Let's Talk Sales Interviews

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hiring sales people is challenging – it’s a task that requires finding the best communicators and relationship managers made harder by the complexity and detail of the position in hand. That’s why recruiters will put the pressure on to dive into your personality, rather than just your knowledge and experience.

As you’re sitting waiting for your interview, with your hands shaking, tummy fluttering and sweat running down your face- ask yourself, why are you nervous? For the most part, it’s not the interview itself that causes the knees to wobble, but rather xenophobia- the fear of the unknown. You simply don’t know what to expect; what questions are they going to ask you, what you are meant to do with your hands. All this ‘unknown’ can be pretty nerve-wracking. 

That’s why we’ve put together a list of interview questions that may crop up. It is imperative that you prepare, so let us help!


The classic- Tell me about yourself?

Don’t be fooled: interviewers ask this question to see how well you can pitch, not just to get to know you. So even though it may seem silly to prepare for this question since it seems so easy to answer, that’s exactly why you should prepare. It’s too easy to talk about yourself for too long. Do not go too personal with your answer, make sure you keep it work related and focused on why you're there, for example, ‘I’ve been working within the software industry for 5 years now, working as an account executive, and am now ready for my next challenge in a larger, more global company’. Mention where you have been successful in sales and highlight your achievements with specifics. Be brief, genuine and speak your truth. Make it interesting, be present and passionate. Give examples to give substance to who you are why they should hire you.


Why do you want to work for us?

This is when you prove you’ve done your homework. “I love your stance on THIS” or “it would be great to be a part of such an innovative company or “the company’s forward-thinking way of promoting sales is really exciting”. But make sure you can back yourself up. The recruiter might ask you to expand further into this, so make sure you've really done your research!


Can you tell me more about your sales experience?

This is where your interviewer is trying to weed out those who talk the talk from those who walk the walk. They’re looking for proof that you can actually do what your CV says you can do, and your attitude about it. Keep it positive but realistic. Site what you have specifically done to get sales, such as, turn a no into a yes, and why you made the choices you did regarding the companies you worked for. If you don’t have formal sales experience, be up-front about that. Talk about why you’re excited to begin a career in sales, and give examples of what you’ve learned about the sales profession already.


What was a mistake you made? What did you learn from it?

You can take this question as an opportunity to show you learn from your mistakes, and don’t cover them up. Some interviewers will phrase this question as “what is your greatest weakness?” You can answer either the same way. Mention that you made a mistake and share the actions you took to immediately correct it, and what you learned from the experience. Be specific and tell a story. For example, a common mistake salespeople make is talking too much. You can show you learned your lesson by giving a brief, but complete answer to this question with a short example.


Do you have any questions for me?

This is the most important question you will be asked in the interview. Your answer always needs to be “Yes”! You BETTER have a few questions because questioning shows interest. But don’t ask questions for the sake of asking questions. Ask questions on things you are genuinely curious about. We’d recommend going with questions such as “What would be a few things that exceed your expectations?”, “What could a person that works for you do to wow you?” or “Describe your best sales executive and what qualities they possess”. Show the interviewer that you’re ready to leap into the position head first and are willing to go above and beyond.