2 months ago
April 7, 2022

How to Answer “How Did You Handle a Difficult Situation?” in a Sales Job Interview

When you work in sales, you are bound to encounter your fair share of difficult situations. It’s the nature of the job. Depending on the type of sales you do,…

Jace Ermidis Toronto Sales Recruiter
Jace Ermidis

When you work in sales, you are bound to encounter your fair share of difficult situations. It’s the nature of the job. Depending on the type of sales you do, you could deal with challenging situations occasionally, daily, or even specialize in working in difficult sales situations.

So, it’s no surprise that hiring managers will ask about how you handle challenging situations during a sales job interview.

It Aint Easy Chris Harrison GIF by The Bachelorette

Below are some strategies to answer this challenging job interview question for sales positions:

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Understanding why hiring managers ask this question

Hiring managers ask this question to understand how you work in high-stress situations. This behavioural-style question can help them learn about how you communicate, listen, and deal with conflict. It can also provide them with insights into how you react when put in challenging situations. Do you own mistakes or do you blame others? Do you diffuse or ignite the situation?

Use the STAR method to answer the question

One of the most effective ways to answer these types of questions is by using the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

  • Situation: Explain the situation where you encountered a challenge. Briefly outlining the details will provide the interviewer with context for the result of your answer.
  • Task: Speak about the situation you faced. Talk about the role you had in handling the situation. Talk about your responsibility as it related to your job.
  • Action: Detail the actions you took to fix the situation. Include your thought process to give a deeper understanding of your actions. Try to be as specific as you can.
  • Result: Explain the result of the situation. How did your handling of the situation achieve the desired result? Talk about what you learned. If applicable, include numbers or statistics.

You can expect to get asked this question, or a very similar one, at your next sales job interview. So, it’s a good idea for you to work through the STAR method and have an answer prepared.

Get More Strategies to Answer Tough Sales Job Interview Questions

How to Answer Interview Questions About Sales Experience Like a Real Pro

5 Things Sales Managers Actually Want to Hear in an Interview

6 Questions to Ask the Recruiter in Your Next Sales Interview

“Sell Me Something.” 7 Tips to Sell a Product in a Sales Interview

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!