Find out about examples and criteria most used to create questions in job interviews.
The purpose of a salesperson job interview is to determine whether or not the salesperson should continue in the selection process for a job opening with the company.
It is important to emphasize this because many companies restrict themselves to selecting resumes and interviewing a salesperson as the only steps in this work.
During the selection process many other techniques can be used. But let’s focus here on the salesperson job interview questions.
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And before listing our 15 question suggestions, let’s better understand what criteria to use when selecting candidates.
After all, what’s the point of asking questions if we don’t have something to base ourselves on to evaluate the answers?
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By having these evaluation parameters well defined, we avoid the trap of asking pre-conceived questions or following stereotyped scripts that won’t provide the answers we need.
If you are expanding or creating a sales team, see more about this topic in this post: How to build a high performance sales team?
Criteria for evaluating job applicants
One of the most used techniques for this purpose has a picturesque name: CHA. No, it is not to replace the traditional coffee offered at the beginning of every salesperson interview or any other position.
CHA is an abbreviation for three important criteria when evaluating whether a person is suitable for the job:
With that, when you go to make your script of questions for the candidates, you will already know which of these criteria is being evaluated. Let’s understand each one of them.
Knowledge is the theoretical domain of what needs to be done and, in the case of salespeople, also of the characteristics of the product or service they sell.
For example, if you are hiring an IT equipment advisory salesperson, it is very important that he or she has knowledge of the subject.
It is also very important to know if he has specific knowledge to perform his role.
A salesperson has to know: sales techniques, negotiation, financial math, prospecting tactics, customer profiles, pricing, and many other topics.
In some cases, it may be necessary to request training in a higher education course. A diploma is nothing more than a certificate of knowledge in a certain area.
Finally, it is necessary to have knowledge that allows the interviewed salesperson to use the tools provided by the company, such as management software, communication equipment, spreadsheets, mobile devices and any others.
In short: it must be ensured that the respondent has technical knowledge of what they are going to sell, knowledge of how it is sold and knowledge of how to use the company’s infrastructure.
It is also very important to know if he has specific knowledge to perform his role.
Skill is the ability to put knowledge into practice, it is knowing how to do it. And to find this out you will have to ask the most subtle questions.
It is one thing during the salesperson job interview for the candidate to respond by saying that he has a degree in systems engineering and that he knows everything about computers.
Another is to ask him to give an example of a project in which his suggestions were instrumental in closing the sale.
Skill is knowing how to use knowledge to achieve a result.
The truth is that knowing a subject is one thing, knowing how to sell is quite another!
To dig deeper into the skills a good salesperson needs, read also: 11 Skills Every Inside Salesperson Must Have
During the salesperson interview, a skilled interviewer soon notices the candidate’s attitude, that is: if he has the necessary grip for the job!
Attitude is linked to action: does the candidate have knowledge and skills, but do they know why in practice? Do you have the necessary disposition and grit?
This is a determining criterion because it is possible to train someone to acquire knowledge and skills. It is also possible to change attitudes, but they require more effort and, above all, the will to change!
It is important to remember that each company profile requires different attitudes from its sales team. Not every seller has to be aggressive. Sometimes you have to be just the opposite: more advisor and persuasive.
So before you ask attitude salesperson interview questions, think carefully about what kind of salesperson your company needs to hire.
15 Sales Interview Questions
Let’s start with questions about attitude:
1. Why did you choose to be a salesperson?
It will be easy to see if he is being sincere in saying that he enjoys this activity and that he sees it as an exhilarating challenge to make a sale.
2. Do you like helping customers? Give an example.
Of course, the respondent will say yes, but the example will have to be a compelling story. He has to show that he makes consultative sales and delivers solutions. That is: he is not just an order taker.
3. Are you creative? Tell a case in which this was decisive in closing a sale.
It is likely that most applicants will take a few seconds to respond. But pay attention to the answers and draw your conclusions.
4. Why did you leave your last job?
Responding calmly to why you left your last job can reveal much of a candidate’s attitude.
A classic question that no one likes to answer. The important thing is for the interviewee not to start criticizing the company from which he left and say that he was being persecuted.
And remember that being fired is not a demerit, it can happen in everyone’s career and not necessarily due to deficiencies at work.
5. Tell us a little about this company and why you want to work here.
At this point you will see if he is proactive and if he has some of the basic attitudes of a salesperson: be curious and prepare in advance to face challenges.
Academic background and languages you will see in the curriculum. The questions should be more comprehensive, such as:
6. What is the last book you read?
7. Did you take any training courses lately? What’s the theme?
8. Tell us something you learned in this course and that you use in your professional daily life.
9. If the company was willing to help you pay, what course would you take immediately?
The answers will indicate which areas of knowledge the respondent likes to develop and if they have this habit of researching and looking for new knowledge.
It is also necessary to ask objective questions about the specific knowledge needed to work in your company, such as:
10. Questions about specific knowledge:
- Have you worked with the SAP system?
- Do you master Excel spreadsheets?
- Do you know how to assemble PowerPoint presentations?
- Do you know the government’s bidding procedures?
- Have you ever held leadership positions? Etc.
Finally, the questions about skills.
These are some of the most important questions during salesperson job interviews.
11. Count a sale you’re proud of to this day.
12. Give an example of a case where you exceeded expectations to achieve your goals.
13. Tell us about a big hurdle you were forced to overcome in your career.
14. Talk about a case where teamwork was crucial to achieving a goal.
15. What is the most difficult negotiation you’ve been through?
All these questions require more than knowledge, it is necessary to show the ability to solve the challenges and tell in detail how it happened and how the person stood out in it.
Do you already know what questions to ask the seller? See an example that the Agendar team developed for you to use:
These questions are some examples of how to break away from traditional scripts and find effective answers so that you can evaluate a candidate well during a salesperson interview.
How about creating your list of salesperson job interview questions?
It is important that you use this list as a template for designing your own salesperson job interview questionnaire, meeting criteria that are pertinent to your company’s needs.
Take a quiz and create your own custom questions for your business demands!