50 Questions to Ask in a Sales Interview

Few job categories out there have quite as peculiar demands as those in the broad “sales” category.  Usually, positions tasked with high-pressure pitches and innate abilities to make transactions happen from start to finish, being in the sales industry takes motivation, independence and more than a little hard work.

Not all sales jobs are created equal, however.  Since the category is so broad, to begin with, applicants for an open position can often have a difficult time deciding if a company or role would make a good fit, even if the title seems familiar.  Preparation and research, therefore, are key to identifying whether a specific sales position is right for you. With that in mind, here are 50 Questions to Ask in a Sales Interview:

  1. What motivates the sales personnel at the company?
  2. How would you describe the corporate culture of the company?
  3. What traits make up the most effective sales representatives at the firm?
  4. What is the quota you expect from this individual?
  5. What is the ramp-up time until I will be making sales?
  6. What is an average sales cycle?
  7. Who is the most profitable target market?
  8. Whom within those companies will I be selling to?
  9. What are some common hurdles the sales team currently faces right now?
  10. How involved can a contract negotiation be?
  11. How does your organization position themselves in the market?
  12. What is the industry outlook for the coming years?
  13. What are some of the traits you look for in a sales representative?
  14. What are your competitors currently doing that the firm is not?
  15. Where would you like to see the sales team improve?
  16. Do the representatives use more of a consultative selling style?
  17. How much is an average sale?
  18. Is new business acquisition a priority or would you rather maintain current accounts?
  19. What is a typical day like?
  20. What is the typical sales recruiting process at the company?
  21. Is this an expansion or replacement position?
  22. What type of feedback will I be getting from my manager?
  23. Whom will I be reporting to?
  24. What is the sales manager’s background?
  25. How would you describe the selling style of the manager?
  26. Where do you see this employee being in 1, 3 and 5 years?
  27. How would you describe the company’s vision?
  28. How would you describe the company’s core values?
  29. How would you describe the people at the company?
  30. What do you enjoy about working at the company?
  31. What provides a sales representative with a competitive advantage in your industry?
  32. What was your experience during the sales recruitment process when you first joined?
  33. Will there be formal training or do you prefer this individual to be self-taught?
  34. What advantages does your sales team currently have over the competition?
  35. What is the commission structure like?
  36. What is the on-target expected earnings?
  37. What percentage of sales employees meet their quota?
  38. Are there extra bonuses for greatly exceeding quota?
  39. Is the company currently coming out with any new products or services in the coming future?
  40. How would you describe the current sales force?
  41. What type of marketing does the firm currently engage in?
  42. Is the marketing helpful to the sales representatives?
  43. Do you do in-house marketing recruitment or outsource the job?
  44. How does the company obtain its leads?
  45. What percentage of leads does the company convert?
  46. How would you describe your ideal sales lead?
  47. How competitive is the industry right now?
  48. What innovations are currently happening in the industry?
  49. Will these marketplace changes affect the sales team?
  50. If so, how will the changes affect them?

The Bottom Line re Sales

While you’re interested in finding out more about the position you’re interested in, the interview for a sales position is often as much about selling yourself as it is exploring the position itself. Asking the above questions, or those based off of questions like these, can not only help you gain knowledge, it can also help you appear confident and savvy when it comes to the sales position.  This trait is a huge plus for a potential employer given the need for sales individuals to interact with customers and clients.

Have a question you like asking during a sales interview?  Drop us a line and maybe we’ll add it to the list for our next sales interview questions update.

Article Updated from the Original on April 24, 2018