Best Sales Interview Questions for Hiring Sales Reps

The Best sales interview questions for sales leaders to askMany sales managers deal with high turnover rates in their sales teams; having a great set of sales interview questions is critical in an always-hiring environment.

In regular times, sellers turn over at a rate of 1 in 3 every year. During the Great Resignation, that rate is even worse in many industries.

Always be recruiting, interviewing, and hiring.

Here are the best sales interview questions for any hiring manager responsible for hiring sales team members.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The Best Sales Interview Questions to hire great sellers

Why are you interested in this sales position?

Why is this a good question to ask?

The sales manager wants to make sure that the candidate is entering this sales role for the right reasons:

  • They want to earn more money
  • Are excited about the company’s sales strategy or market
  • Have worked for one of the sales leaders previously, or,
  • Something else sounding reasonable.

If an entry-level salesperson thinks they can make $75,000 in their first year on a new job at Acme Inc. but only makes about $30k per year (including sales commission), they will likely feel dissatisfied with their sales role and leave.

What are your career aspirations?

Why is this a good question to ask?

Hiring managers want to ensure that the candidate has long-term career aspirations and isn’t just looking for a short-term job.

If the salesperson only expects to be in their current sales role for two years, they may not be willing to put in the extra effort needed to succeed.

However, keep in mind that industry research shows that most people stay in their sales jobs for only around 25 – 30 months. Keep this in mind when interviewing.

An effective sales interview process will uncover if the seller is a good fit for the current need and hopefully discover if their sales skills, growth potential, and overall abilities could help them into the future.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why is this a good question to ask?

The hiring manager wants to ensure that the candidate knows their strengths and weaknesses and has taken some time to reflect on them.

If the salesperson can’t think of any weaknesses, they either don’t think very much of themselves or haven’t been in sales long enough to realize that everyone has room for improvement.

Or, potentially worse, they have never received, or don’t know how to listen to and learn from, constructive feedback.

Self awareness is an important attribute that is often overlooked.

What do you know about our company?

Why is this a good question to ask?

The sales leader wants to ensure that the candidate has researched their company and knows what they sell.

If the salesperson can’t answer this question, they likely won’t be very successful in sales — sales candidates who don’t prepare for meetings will not be successful.

Has the candidate dug into the company culture through sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn?

What do you think our company could do better?

Why is this a good question to ask?

Sales professionals need to be excited about their products and the companies they work for — but realistic about their strengths and weaknesses.

If the salesperson doesn’t know anything about the weaknesses of the sales team’s company, products, or solutions, they have likely failed to do solid research before the sales interview.

If you work for a publicly-traded company, the candidate can obtain valuable insight from various sources. Even for private companies, press releases, the company website, and simply reaching out to prior employees can uncover a lot of valuable information.

What sales methods have you found the most successful in your past roles?

Why is this a good question to ask?

The best sales reps have a solid understanding of what has worked for them in the past. This question will help you understand what sales techniques the candidate is comfortable with and experienced in using. You’ll also get an idea of their success rate with different sales methods.

Remember, however, that the sales candidate will need to be comfortable working within your methodologies and frameworks — using their approaches where the process and frameworks allow.

What objections have you had the most success overcoming in your past roles?

Why is this a good question to ask?

Every sales call, meeting, and conversation results in at least a handful of objections.

Suppose this candidate hasn’t successfully dealt with a few customer objections throughout their entire sales career or can’t articulate them during the interview process. In that case, they may struggle to hit their sales quota.

How do you determine whether or not a lead is worth pursuing?

Why is this a good question to ask?

Far too many organizations have crappy leads thrown over the wall at their sellers.

Having the sales experience and understanding of the business necessary to prioritize is critical for any seller. This skill is especially true for outside sales reps like account executives (AEs).

AEs only hit sales quota around 50% of the time. One of the factors for this failure to achieve quota is poor prioritization.

Have you worked with sales enablement teams in past roles?

Why is this a good question to ask?

If your company has a sales enablement team in place, you want to hire a sales representative that has experience working with these teams.

Tell me about when you had to overcome an obstacle to achieve success.

Why is this a good question to ask?

A hiring manager wants to hire sales reps that are tenacious and can overcome any obstacles put in their way. This question will give the sales manager an idea of how well the candidate has overcome obstacles in past roles and if they have experience doing so.

Illegal Sales Interview Question: What is your current salary?

Why is this a negative?

Asking about the candidate’s past salaries is illegal in some areas.

Don’t ask this question!

Conclusion

During the hiring process, practical sales interview questions will ensure that new hires have a better chance of success.

By asking these sales interview questions, you can weed out candidates who do not have the necessary qualifications or commitment levels to succeed in their role early on, leading to less turnover, adherence to the sales process, and higher quota achievement levels.