Sales Interviews: What top Sales Recruiters look for

Sales professionals excel at answering rudimentary sales interview questions, such as, “How would you sell this pencil?” or “Which animal best represents you?”. However, these generic sales interview questions tend to yield generic answers and fail to advance your understanding of the candidate’s true capabilities. Instead, genuine behavioral inquiries can offer valuable insights into a sales candidate’s character.

Here are 25 behavior-focused questions designed to uncover the qualities of an exceptional inside sales professional:

  1. Intellectual curiosity: How do you engage customers in discussing their business priorities?
  2. Drive: Can you recount an experience where your sustained energy and effort helped advance a stalled deal?
  3. Writing proficiency: Provide an example of your outbound campaign messaging. How would you structure your email, LinkedIn group follow-up, and Twitter interactions?
  4. Clarity in communication: How do you simplify complex issues for easy comprehension? Could you share an example?
  5. Persuasiveness: How do you assess whether your arguments convince a customer?
  6. Team spirit: How do you foster teamwork and collaboration in your current/previous roles?
  7. Financial acumen: Can you describe an occasion where you successfully implemented a price increase?
  8. Agility: Share an instance where you had to navigate swiftly through a challenge. What was your approach?
  9. Adaptability: Would you prefer an environment where you simultaneously handle multiple dynamic projects or focus on one task until completion?
  10. Concentration: How do you maintain focus amidst multiple distractions, and how can you help others stay focused?
  11. Tenacity: Describe a situation where your perseverance and influence led to achieving a significant goal. What was the outcome?
  12. Stress management: What are your go-to stress relievers? How do you bounce back from stressful situations?
  13. Partnership building: How do you build consensus among all stakeholders involved in a sale?
  14. Analytical proficiency: How do you differentiate between analytical and creative problem-solving approaches? Which one do you tend to favor?
  15. Coachability: What types of coaching have you received previously, and what were the outcomes?
  16. Competitive spirit: Share an instance where you outperformed competitors to secure a job or a deal. How did you achieve this advantage?
  17. Navigation skills: How do you approach gatekeepers to gain access to busy decision-makers?
  18. Teamwork: What, according to you, constitutes a good team player? Do you consider yourself one? How do you handle those who aren’t?
  19. Digital influence: What is your strategy for engaging influencers with high social clout? How do you plan your digital engagement?
  20. Customer-centric approach: How do you maintain connections with customers who prefer minimal interaction or consider phone calls intrusive?
  21. Respect for hierarchy: How do you adapt your sales pitch for different audiences?
  22. Tool proficiency: Which tool has significantly enhanced your work efficiency or effectiveness?
  23. Marketing savviness: To what extent are you knowledgeable about marketing? When do you typically employ marketing strategies in your work?
  24. Trustworthiness: How do you build and maintain trust with your customers?
  25. Winning mindset: When losing isn’t an option, how do you stay focused and devise a strategy that benefits all parties?

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What Recruiters Look for in behavioral-focused sales interview questions

When recruiters pose these 25 behavioral-focused questions, they want to understand specific traits, skills, and characteristics that indicate a candidate’s potential success in the sales role. Here’s what recruiters are generally seeking in response to these questions:

  1. Intellectual curiosity: Recruiters look for candidates who are actively interested in their customers’ needs, indicating an ability to develop customer-focused solutions.
  2. Drive: Candidates who exhibit persistence and long-term commitment in challenging situations are often more likely to succeed in sales, which can be demanding.
  3. Writing proficiency: Excellent written communication skills are essential in sales, particularly in a digital age where many interactions occur online.
  4. Clarity in communication: Candidates who can distill complex information into simple, understandable terms demonstrate strong communication skills – a critical asset in sales.
  5. Persuasiveness: The ability to influence and convince customers is a core competency in sales, indicating a candidate’s potential to close deals.
  6. Team spirit: Collaboration is crucial in any role. Recruiters look for candidates who can work effectively and contribute to a positive team dynamic.
  7. Financial acumen: Sales roles often involve discussions around pricing and negotiating deals, so understanding financial concepts is essential.
  8. Agility: In the fast-paced world of sales, being adaptable and able to think on your feet is valuable.
  9. Adaptability: This question assesses a candidate’s ability to multitask and adapt to various working environments – key traits in a dynamic field like sales.
  10. Concentration: The ability to stay focused, even in busy or disruptive environments, is valuable in any sales professional.
  11. Tenacity: Persistence and resilience indicate a candidate’s ability to overcome challenges and achieve sales targets.
  12. Stress management: Sales can be stressful. Candidates who manage stress effectively will likely be more resilient and successful.

Need help to prepare for your next interview? Contact us today.