3 years ago
January 7, 2015

5 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Salesperson

Sales people earn their wages by knowing the right thing to say and having the ability to steer conversations, which is why interviewing them can be

Rhys Metler

InterviewSales people earn their wages by knowing the right thing to say and having the ability to steer conversations, which is why interviewing them can be so difficult.  A good sales professional will answer most interview questions the way they think you want them to, not really the kind of answer an interviewer can use to make a decision on hiring a salesperson.  Part of the interview process is for candidates to sell themselves but meandering through the salesmanship to get real responses and important details is the tricky part.  Digging deep and asking thoughtful questions is a necessity when hiring a salesperson.  With that said, there are key questions that can aid in determining the correct choice when hiring a salesperson.  

Is cold calling dead?  Why?

The answer, of course, is no.  But it is the “Why” you need to listen to.  Cold calling is one of the most hated components in any sales professional’s career and, yet, one of the most important.  A good candidate will explain their own methodology in cold calling, telling you why it is so important and how good effort and follow through lead to increased production.  

What motivates you?

This is the kind of open-ended questions that a good candidate will run with.  There are a lot of good answers but one of them should definitely be money.  Hiring a salesperson that just wants to make people happy will not make your business grow.  Someone that is motivated by the thrill of closing a sale and the commissions earned when doing so will generally be the person that exceeds quotas and regularly produces at high levels.  

What is the ideal relationship between sales and marketing?

Many sales professionals don’t have a clue what marketing is and how it relates to them.  A demonstrated knowledge of the relationship between sales and marketing will indicate good business acumen and a thorough understanding of the customer experience.  Hiring a salesperson that provides a well thought out response relating to the sales and marketing relationship will tend to work in your favor as they will have the insight and business know-how to succeed where less knowledgeable candidates might fail.  

What are your favorite closing questions?

Closing is key in any sales environment.  Any good salesperson will dazzle you with good closing questions, going into detail on how they present them and follow up on prescribed responses.  This a good opportunity to delve into a candidate’s selling practices and find out what makes them tick. Hiring a salesperson requires finding out if they have the skills required to close deals.

What is your process for developing a pipeline?

This is where you can determine the level of organizational skills and sales acumen.  A short response will tell you this isn’t the candidate for you.  The salesperson you want to hire is the one that gives a thorough answer, detailing the key aspects of pipeline development, documentation, and customer follow-up.  

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.