1 month ago
April 25, 2024

5 Unorthodox Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer In A Sales Interview

If you’re a seasoned sales professional and have been on your fair share of job interviews, you can probably predict some of the questions interviewers will ask. Certain questions will…

Jace Ermidis Toronto Sales Recruiter
Jace Ermidis

If you’re a seasoned sales professional and have been on your fair share of job interviews, you can probably predict some of the questions interviewers will ask. Certain questions will come up in most job interviews. 

However, in recent years, I’ve seen an increasing number of sales managers and recruiters starting to integrate unconventional job interview questions to attempt to catch sales candidates off guard. So, expect the unexpected. 

They ask these types of questions to see how you’ll react and how you perform when you’re put on the spot. They want to learn how you answer questions you may not have prepared for in advance. In my more than 10 years of experience as a sales recruiter, I’ve found that answering these questions well can put you in a prime position to be considered for the job. 

Below is a list of offbeat or alternative questions all sales candidates should be prepared to answer:

Question 1: Why sales?

This is an interesting question that companies will ask to get a deeper understanding of your motivation for working in the sales industry. There are a lot of reasons why people get into sales – some are better than others. 

As a candidate, it’s important to communicate the authentic reasons you chose this profession. Some of the things you could address are the challenging environment, a wide range of skill development opportunities, you enjoy working with and helping people, and the ability to make an impact on others. You could also discuss the opportunity for financial success, but focus on how you want your hard work and dedication to be rewarded by your performance. 

Question 2: What does sales mean to you?

In addition to asking why you get into sales, employers may also ask about what sales means to you. They want to understand your view on the industry and function of sales. A great approach to answer this question is to focus on helping the customer. You can talk about building trusting relationships, understanding the needs and desires of customers, and guiding them toward solutions that genuinely benefit them. You can also discuss your view how the importance of sales as a unit within organizations. Add personal stories and anecdotes to make your response more authentic and original. 

Question 3: Do you love to win or hate to lose?

Employers want to understand your mindset and how you approach sales. This can be a tough question to answer on the spot if you have yet to have time to think about it. 

An effective way to answer this would be to talk about being motivated by both the love of winning and the aversion to losing. Discuss the sense of achievement and validation of your efforts, while also recognizing that the fear of failure can drive you to work harder. Focus on balance – a balanced mindset, where you strive for success while also learning from setbacks.

Question 4: Is there anything that concerns you about the job?

It’s completely normal for a sales candidate to have concerns about a specific role. Addressing them during the interview can help you decide if you want to work for the company. There may be some concerns that if left unaddressed, could become an issue for you in the future. 

Answering this question can also show the employer that you have put careful thought and consideration into the company. You did your homework. So, make a list of concerns and use those as your questions to ask the employer. 

Question 5: How would you use AI in this role?

AI and automation are becoming a more and more integrated part of the sales process. Expect sales companies to gauge how much sales professionals know about AI and how they would leverage it in their sales process before hiring them. If you use AI, explain how you use it to create efficiencies and improve your sales process. 

If you don’t use it, discuss why you choose not to use it. Or, you can discuss how you plan to use it in the future. The key here is to show that you’ve given AI some careful thought and consideration. 

A final word on sales job interview questions 

Expect the unexpected. There will always be certain questions and topics that will come up during sales interviews. You probably have a good idea of how to answer the common questions. But it’s how you answer the less conventional questions that can help you prove yourself and win the job. 

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Jace Ermidis Toronto Sales Recruiter

Jace Ermidis

Jace is a sales recruiter with almost a decade of experience building high-performing sales teams in North America, across Europe, Asia, and Australia. He also has plenty of tips to help your sales team increase revenue!