Top 5 questions you should ask a sales candidate

March 15, 2024 - 3min. read

Identifying the right sales talent goes beyond matching the job requirements. How do you define a standout sales professional? Not just by assessing skills and experience but by understanding a candidate’s unique value and fit within your organization. This can be done by asking the right questions during a sales interview, allowing you to uncover their mindset and ambition. So here are some of the best questions you can ask a sales candidate that will give you a full picture.

1. Where do you add the most value in the sales cycle?

Understanding where a candidate excels within the sales cycle is crucial. It’s not just about finding someone who can close deals. The sales process is nuanced, involving lead generation, nurturing, closing, and even post-sale relationships. By asking this question, you’re looking to discover where they shine – whether it’s identifying prospects, crafting compelling pitches, or fostering lasting client relationships. Their answer will help you gauge their self-awareness and how they might complement or enhance your existing team.

2. What is challenging about your sales job today, and why?

This question highlights the candidate’s ability to assess their performance and the sales landscape critically, and how they perceive and overcome challenges. Obstacles do not deter great salespeople; they know what makes their job tough and find ways to navigate these challenges. Their response will provide insight into their problem-solving skills, resilience, and potential areas for growth or development.

3. Why do clients choose to buy specifically from you?

What you get out of this question goes beyond standard sales techniques to the heart of personal selling style and persuasion (or their personal brand). What makes this salesperson different? Is it their deep product knowledge, empathy, or perhaps an unmatched ability to build relationships? Understanding what sets them apart can give you a clear idea of how they’ll mesh with your company’s culture and sales approach.

4. How do you compare to a sales professional you admire?

Asking candidates to reflect on someone they look up to in their field offers dual insights: it reveals their aspirations and highlights their self-awareness regarding areas of improvement. It’s a conversation about ambition, role models, and the traits they value in their profession. You’re looking for signs of a growth mindset – a willingness to learn, adapt, and evolve.

5. What does your company do and what’s your role within it?

Our favourite question brings everything full circle. This is not just about whether they can eloquently describe their current employer’s mission. It’s about understanding their capacity to internalize and communicate the value proposition of their organization and how they see themselves contributing to it. Their answer will tell you a lot about their alignment with company goals, their team spirit, and their passion for their work.

Of course, these are not the only interview questions you should ask, but each of them serves as a powerful tool in your recruitment process. That process should be designed to uncover the depth of a candidate’s expertise, character, and fit within your tech company. And by focusing on these areas, you ensure a fit not just for the role, but for the continued growth and success of your team and organization.

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