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Find Your Next Sales Rockstar With These 9 Interview Questions

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Great salespeople are wired differently. They work, think and perform in a unique way. For this reason, interview questions for salespeople should be different, too. We asked our recruiters to tell us some of their favorite and most surprising interview questions for sales candidates. Here’s what they recommend:


    1. “Tell me about me.”   Use this bold question as a test to see if the sales candidate researches prospects the way they need to before any sales call they make.


    1. “What is the most money you have ever made?”  If you find a sales candidate who has previously been very highly compensated, chances are they will work hard to get back to that level with your company. Just be careful not to overstep any potential salary question bans if you’re hiring someone who will be working outside of Texas.


    1. “How did you find your last job?” Good salespeople are referred often. If you stumble upon a candidate with a history of starting fresh with job searches through job boards and job placement agencies without strong references or referral sources, they may not be a strong candidate.


    1. “What do you know about our company?” Again, if a sales candidate hasn’t researched your company, what are the chances they’ll research sales prospects effectively? A candidate who can’t answer this question is also revealing to you that they don’t truly care about the job and probably won’t have much enthusiasm once hired, either. They should know your mission, vision, ownership, philosophy, core values.  The more they know, the more enthused they will be.


    1. “I’m going to interview a lot of qualified people.  Why are you the right fit for the job?” This question indicates that only the best-of-the-best will be considered. It forces the candidate to dig deep and come up with reasons that don’t just qualify them for the job but that make them a game-changing candidate that can’t be overlooked.


    1. “Why shouldn’t I hire you for this job?” As you can imagine, this question usually throws sales candidates for a loop and gives you a true opportunity to gauge their honesty. Look for body language here: Does the candidate shuffle in their chair or look away quietly before giving a half-hearted response, or do they honestly open up about areas they might not yet have experience in and difficulties they’ve encountered in past jobs?


    1. “Tell me about a time you’ve failed.  What did you learn?” This toned-down alternative to the question above is still very powerful because it can also reveal whether the candidate can be vulnerable and if they can deal with and learn from rejection appropriately (something salespeople face consistently).  Another variation of this “weaknesses” question is “What are some areas of improvement that you are working on or know you need to work on?”


    1. “In a perfect world, what is your dream job and what duties would it include?” Before hiring an employee, you want to know that their ambitions match the reality of the work they’ll be doing or have to potential of doing. Salespeople are unique in this area because it’s been proven that great salespeople make horrible sales managers (and vice versa). Measure their answer against this consideration carefully.


    1. “Why do you want to work here?” This is the ultimate culture-fit question. The answer should ideally include keywords from your company’s values and mission like “integrity,” “passion,” and “purpose.” Even more granular answers like “I know I can help your stagnant sales on X increase by at least Y within the next year,” could be a great indicator that you’ve got a sales candidate who is ready to hit the ground running.


This list isn’t comprehensive and, of course, not every question is right for every situation. Do you have a favorite sales candidate question? Tell us about it! And if you need direct hire help with recruiting superstar salespeople in Austin or beyond, contact our executive search team, The HT Group – Professional, today at 512-345-9300 or complete the form to right.


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