How To Prepare For A Sales Job Interview
Having a company express interest in you is great, but the last thing you want is to blow it at the interview stage. A little prep work on your part will help you ace your interview. If nothing else, having done your homework ahead of time will make you feel more confidentwhich is absolutely vital to any sales situation. And if you’re interviewing for a job, that’s a sales situation.
What Was It Like Working For Your Manager
What They Want to Know: This question isnt a query for information so much as it is a test of how you will respond when talking about working with difficult managers. Avoid criticism of former managers at all coststhe employer is trying to ascertain if you will be a congenial team leader, so keep your answer upbeat.
What Are You Most Proud Of
This question lets the interviewer know what you value about your past experiences. Its an opportunity to speak about accomplishments. Practice answering this in a brief and meaningful way before the interview, so that you give an answer that is meaningful.
I most value my 5 years at XYZ company because it gave me a solid successful sales foundation.
OR, you can make it more personal like this:
I am most proud of helping my brother get through college because our parents couldnt afford to pay for it, and it completely changed his future for the better.
Im most proud of my work on the board of ABC foundation because of the impact we have had on funding life-changing programs.
< h3id=s15> 15. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Hiring managers want to learn your definition of good advice, and hear how you applied that advice to your life and work.
How to answer:
One candidate in an interview for a national advertising sales position said that her father gave her the best advice. He told her There is always money for a great idea.
She told me that keeping that in mind has made her a lot of money selling advertising campaigns and concepts.
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Tell Me About A Time Conflict Arose Among A Team You Managed How Did You Handle The Situation
Although not ideal, conflict among team members happens. When it does, managers are often tasked with helping diffuse the situation. This question is designed to help you understand the candidates conflict resolution style.
Though the nuts and bolts of conflict resolution can vary depending on the situation, ideally you want a candidate who is willing to hear both sides of a situation and can facilitate a fair solution.
What Do You Consider Your Most Significant Sales Achievement To Date
Heres your opportunity to make a big impression. Take it.
People remember richly detailed stories of success. When fleshing out your crowning achievement, talk about the time, the specific situation or problem, the people involved, the steps you took to achieve the end result, and what happened afterwards. Everyone loves a good sales story, so the more you can amp up the drama, the better.
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How Do You Build And Maintain Professional Relationships
The aim of this question is to assess the candidate’s interpersonal skills and ability to retain customers. What to look for in an answer:
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to retain customers
- Understanding of the importance of professional relationships
“I build and maintain professional relationships by keeping an open line of communication. I make myself available to customers by giving them my phone number and email, so they can reach out to me anytime. I also ask customers their preference for daily, weekly or monthly calls/updates. Based on their preference, I will set up meetings with my clients to talk about their account, answer any questions, and just build a stronger relationship.”
Share An Example Of A Sales Deal That Failed What Did You Learn From That Experience
In sales, you need to constantly grow. The interviewer wants to see if you are willing to make the necessary changes for growth. So paint a positive picture by showing that you are willing to learn from your mistake
Once I and my colleague pursued the same deal as it was a very big account. The prospect got frustrated with constant calls and emails with the same information and we ultimately lost the deal. That experience taught me that it is necessary to work as one unified sales team or else the company will suffer due to internal conflicts. After that experience, I started coordinating more with my colleagues and tried to maintain transparency to ensure we dont step on each shoe.
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What Are Your Weaknesses
Another tricky one. The purpose of this question is to see how you view and evaluate yourself.
One the one hand, if you suggest you dont have any weaknesses, your interviewer will almost certainly see you as a lair, egotistical, or both.
Dont fall into the trap of trying to present a positive skill in disguise as a weakness, like I work too hard or I am a perfectionist. Any experienced interviewer will see through this in a heartbeat.
Additionally, revealing that Im not really a morning person and have been known to come in late raises immediate and obvious red flags.
The trick here is to respond realistically by mentioning a small, work related weakness and what you are doing or have done to overcome it.
Consider How To Convey Them In A Concrete Measurable Way
One way to communicate your achievements is by attaching numbers to them. By using concrete details, you’re up-leveling the quality of your communication, backing up your assertions with “proof,” appealing to the logic of the interviewer, and challenging them to imagine themselves in the numbers.
Instead of saying, “ I have experience in cold calling,” you’d say, “At my last company, I’d make X cold calls per hour and successfully convert around X% of them into warm leads.“
Instead of saying, “I’m skilled at fundraising,” you’d say, “I fundraised X dollars last year for the .“
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What Type Of Work Environment Do You Like Most To Do Your Best Work
This one is just as valuable for you selecting the right workplace, as it is for the recruiter, selecting the right candidate. Do your own due diligence on this one as well.
How to answer:
Do your research on the work environment in the place youre applying to work. Then, before you answer, ask the interviewer about the work environment in their office. That way, you can tailor your answer, by pointing out what elements of their work environment will work for you, specifically.
For example, you can ask yourself: are you OK being in close quarters on the phone teleselling, or are you best independent, and love field sales work?
Tips To Succeed In Your Next Sales Interview
Once you have polished your resume and crafted the perfect cover letter, its time to focus on your interview. Preparing for your sales interview can help you make a solid first impression on your hiring manager. In this article, we provide an overview of how to prepare for your sales interview so you can convey your qualifications and determine whether the job is right for you.
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Youre Ready For Your Sales Job Interview
If you followed the steps above, you now know how to prepare for a sales job interview, and youll be much better prepared than the average job seeker!
Many job seekers feel blindsided by some of the tough questions they hear in a sales interview, but if you study the questions and sales interview tips above, you will be ready.
Dont forget to practice your answers at home, too, though. Thats my final tip for preparing for your sales interview.
Nothing comes out perfect the first time, so practice the questions we looked at. You can talk in the mirror, record yourself on your smart phone and play it back, etc.
And if theres one final thing I want to stress/repeat to you, its this: Prepare to talk a LOT about why you want to work in sales or why you enjoy working in sales.
Most companies have their own sales training methods, their own scripts for emailing and calling, etc. So theyll teach you the how. But they need to make sure youre motivated and that you know what youre getting into .
Youre not going to pass your sales interview if you act like you expect sales to be easy. Show them you know it comes with mental challenges. When things get tough, they want to make sure youll stick around so acknowledge that you know this and expect it!
If you have a question about any of the above tips for preparing for a sales interview, leave a comment below!
How To Practice For In
The recruiting process has become far more impersonal because of HireVue and other pre-recorded interview technology.
To prepare for these interviews, you should practice by recording yourself under similar conditions:
- Queue up 4-5 randomized questions.
- Give yourself 30 seconds to prepare an answer for each one.
- And then give yourself 2-3 minutes to record an answer.
It will be uncomfortable to watch yourself, but youll need to do it if you want to improve.
Take a look at all the potential mistakes in our HireVue interview guide and watch for each one as you review the footage.
If you want to practice the market, math, and product questions, you should find older students who have won offers and ask them for a few mock interviews.
But Ill be honest: your time is better spent developing your trade ideas, learning a specific product, and making sure you know the markets very well.
Since sales & trading interviews often turn into detailed discussions about products or trade ideas, mock interviews only help so much.
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Given These Three Terms: Promotion Money And Recognition Put Them In Their Order Of Importance
The interviewer wants to know what you will prioritize among these three.
Tip #1: State the appropriate order based on your reasoning
Tip #2: Demonstrate that you understand what should be prioritised
Money, then recognition, and lastly, promotion. This is because if I can maximize profits for the company and satisfy customers, recognition and promotion will follow.
Defining Implementing Sales Plans
Like it or not, implementing processes and regularly planning are both essential to maintaining a successful business model as your sales team grows and the company scales over time.
Heres an example. When Steli first ran his own sales team, he was admittedly a pretty lousy sales manager. Hes always been a talented salesperson himself, but when it came to translating that skill and teaching others, he often fell short. It wasnt until finding his first sales coach that something began to change in his workflow management.
As a sales manager, Steli learned that it was more important to have everybody do a really good job than to just have a couple of sales rockstars out blazing their own trail while everyone else falls behind and underperforms. He realized that his sales reps were failing only because they couldnt replicate what he was personally doingbecause what he did was unique to him.
Having an easy-to-follow sales plan, packed with process documentation, scripts, templates, and ongoing training ensures your team members are all on the same level, makes sure your team performs consistently .
No matter how hard you hope, wish or pray, a sales plan will never be one of those set it and forget it organizational documents. A sales plan is a living instrument thats actively shaped in real-time as your organization grows, changes and most importantly learns.
Want to see a sales plan in action? Grab your free sales plan cheat sheet right here.
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Tailor Your Qualifications For The Role
When practicing your responses to questions about your experiences and skills, always try to align them with the requirements of the job. Employers want to know that you have certain capabilities, but they will be even more impressed if you can demonstrate how you would use them to support their business goals.
How Would You Train A Newly Recruited Sales Rep
An integral part of a sales managers duty is to train and coach a newly recruited sales rep. The goal of your training strategy is to build a powerful team of adept sales reps. Not only should they have in-depth knowledge of the products, but they should be well-versed with the tools you use as a part of the sales process, as well.
As their manager, you need to ensure that the sales reps are provided with the support and guidance they need to give optimum performance. Most importantly, it is your duty to acquaint reps with the team members as well as other teams. The idea is to foster an environment where sales reps can actually benefit from the training.
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If You Were To Hire A Sales Rep What Qualities Will You Look For In Them
With this question, the interviewers want to know the kind of team you visualize as a leader. What qualities do you look for in a sales rep? This tells interviewers what kind of attributes you value in a sales professional. Apart from that, the question is also used to assess a candidates talent acquisition skills.
Highlight relevant skills and attributes youd look for in a sales rep to make a good sales team. Dont forget to add the sore points youd watch out for. This shows how you practice due diligence in making important decisions.
Curveball Questions: The Ones Theyre Probably Not Prepared For
Salespeople are well-versed in giving answers they know you want to hear. Why not add these six questions to dig a little deeper into their motivations and experienceand potentially catch them off-guard?
1. What core values should every salesperson possess?
The answer to this question will help you see how they truly feel about a career in sales, as well as how they think they fit into that role.
2.What is your ultimate career aspiration?
They wont be in this role and your company forever. How does it play into their long-term plan? Do they believe it will make a difference in their career, or is it just a job to keep them busy and pay the bills until something better comes?
3.How do you keep a smile on your face during a hard day?
Theres no way to rehearse an answer to this question. Its quite a personal question when you think about it it has a lot to do with their personality and the internal drive to make the most of every situation.
4.How would you explain our product or service in a single sentence?
This is a variation on the earlier question asking for a description of your company, but in a more condensed way, indicating how well what theyve seen and heard so far has been understood.
5. Tell me a team disagreement youve had. How did the team resolve the issue? What part did you play?
6.Have you ever asked a prospect you lost why they chose not to buy? What did you take away from that experience?
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Would You Buy It
Before interviewing for a sales job, always ask yourself if you would buy the product or service. In sales, just as in life, you can’t sell something that you don’t believe in. Also, never take a sales job if you don’t have confidence in the marketing department or the current marketing structure and tools. A poorly written, poorly programmed website makes for a hard sell, especially if your competitors have new ones.
Bonus: Preparing For A Sales Manager Interview
Once youre ready to start interviewing for sales manager roles, start by outlining answers to these common sales manager interview questions, and be sure to come to the table with ample case studies to back yourself up:
- How many employees have you been responsible for managing at previous roles?
- Why do you want to be a sales manager here?
- Pretend I’m a sales rep who has missed their sales quota three months in a row. What would you say? How do you typically deal with under-performers?
- What do you do when a top salesperson is bored and wants more responsibility?
- What do you feel motivates sales reps the most? What made you successful as a sales rep?
- How will your processes inform how you manage your team?
- How important is money to you?
- How often should you meet individually with your sales reps? What do you think makes for a successful rep coaching session?
- What do you like and dislike about our sales process?
- What training method is most effective for new reps?
- How would you explain what does to a person unfamiliar with what we do?
Dont forget, this is still a sales-related role. After each sales manager interview, follow up and continue providing value until you get a definitive answer either way.
At the end of the day, making the jump from sales rep to sales manager doesnt need to be an insurmountable challenge.
Start by identifying the right opportunities where you can put your domain expertise to work, showcase your ability to be an effective leader and team builder.