7 years ago
February 21, 2017

10 Tough Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales Staff

You need to ask them tough interview questions – questions that will elicit more than just a generic or pre-prepared answer.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

The time has come once again! It’s time to hire sales staff.

Naturally, you want to hire the best of the best and find people who will be a great fit for your sales team. “A lot of people get into sales at one point or another … but not a lot make a successful career of it. Can’t hit quota, not good at handling rejection, too disorganized, too aggressive, not aggressive enough — there are a lot of ways a person can not be cut out for sales,” says Emma Brudner on HubSpot.

So, how do you separate the contenders from the pretenders?

You need to ask them tough interview questions – questions that will elicit more than just a generic or pre-prepared answer and actually tell you something about the candidate’s skills and abilities.

One of the biggest mistakes companies and hiring managers make, and a reason why they experience a high turnover rate in their sales department, is because they fail to ask the right questions during the interview process.

But, don’t worry, we have you covered! Here are 10 tough interview questions to ask when interviewing sales staff:

1. Why did you leave (why are you looking to leave) your previous employer? 

A standard question, but it helps shed some light on why they are looking to make a career move. 

2. Why did you want to get into sales?

If they answer commission, it may be a red flag.

3. Where do you want to be 10 years from now?

This provides you with some insight into a person’s career aspirations. 

4. Why have you been successful in sales?

This will encourage the candidate to talk about their strengths and approach to sales. 

5. Which tools do you use to research prospects before contacting them?

This will give you an idea of the sales tools they have used and have experience with. 

6. How do you establish rapport with prospects?

This gives you some insight into how they approach sales, interact with people, and build relationships with prospects. 

7. What is your area of specialization in sales?

This will help you asses their fit for your sales team and where you could best use their talents.

8. How do you feel about collaboration on the sales team?

This will tell you a lot about their ability to work with others and if they have a “me first” or “company first” approach. 

9. How do you handle difficult prospects?

This will shed some light into how they deal with conflict and their customer service skills.

10. Do you have any questions?

Candidates should always have some questions about the role. 

Learn more about hiring sales reps by reading these blog posts:

How Sales Recruiting Agencies Help Companies Hire the Best Candidates

5 Behaviours of Sales People that Drive Their Success

SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit sales people in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right sales person for your organization, start your search here.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.