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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales interview'>sales interview</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Management'>Sales Management</a>
Talent & Recruitment
Aug 14, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association

In sales, understanding your audience is essential for getting to the root of what they need, so you can then figure out how to provide that for them. One way of doing this is by taking an approach that’s rooted in inquiry. The field can sometimes be difficult, demanding, and frustrating, and being able to recognize the ability to “get” people helps in sales.

It turns out, a similar principle can be applied to hiring Sales Officers. As the saying goes, good help is hard to find, but, by asking the right questions, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to ensure that you do your due diligence and get long term benefits from a concise interview.

Here are a six questions to get you started.

1. What Technology do You Think is Disrupting the Sales Industry?

This question allows you to consider the candidate’s knowledge of tools, willingness to innovate, and level of resourcefulness. Good answers include examples of times where the candidate used technology to better themselves and their role in the sales process.

2. How do You Approach Conversations with Leads?

Conversation, and the ability to make connections with diverse groups of people, is one of the most important skills a good salesperson can have. This allows you to judge whether a candidate understands this and is taking action to get good at it.

3. Why are You Interested in Selling?

This question is an excellent way of gauging how the candidate got into the sales field. It also lets you evaluate their possible motivations and whether those align with larger goals.

4. What Made You Leave Your Last Position?

Sales, in general terms, is known for its high turnover rate. So while a candidate’s short time at their last job may not necessarily reflect badly on them, give them the chance to explain it in their own words. On the other hand, if they were there for a long time, you can get insight into the culture they prefer and see how it aligns with your company’s.

5. How do You Handle a Difficult or Stubborn Customer?

Dealing with adversity of this kind can be a big part of being in sales. Good answers here point to some kind of process that the candidate turns to in these situations to show that they’re making tough situations a priority in their professional development.

6. What do You do to Stay Up-to-Date with Sales Trends?

Continually learning is something that every good sales rep should be open to doing as they move forward in their careers. The field is rapidly shifting, and you need someone who is aware of this, and who is taking real steps to think of education as a lifelong goal.

Interviews are a critical stage where you can gauge a candidate’s ability and fit for your organization. It can be demanding and frustrating to find the right Sales Officer candidates, but asking the right questions will give you the information you need to evaluate candidates and find that perfect fit.


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