Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Common interview questions for sales jobs

If you've been to at least a couple of interviews then you know by now that there are standard questions that you should be aware are coming and have an idea how to answer them. I'm not suggesting that you rehearse them but you should not be caught completely off guard. Here are a sample few:

  • Tell me about yourself. Most people have a hard time with this one. Start with some broad descriptions of yourself but it's safe to ask the sales recruiter if they would like to hear about you personally or professionally . If they want to know about your personally, you can speak of your proudest moment personally. You do not need to get into your family life. As sales recruiters, we're not allowed to ask you those kinds of questions.

  • What are your strengths? Be prepared to back up these strengths with evidence that shows these traits. Please take the time to consider your answer. Don't just throw out the standard answers. Be different and offer up examples from situations and perhaps other people's comments on your strengths. How do they relate to being a good sales person or sales manager.

  • What are your points that need improvement? I suggest that you focus this answer on sales. If patience is an issue, I hope that you have been working on it and can elaborate your efforts. I met a candidate who told me that English was her weakness and in the past and she attended university in English to conquer that weakness. Today she is perfectly bilingual. This was a big risk to take so bravo to her.

  • Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of. Here is an opportunity to tell a brief story with an introduction, body and a conclusion. Talk about the challenge, how you worked around or solved the challenge and what you learned from it. Keep it brief and try not to use industry specific terms that your sales recruiter or customer might not know. You might lose your sales recruiter. This is your opportunity to show your sales skills.

  • What qualities are needed for a top producing sales rep or sales manager? Keep in mind that you may have answered the question about your strengths. Do your strengths match the answer you are about to give? Take time to reflect on the answer before answering. Are the qualities different from one industry to another? Of course they are. If you know the industry for which you are interviewing, it's a good idea to do some research and answer according to the industry and position.

  • Why do you want to leave your present sales position? Be honest. There is no wrong answer. Do not put your employer down, do not name names and do not be negative. There is always a way to put a positive spin on the search for a new sales position.

There are many other questions but I wanted to highlight a few today.

Another word of caution, do not bring up salary,vacation and benefits during your first interview with the employer. It is however customary to ask the sales recruiter.

Be positive, be enthusiastic, smile, look the interviewer in the eye and close for something. You are in sales after all. Ask about the next step and the timing.

The interview with the sales recruiter is no less important than that of the customer. Dress for success and do not be overly familiar immediately.

Good selling



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Frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Automotive Recruitment Agency said...

Particularly in sales interviews, we have also seen job applicants asked about common sales objections and how they handle them.

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