential candidates, and make the right choices.
Sales Interview Questions You Can Always Ask
But before we take a dive into the role-specific interview questions, let’s first take a quick look at some of the common sales interview questions you can always ask.
Common and Typical Sales Interview Questions
Here are common and generic sales interview questions that you can use to help paint a more complete picture of your candidate:
- Have you consistently met your sales goals?
- How did you land your most successful sale?
- What do you know about our company?
- Why are you interested in this particular position?
- What makes you a unique candidate?
- What are your biggest weaknesses?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- What makes you a great professional?
- How did you learn about this role?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- What has been your greatest professional achievement, to date?
- Why do you want this job?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Please describe your dream job for us.
- Which working environment is best for you?
- Could you please tell me about a time you disagreed with a colleague?
- What do you do outside of work?
- What was the most difficult decision that you made, this past year?
- What attracted you to the world of sales?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- How would your previous manager describe you?
- What would your previous manager say were your strongest and weakest areas?
- What do you find the most challenging about your role?
- Which two skills would you like to improve on?
- What do you think matters most to our customers?
- What motivates you?
- Who is your sales idol?
- Which learning method is best for you?
- What matters to you most, in a professional environment?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Tough Sales Interview Questions
Here are some tougher sales interview questions that you can use to turn up the heat, and see how your candidates perform under pressure.
- What can we expect from you in this role?
- What are your sales expectations?
- How do you think we assess results for this role?
- What do you think are the most critical sales metrics for this position?
- Are you comfortable making contact with new people?
- If you’ve ever failed to meet your sales goals in the past, what happened?
- What’s the biggest success you’ve had in your career, so far?
- Which three qualities make you an excellent sales professional?
- Could you try to pitch our own product to us?
- Could you please outline your sales strategy for us?
- What is the sales process that you generally follow?
- What was your previous sales quota, and did you regularly meet it?
- How long do you estimate you’ll stay with our company?
- Do you consider yourself to have strong leadership qualities?
- How else do you think you could add value to our sales department?
- What did you like about your previous manager?
- How important is the prospect during your selling process?
- Which management style do you respond best to?
- What exactly is it that motivates you to sell?
- Which questions do you have for me?
Best Sales Interview Questions Depending on Position (and Why)
Now that we’ve covered the general sales questions you can use, let’s jump into the more specific questions that you’ll want to ask, depending on the role – and why.
We’re going to cover questions for the following key sales roles:
- Sales assistants and entry-level roles
- Sales associates
- Sales representatives
- Sales managers
- Sales development representatives
- Sales analysts
- Inside sales professionals
- Outside sales professionals
- Sales engineers
- Sales executives
- VP of Sales
Sales Assistant and Entry-Level Sales Interview Questions
Sales assistants offer critical support to the rest of your sales team. These entry-level professionals will often make the most of their experiences to develop their skills and to move up the sales ladder within your organization.
Here are the key sales assistant interview questions, and why you’ll want to ask them during the hiring process:
- What are your career goals?
On the surface, this may seem like a basic question, but it can serve to give you important insight into what your candidate hopes to achieve, and whether or not you’re a good fit for one another.
- What interests you about sales?
Again, this is a general question, but your candidate’s answer may hold a lot of insight into whether they have the right motivations for pursuing a career in sales.
- What type of support would you want from us?
It’s extremely important that your candidate has a clear picture of how they want to develop while working for your business. Their answer will help you to understand how you can support your candidate, as well as whether you’re able to meet their expectations.
- What do you know about our product?
Entry-level candidates have a tendency to send out countless applications all at once. This might mean that they skipped over researching your business and your solution – and so, this question can help you to see whether or not your candidates actually know your business.
- Why this specific position?
Given that your entry-level employees may have applied for lots of different roles, you’ll definitely want to find out what makes this specific position so attractive and interesting to them.
Sales Associate Interview Questions
Your sales associates play a critical role in closing deals and guiding your customers through the purchasing process. To that end, they will need to have an energetic, results-oriented outlook, if they’re going to succeed.
Here are five ideal sales associate interview questions:
- What are you driven by?
Ask this question to obtain a better understanding of what your candidate prioritizes. The best sales associates are often driven by providing the best possible experience for your customers.
- Can you tell us about a time you went above and beyond for a prospect?
You’re going to absolutely need to hire sales associates who have what it takes to go above and beyond. By asking this question, you can learn more about what your candidate considers to be a great experience for your prospects.
- How do you plan on working for our customers?
This question will grant you deeper insight into the type of energy that your candidate might bring to the role. You’ll get a much clearer picture of how they’ll contribute toward creating a positive environment for your prospects and customers.
- Do you have a particular sales philosophy that you live by?
Your sales associates are going to be on the frontlines of your business, and as such, they’ll play a large part in shaping the external perception of your business. Use this question to gauge whether or not they’ll bear that responsibility correctly.
- 5. How do you think we measure success for your role?
This question will give you a good idea of what your candidate knows about sales, and what they’ve learned about your business. Use their answer to assess whether they have a good level of knowledge about the role.
Sales Representative Interview Questions
Your sales representatives will be working closely alongside your customers to understand their needs and then create the appropriate solutions. They will also be responsible for offering a very clear overall sales process.
Here are some interview questions that you can use to assess the suitability of your sales representative candidates.
- Which area of professional development would you like to focus on?
Over the course of the average day, you sales representatives will need to wear a number of hats. By asking this question, you’ll be able to obtain a clearer picture of their abilities and their weak points.
- What motivates you to sell?
It can be very useful to understand exactly how your sales representatives motivate themselves to sell. Once you have this information, then you’ll have a greater understanding of whether or not you can meet their needs.
- What have your previous sales results been like?
It’s obviously important for you to try and find effective and passionate sales representatives. You should assess the response of your candidate, in order to get a better understanding of their abilities and enthusiasm.
- Where do you see yourself fitting into the team?
When you ask this question, you’re able to get a better idea of how your sales representative might fit in alongside your already-existing team members, and what role their personality might play in shaping the dynamics of your sales team.
- What do you think matters most to our customers?
Naturally, your sales representatives will have to have a good understanding of your prospects and customers! You can use their response to this question to determine whether or not they’re a good fit, from this perspective.
Sales Manager Interview Questions
Your sales managers will act by taking a segment of your sales team under their wing. These experienced and dedicated professionals will use their expertise to guide your sales team to success.
Here are some of the best sales manager interview questions you can ask.
- What do you think your team members most respect about you?
It’s highly important that you hire leaders who will go on to gain the respect of your team members. Ask this question to get a better understanding of your candidate, and of what they value in themselves as a leader.
- What’s the most challenging management situation you’ve faced in the past?
Managing people is never an easy task, and challenging situations will inevitably arise. You should ask this question to get a deeper understanding of how your sales manager will approach challenging situations.
- How are you going to boost our sales results?
Sales managers have a critical part to play in boosting your results. Ask this question in order to understand what their priorities are, and how they’re going to contribute to the success of your business.
- What do you think are the three most important qualities of a sales manager?
The right sales manager can do great things for your business but a poor one can act as a destructive force within your team. This question can help you to understand whether or not the candidate could be a good fit within your business.
- What are your professional ambitions?
The best sales managers are often ambitious and driven people, who have a clear path before them. As long as you hire a motivated sales manager, you can rest assured that they’ll pursue fantastic results on a consistent basis.
Sales Development Representative Interview Questions
Sales development representatives focus on reaching out to your prospects and qualifying them as viable customers. These professionals have spectacular research skills, and spend their time organizing meetings for your salespeople.
Here are the main sales development representative interview questions you’ll want to ask.
- Can you describe our ideal customer for us?
Your sales development representatives are going to act as a filter, and so, they’ve got to pass the right prospects through to the rest of your team. Ask this question to determine whether or not your candidate understands your business and your target customers.
- Which tools have you used in the past to assess the suitability of your prospects?
SDRs have to make use of a sophisticated suite of sales tools, in order to perform their work. Ask this question to get a better idea of their previous experience, and whether or not they’ll be capable of utilizing your tech stack to its full effect.
- How do you think an SDR should move viable leads across to salespeople?
SDRs have to follow very distinct processes and act as a bridge between prospects and salespeople. By asking this question, you’ll be able to learn whether or not your candidate understands the importance of their role and how they’ll do it.
- Are you effective at building new and lasting relationships?
SDRs have to create meaningful relationships on a regular basis. And they have to do this quickly, too, in order to build a sense of rapport and engagement. Your candidate’s answer to this question will let you know whether or not they can really do this.
- What motivates you to be the best SDR you can be?
SDRs have to have very high energy levels, if they’re going to succeed and pass qualified prospects along to your salespeople. Learn what motivates them by asking this question, and assess whether or not you’ll be able to deliver, as a business.
Sales Analyst Interview Questions
Sales analysts are data-oriented professionals who work around the clock in order to collect and analyze useful data which will serve to guide your sales strategies. The best sales analysts will produce a range of sophisticated reports which boost transparency and overall results.
Here are the key sales analyst interview questions you’ll want to ask:
- Why are you passionate about data?
Sales analysts must have an analytical mindset, as well as the ability to sort through vast swathes of data in order to guide your team. Use this question to learn about their relationship with data, and whether or not they’ll be able to provide great results for you.
- Could you tell us about the tools that you’re most comfortable with?
As data-driven professionals, sales analysts must be able to use a suite of business intelligence and data analysis tools. Ask this question to get an understanding of their previous experience and knowledge around these tools.
- Which three abilities make you a successful sales analyst?
Sales analysts must also have a very specific set of skills, if they’re going to succeed. Ask your candidate this question to help determine what they value, and whether or not they have the abilities that you’re looking for.
- What’s your general sales analysis process?
Sales analysis is a complex and dynamic field – and to that end, you should ask this question so that you can understand your candidate’s approach, as well as whether they have a distinct process that will fit with your organization.
- Why do you think sales analysis is valuable for a business?
Sales analysts must have a big-picture understanding of how they impact your business. Ask this question to obtain a better idea of their strategic vision and of how they’ll benefit your sales team, going forward.
Inside Sales Interview Questions
Inside sales professionals will be in a unique position to use their great communication skills to understand the needs and desires of your prospects from within your business premises. They’ll use a range of communication methods to build clear pictures of your prospects.
Here are the main inside sales interview questions you’ll want to rely upon, when seeking out an inside sales employee:
- Which tools and technologies have you used in the past?
Inside sales representatives are going to use countless tools, over the course of the average day – and therefore, they must have some experience in doing this. You’ll also need to know whether or not they’re capable of adapting to your own tech stack.
- Which communication channel do you use most effectively?
Every inside sales professional will have a communication channel that they prefer, compared to the others. Ask this question to build a clearer picture of your candidate, and of where you might need to help them in the future.
- Which communication channel is most important for our business?
You can use this question to understand whether or not your candidate has prepared themselves properly. You’ll also be able to assess their general sales knowledge and strategic mindset, when it comes to interacting with your prospects.
- How do you see yourself fitting into the team?
It’s crucial that your inside sales candidates have a clear understanding of their role within the team, and of what it is that they need to achieve. Your candidate’s answer here will show whether or not they understand their role.
- What has been your greatest professional success so far?
This is a fun question which will encourage your inside sales candidate to open up and share more about their own professional history. You’ll also get a glimpse of how your candidate defines success, and you’ll then be able to verify whether or not you’re aligned, in that sense.
Outside Sales Interview Questions
Outside sales professionals travel extensively to sell your products and services on the road, where they’ll develop strong face-to-face relationships and use their powerful social skills to connect with your most valuable customers.
Here are the questions you’ll want to ask your outside sales prospects:
- Are you comfortable with travelling?
This may seem like an obvious question, but you’ll definitely want to ask it, in order to better understand your candidate and their perspectives on travelling. You might very well uncover an important point, or hit a key question, just by making sure you cover this area.
- What do you think makes you an effective outside sales professional?
Learn whether or not your candidate has a good foundation and strategic mindset with this simple question. You’ll be able to see if your goals and expectations are aligned, too.
- What has been your greatest professional triumph to date?
Your outside sales professional might have a fantastic professional history, filled with lots of success! By posing this question, you open up a door to learn more about what they’ve achieved, and whether this is the level of performance that you’re hoping for.
- What do you think is the key to a great prospect relationship?
Your outside sales professionals are going to be the face of your business for many prospects, so it’s going to be vital that they live and breathe your philosophy. Use this question to assess whether or not they’ve got the right approach to relationship-building.
- How will you get results for our company?
Your outside sales professionals must be able to bring their unique skills and experience to the table, to level-up your results. Use this question to build a clearer picture of exactly how your candidate plans to drive growth for your business.
Sales Engineer Interview Questions
Sales engineers are tech-oriented sales professionals, who use their vast scientific and technical knowledge to sell the most complex products and services. They work to bring together unparalleled technical knowledge and solid sales skills in order to close complex deals.
Here are the key questions you’ll want to ask your sales engineers:
- Why have you chosen to complement your strong technical knowledge with sales abilities?
Sales engineers are immensely talented professionals who have mastered two areas of business – but this question can serve to give you a deeper insight into exactly why they’ve decided to apply themselves in the world of sales.
- Could you please tell us about a particularly challenging deal you closed in the past?
Sales engineers will have lots of interesting success stories and experiences. Ask this question to learn more about your candidate, as well as about what they’ve managed to achieve. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll then be able to make clearer evaluations of your candidate.
- What interests you about our product or solution?
Sales engineers are often naturally curious, and they respect quality solutions when they see them. You should ask this question in order to gauge whether they like your product/service, and whether they’ll become a natural and authentic advocate.
- How do you see yourself pitching our product/solution to our customers?
This question can give you an idea of how your candidate might perform in the field. While they might lack some of the technical information they need at this point, it’s still a great opportunity to assess their confidence and clarity.
- *Various technical questions
It’s obviously important that you assess the technical knowledge of your sales engineers. With this goal in mind, you might want to consider inviting your product/engineering colleagues into the interview as well, so that they can discuss the technical details of your product/solution with the candidate.
Sales Executive Interview Questions
Sales executives (for example, account executives) are senior sales team members who create goals for the rest of the team and guide salespeople throughout their daily activities. They play a strong strategic role, but they can also often be found interacting with prospects.
Here are the main sales executive interview questions that you’ll want to ask:
- What do you think makes a great salesperson?
Your sales executive needs to exhibit the best qualities themselves – and they’ll also need to bring those qualities out of your team members. Ask this question to gauge whether or not your ideas are aligned.
- Please tell us more about your experiences with managing other people.
It’s important that your candidate has experience in managing and guiding other team members. This question can help you build a better understanding of how they might be able to guide the members within your team.
- Tell us more about your biggest success to date.
Your sales executives need to be motivated and inspired professionals. Present them with this prompt to see what they’ve managed to achieve in the past, and to obtain an idea of what they themselves define as sales success.
- What do you respect in a manager?
Your sales executives will work closely with your sales managers and other more senior profiles, so it’s extremely important that you get an understanding of how they’re going to interact with those people and build rapport.
- Why have you chosen this role instead of an alternative?
Your sales executives might have a few options open to them – and so you’ll want to understand exactly what it is about your role that excites them! This is a great question because it also gives you a good indication as to whether or not your candidate has prepared properly.
VP of Sales Interview Questions
Your VP of Sales is a key role within your business, given that they’ll be taking ownership for all sales-related activities. As such, you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time and effort into finding the best possible VP of Sales that you can – one who can truly take your business to the next level.
Here are the top VP of Sales interview questions that you’ll want to ask:
- Please tell us more about your quota performance over the previous years.
The best VP of Sales candidates are going to have proven experience in their background. To get a better picture of their capabilities, you should quiz them about their previous results and what they’ve managed to achieve with their teams in the past.
- Tell us more about the sales teams that you’ve grown over the years.
It’s essential that your VP of Sales has proven experience when it comes to growing and nurturing multidisciplinary sales teams. Ask this question as an opportunity to learn more about your candidate, and whether they have what it takes to grow your team.
- What do you think makes a strong leader within our organization?
Your VP of Sales must have a clear understanding of your business, and of the important part that they’re going to play within it. Ask them this question in order to assess whether they understand what’s expected of them, as well as how they’re planning on delivering results.
- Let’s create a scenario where your sales department has one month of the quarter left, but you’re set to miss your target. What would you do in this situation?
Your VP of Sales needs to be able to perform under pressure. Use these scenarios to put your candidate on the spot and understand whether they have what it takes to lead the sales activities within your business.
- In your own words, what is it that we do here?
Your VP of Sales is going to play an integral part in shaping the culture within your company, and they’ve got to be aligned with your strategic vision. Use this opportunity to assess whether or not they understand your deep, underlying mission.
We hope that this piece has been helpful! We know that sourcing and interviewing sales candidates is an art in and of itself, and it can take many years to master – but you’ll naturally build up a strong repertoire of effective questions over time, have no worries.
In today’s sales environments, it’s essential that your candidates have the appropriate technical abilities and are working with leading software solutions. Ready to add UpLead to your tech stack and empower your new hires to get the best results possible?
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