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9th Feb, 2023

Christy Houghton
Christy Houghton
Job Title
Digital Content Writer

For a sales role, it’s more important than usual to be able sell yourself – particularly when answering those sales executive interview questions – as hiring managers will expect you to be able to sell yourself as you would their products.

Generate interview questions in minutes with our interview question generator.

At Reed, we’ve worked with thousands of candidates looking for a new career in sales, whether that’s just starting out, or those at the top of their game in head of sales or sales and marketing director roles – so we know what sales interview questions you are likely to be asked and how to answer them.

This blog also serves as a great tool for those responsible for sales talent acquisition offering sales interview questions ideas to find the best people, whether that be sales manager interview questions, sales director interview questions or sales executive interview questions.

Here is our take on the top 10 sales interview questions – and how to answer them:

Sales interview questions and answers

1. What do you know about our company?

This is the most common question to ask in a sales interview. The interviewer is looking to find out if sales interviewees have taken the time to learn about and understand their organisation before their interview.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

If you haven’t prepared properly to answer this sales interview question, then the assumption will be that you’re likely to be just as badly prepared when it comes to making sales calls. Coming up with the right answer is all about doing your homework. Make sure you have a thorough look at the company website of the business you are potentially going to be working for. You should also check out their social media presence – this can include sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even TikTok, but don’t forget if the company is B2B focused it is likely LinkedIn will be a key tool.

When answering sales interview questions like this one, be sure to consider what motivates you and how that motivation overlaps with the mission statement and employee value proposition of the company you are applying to join.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

Employers asking this kind of sales interview question, should expect candidates to have an understanding of their business, what makes it tick and how that aligns with their own values.
Ideally, answers would include examples of a candidates’ research, perhaps a mention of certain sales leaders, what they have said on LinkedIn and how that reflects the company’s ethos. It may include suggestions as to how best to improve products sales direct to the consumer through social media.

Ideally when answering sales job interview questions, candidates should have a good understanding of your company but go that bit further and make constructive recommendations from their research findings.

2. Are you comfortable making cold calls?

Of all the sales job interview questions, this is very likely to be asked as making cold calls can be such an important part of the job, especially when it comes to sales advisor interview questions. The interviewer will want to know about your experience, confidence, and personality.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

When answering this sales interview question, you should try and demonstrate that you are outgoing and can start a conversation.

If you can share examples of when you have done this task in the past that can really help.

Perhaps emphasise how although outcomes may be unpredictable on a cold call; carrying out research on the person and company you are speaking to can really help.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

Employers should be looking for candidates who can answer this sales advisor interview question in a confident, outgoing, and positive manner.

The answer should always be yes, even if they haven’t ever done the task before. This is, after all, their chance to sell themselves.

3. What makes you a good sales representative?

Out of all the questions to ask in a sales interview, this is one which will really give the candidate scope to sell themselves. It’s a chance for interviewees to talk about key aspects of their past success and how that work applies to this new position.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

If asked this sales interview question, candidates should not only talk up the work they have done in the past but explain what skills and characteristics they have that have allowed them to reach past goals.

If you made hundreds of cold calls a day to help you reach your targets, then shout about it.

If you used a cleverly constructed email campaign to target specific people then this sales job interview question will give you the opportunity to say how and why you did so – and how your tactics can work again for your prospective employee.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

Hiring managers should be looking for candidates who are able to sell themselves and explain how they have succeeded in the past, particularly if they are asking sales executive interview questions.

Realistically candidates should talk about how they have a passion for solving problems, can be empathetic when talking to potential customers, and know how to close a deal.

The past can predict the future, and if you are a hiring manager asking this sales interview question you will get an idea of how candidates perform and how they are likely to approach and meet your organisations sales goals.

4. What motivates you?

When it comes to questions to ask in a sales interview, in this case hiring managers want to know what makes a candidate tick – why do you want to work in sales, what about this job and our company makes you excited?

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

Candidates should look to align their answers to the goals of the company they are looking to join. Of course, pay and bonus are going to be big motivational factors, but it is important to take any answer beyond that.

A good answer to sales interview questions like this would be to highlight how you go beyond your quota and look to better your personal best results.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

As an employer, with such sales interview questions and answers, you should be looking for candidates who can explain why they are inspired and motivated.

In response to this question, you will need to be sure that interviewees are being honest and sincere and can come up with two to four things that are really important to them in a working environment.

This answer shouldn’t be about money, it may be a small factor, but candidates should talk about topic such as their career goals, diversity, company culture, working environment, targets, personal motivators, and teammates.

5. What is important to you in your next job?

Sales interview questions – whether sales executive interview questions or sales advisor interview questions, are often no different from those you will encounter at most job interviews – and this question is a good example of that.

Interviewers ask this as they want to make sure you are a great match for their company.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

Candidates answering such sales job interview questions, should use their knowledge of the company they are applying for along with their own passions when addressing this question.
If you are posed this sales interview question, you could reference workplace culture, tools that are available at that company or management styles.

You may even want to consider addressing the hiring company’s standards, objectives or working environment in your response.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

As the interviewer for a sales position by asking this question you will be looking for insight into your potential employee’s thought process behind leaving their current role and their desires and aspirations for the future.

In response to this question, you should look for clear answers – everyone knows what they are looking for – whether that be better job satisfaction, more development opportunities, or a collaborative team culture. From your interviewee’s response, you should be able to identify whether they are a good fit for your business and how they can bring a new dynamic to your team.

6. What don’t you like about sales?

This is a sales interview question that will test those going for both sales representative and sales executive jobs. Along with questions to ask in a sales interview such as describe your weaknesses, or how you have resolved a conflict at work, this can really get a candidate thinking.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

Anyone asked a sales interview question about what they don’t like in sales should be honest and open in their answer – but be sure to follow-up the negatives by talking about what you love about the job.

There are positives and negatives in every role and field, so being truthful is important, but this is another opportunity to talk about why you applied for the position.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

We all know that sales can be a high-stress industry – this may be a common theme in response to this question. However, hopefully, your interviewee will highlight how they thrive under pressure.

In response to this question, you need to look for your candidate to discuss both sides of the argument. Highlighting their negative response but counteracting the argument with more positives. Obviously, anyone who tells you why they simply don’t like the sector may want to think about changing their career path!

7. Why are you looking for a new role?

This is a very common sales advisor interview question which seeks to find out if the candidate has a positive, forward-thinking attitude. Hiring managers are looking for people with a growth mindset, who can really add to their team.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

For people answering such sales interview questions, it is important not to talk at great length about what is wrong with your current job. Instead, focus on what you have learned from at and how you are now keen to progress.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

Interviewers want to hear from someone who is focused on the opportunity ahead of them – what they can bring to the role and how that will benefit the company, and vice-versa. A hiring manager would want candidates to talk about how they are looking for a new opportunity or big adventure, and where they can use the skills they learnt at their current employer to accomplish goals for the potential new one.

You should pay close attention to your interviewee's response looking for signs of trouble in their last position – are they leaving because they didn’t get on with their manager, or are they looking to work for you because you pay more? If their answer is based around unhappiness in their last role, you may want to investigate this further, to ensure they are going to be happy working as part of your team.

Hopefully, your interviewee will also give you insight into what most attracted them to your job role – they may have applied because they saw something special or enticing about your company, this has the potential to give you insight about how effective your talent acquisition strategy actually is.

8. Tell me about a time you succeeded or were proud of yourself?

When it comes to sales interview questions and answers, you can’t beat this old favourite.
Interviewers ask this sales job interview question as they want to understand your drive to succeed – and what your greatest achievements are.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

Candidates should first explain the situation they were in and any problems that needed to be solved, before going on to say what they were tasked with and what their goals were.
The next step to answer this sales interview question is to talk about what action you took.

Do this step by step and explain why you did what you did at each stage. It is, of course, vital to then say what the outcome was.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

Hiring managers should expect candidates to remember that they are interviewing for a sales role, so any answer should be relevant to that sector. You will want to look out for a time when a candidate was persistent, and reaped rewards as a result of their actions. If an interviewee has data to back up what they are saying this will help provide a close to perfect answer.

9. How would your colleagues describe you?

As well as revealing a candidate’s level of perception, this sales interview question allows hiring managers to get an idea about they would fit in with their organisation’s culture and existing team members.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

A good answer would see you highlight your skills and positivity, by talking about how colleagues always talk about their persistence or how goal-orientated they are. It is also important to emphasise how you enjoy the company of your peers, how you work well with others as part of a team, and that you enjoy working in a positive and welcoming environment.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

When addressing this sales jobs interview question, employers will want to hear how someone will fit in with their culture, and how they can adapt to the environment around them. Being part of a team and getting along with other team members is crucial.

10. How did you close your biggest sale?

Whether it is sales executive interview questions, sales director interview questions or sales manager interview questions which are being asked, this one if likely to come up. This is another chance for interviewees for sales roles to sell themselves and talk about how the work they have done has brought about tangible success.

What kind of answers should candidates provide?

Sales interview questions like this are probing you for examples of your sales successes. A good answer could include details of how you worked with a customer who wasn’t certain about making a purchase and how you persuaded them to do so.

What answers should you expect as an employer?

This sales interview question is calling for a tangible example of success, backed up by statistics and information as to how the result was achieved. It is a great opportunity to uncover the true skills and knowledge of the person you are interviewing.

Reed has a proven track record in finding you sales professionals who drive company performance, as well as the experience and expertise to help sales professionals take their next career step. Contact one of our specialists today.

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