As a manager, the onus is on you to build a reputable organization. Before you project sales expectations, its imperative to have the right people to handle the execution. Ideally, the right candidate shouldn’t crumble under pressure, is always objective and positively handles criticism.

Sales Interview Questions

Since these are hard to find qualities, it’s always tricky to find the perfect fit. In a bid to ease the process, we’ve compiled a couple of leading sales interview questions to ease the job. We’re hopeful you’ll be able to meet the right people to steer the company in forward momentum.

Strategy-Oriented Sales Interview Questions

1. Please, can you mind explaining something to me?

Technically, this isn’t really a sales interview question, however, it does reveal a lot about your candidate. Salespersons should be able to show you the ropes on how to navigate various issues that they encounter. This question also allows you to gauge their mental prowess and ability to think on their feet.

A good fit is a candidate who wows you with their delivery without missing a beat. The ability to wove a good yarn is important in ensuring that prospects remain interested in the pitch.

2. How do you handle rejection?

Irrespective of how of good a salesperson is, rejections are bound to happen. By imploring your candidates to reveal how they handle rejection, you can test their wit. Be on the lookout for candidates that seem to have a process of going about rejection.

Often times, inexperienced salespersons find themselves simply winging it. This is not the best approach since it’s largely dependent on the delivery. With a formula in place, it’s easier to assuage customers fears and move onto the next prospect.

3. Are you active on social media?

Social media keeps gaining prominence with each passing day. Candidates who’ve lined up for the salesperson position need to be tech-savvy in this respect. Those who have an active following on various platforms can provide insights on how to penetrate the markets.

At times, some candidates may have strong skills in other business aspects but lack social-media know how. Instead of dismissing these candidates, it’s best to inquire if they have an interest, then, build on that.

4. Once aboard, what are your plans for the first month?

When reviewing sales interview questions, this one reveals much about the attitude of the candidates. Positive-minded individuals usually think up what they can do for the company even before getting the job.

Compared to other strong-willed individuals, self-starters are always able to get the job done. This is because they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.

5. How do you connect with prospects?

This sales interview question will help you gauge the type of qualifying questions salespersons ask. Depending on the task assigned and what they’re selling, expect the answers to be varied. Often times, the qualifying questions reveal much about their instincts and their sales training aptitude.

Circumstantial Sales Interview Questions

1. Can you sell me something?

By asking this sales interview question, you can learn about how much about the candidates’ adaptability. The “something” in question can be anything from a pen to a notebook. The objective here is to evaluate their dexterity and to have a glimpse of how the candidates can light up a room.

2. Can you teach me something?

Most sales pitches center around listing out the benefits of a product or a service. Due to the influx of tech devices in the modern scene, many customers already know about various products. As a manager, you should be on the lookout for salespersons that are able to provide new insights on a subject of interest. If they can stimulate you to think about something, they are likely to convince buyers to come on board.

3. What’s your dream company?

Naturally, many salespersons are budding entrepreneurs at heart. This sales interview question helps you perceive what their dreams and aspirations are. Highly motivated individuals tend to have lofty ambitions. You should therefore not dismiss some of the ideas presented to you as unachievable. Rather, you should look upon such individuals as determined. Those who are able to mesh ambition with presentation definitely deserve the opportunity to take on the sales mantles.

4. What’s the longest losing streak you’ve been on? How did you get back on the mend?

Bad spells happen in real life. They are not a preserve of the fantasy and magical world. This question tests the truthfulness of potential candidates. Those who claim to have never been on the losing side of a bargain are obviously not ideal candidates since they’re holding back information.

On the flip side, those who confess to their shortcomings are better suited for the company. If you have too many instances of confessions, you can further filter out the candidates by a follow-up question. Inquiring about how they were able to get back on their feet enables you to learn a lot about their character.

Often times, those who divulge much about their takeaways are best suited for the organizations. This is because they are more likely to put to practice those lessons once you bring them on board.

5. How do you maintain smiles through the ups and downs?

As a rule of thumb, salespersons need to be jovial. A positive attitude tends to impress upon prospects, thus, it’s essential to learn how the candidates are able to soldier on. Routine practices like counting one to ten to regain composure or saying Whoosah! Are perfectly acceptable. These actions are indicators that the candidates in question take a measured approach before responding to criticism.

Enthusiasm-Based Sales Interview Questions

1. What don’t you like about the sales process?

This sales interview question gives you insights on what tasks the candidates are unlikely to excel at. If it’s something that at the core of the company’s business, then, you shouldn’t bring them aboard. If it happens to be something that can be overlooked, then you shouldn’t hesitate to help them work through the challenges.

2. Could you define the ideal sales manager?

You can learn a great deal about the autonomy of candidates through this question. A good fit for the company is an individual who has closely-knit relations with superiors. At the same time, he/she should be able to overcome hurdles with ease without necessarily calling for help.

3. In your opinion, describe the perfect client?

You should closely listen to the responses provided in order to learn more about their nature. If they describe a specific demographic that relates to the buying process, then they tick all the right boxes. This elaboration is important since it tells you that they are able to study the markets and take cues.

4. What inspires you to keep going?

Motivation is of the essence in the sales process. Things like monetary rewards, happy clientele and personal milestones help many see through various circumstances. While finances account for the majority of inspiration, you should ensure that it’s not the sole response from candidates. You should be on the lookout for those who mention a thing or two about customer satisfaction. These individuals care not just about the lining of their pockets, but also the wellbeing of the firm.

5. What do you regard as the highlight of your life?

As the hiring manager, you want determined individuals on your sales team. People who are willing to fight tooth and nail to see their objectives come to fruition. Candidates who tell narratives of overcoming challenges in pursuit of their ambitions are perfect for such opportunities. This is because they can inject some of their zeal to the workplace and help the company make strides forward.


The highlighted sales interview questions are perfect if you’re seeking competent staff. However, you should keep note that ideal candidates don’t necessarily have to shine through the interview. The most important aspect is to take note of which questions bring them to life. Then, take note if that particular question is a quality you admire the most. Ultimately, it’s the confident candidates that will sweep you off your feet and help you meet your sales objectives.

Last Updated 22nd Jan 2019


Kevin Thomas Tully is a globally-recognized Social Selling and Big Data strategist who employed the principles of Social Selling long before the term entered the popular business vernacular. A Johns Hopkins-trained data scientist, Kevin has applied true buyer intent data, predictive analytics, and data mining to the sales and marketing process for more than a decade to gain a strategic marketplace advantage for leading brands worldwide.

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