8 years ago
April 13, 2016

Questions to Ask in an Interview When Hiring a Sales Person

The following interview questions for hiring a sales person will challenge your candidates into providing truthful and potentially revealing answers.

Rhys Metler

A well-written resume is the first indication of a strong candidate, yet even the best written resume can never tell you all you need to know about your candidates to make the right decision in hiring a sales person. Asking easy questions in the sales interview process also will not help you arrive at the information you need. The following interview questions for hiring a sales person will challenge your candidates into providing truthful and potentially revealing answers so that you can make a more informed decision about who you are hiring.

If you were able to go back and change one thing about your career, what would that be?

Hiring a sales person should be looked at from a long term perspective. Interview questions designed to provoke a candidate into sharing what he or she would change about their career choices can provide information about where the candidate wants to be with his or her career. The answer a candidate gives may provide the information you need to assess whether the position available is logical for the candidate’s career experience, interests, and trajectory.

What initially attracted you to apply for this position?

Many managers will ask candidates about their reasons for wanting to work for an organization. However, the fit for a given position is as important as the fit for an organization’s culture. Asking the candidate why he or she was moved to apply for your position can help you understand what is most important to the candidate, and determine whether he or she will be able to perform and be satisfied in the position available.

What motivates you the most to deliver your best performance?

As a sales manager or executive you are always looking for ways to motivate your sales team. Knowing what motivates your candidates when hiring a sales person can potentially give you new directions for motivating your sales team, as well as provide a background for motivating the ultimately successful candidate.

When we contact your previous sales manager, what will he or she tell us is the area where you could stand to improve?

No sales person is perfect! Being aware of the areas where your next sales person may need additional coaching ahead of time can help you make a strong hiring choice, especially if the successful candidate is self-aware to the point where he or she recognizes the need for and is willing to work towards improvement. This question can also potentially provide information on whether a candidate had conflicts with his or her previous manager, helping you uncover whether there are underlying issues in the decision to make a career change.

Describe to me the most difficult sale you ever made, and why that sale was so difficult for you to achieve.

The ability to self assess and make adjustments for future activities is important in any professional position, but in sales this is an absolutely critical indicator of a candidate’s commitment to his or her work. Any well qualified sales candidate you consider when hiring a sales person should be able to describe his or her most difficult sale, but with this question the candidates who can explain why the sale was difficult may have an advantage.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

This is a great interview question for concluding an interview for hiring a sales person. While a candidate may or may not know the backgrounds of the other sales people being considered for a position, a candidate who can speak to the main points of the job description as well as the main points of additional information about the position shared during the interview process when answering this question demonstrates his or her commitment to and engagement with the opportunity. Use this question to close a sales interview whenever possible to test candidate’s understanding of your needs in hiring a sales person.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.