A businessman who is interviewing for a sales role shakes hands with the interviewer.
When interviewing candidates for a sales role, your questions need to be more targeted so you gain a perspective of their sales expertise, problem-solving abilities, and skills. — Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill

When it comes to hiring sales candidates, it's not enough to rely on a candidate's resume and interview skills alone. You need to ask the right questions to assess their sales expertise, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills. Asking smart and targeted questions can help you identify top sales talent and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

If you’re looking for valuable insights into a candidate’s approach to sales and whether they are a good fit for your company, start with these eight interview questions.

What do you know about our company/product/service?

Candidates' knowledge about the company, its products, and services is crucial in assessing their preparedness and interest. After all, hiring the right salesperson starts with finding someone who understands what they’d be selling. Their familiarity with your product/service showcases their commitment to the role and their ability to align their skills with your organization's goals.

What is your sales process?

Asking "What is your sales process?" is a great way to find a candidate who can articulate a clear, concise, and organized process. An interviewer should pay attention to the specifics; the respondent should detail everything from pitching to closing. Additionally, a strong candidate will have a track record of adapting their strategy to meet the individualized needs of their customers and the industry.

[Read more: 4 Forward-Thinking Sales Strategies to Embrace in 2023]

How do you handle rejection?

In the fast-paced and highly competitive world of sales, handling rejection with grace and composure is a crucial skill. The ideal candidate will have a positive attitude toward rejection and demonstrate resilience. They should be able to describe how they use rejection as a learning experience to improve their sales approach and future pitches. Additionally, a good candidate will have effective coping mechanisms and can stay motivated and focused in challenging situations.

Asking smart and targeted questions can help you identify top sales talent and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

When do you decide it’s time to stop pursuing a client?

A candidate sharing how they decide when it’s time to move on from a client can help you understand their judgment and decision-making skills. They should be able to articulate how they assess a prospect's level of interest and the potential to convert them into a customer. They should also be able to describe how they balance persistence with respecting a prospect's boundaries and preferences. Look for a candidate who knows when to move on to other prospects and prioritize their time effectively.

How did you balance customer relationship-building and lead generation in your last role?

According to HubSpot, asking a sales candidate about their ability to balance cultivating customer relationships with seeking out new business is a crucial question. A salesperson who can do this effectively will be better equipped to grow your business and retain customers. Overall, this question provides valuable insight into the candidate's decision-making skills.

[Read more: 4 Smart Strategies That Are Driving Sales in a Slow-Growth Year]

How do you deal with client requests that are outside the scope of what you can deliver?

According to Indeed, asking a sales candidate about how they handle client requests can determine whether the candidate has experience with conflict resolution. This question can be useful in assessing the candidate's level of professionalism and customer service skills.

The interviewer should consider whether the candidate can prioritize transparency and honesty when dealing with clients. The ability to communicate effectively and manage expectations demonstrates a commitment to maintaining positive client relationships.

Have you ever collaborated with a sales team? If so, what insights did you gain?

Asking a sales candidate about their collaboration experience can inform you about their ability to work effectively in a team environment and achieve common goals. This question can reveal a candidate's capacity to adapt to different team dynamics. Moreover, asking what insights the candidate gained can provide a sense of their ability to learn from past experiences and apply those lessons in future collaborations.

How do you keep your knowledge up to date?

In the rapidly evolving sales landscape, it's essential to assess candidates' commitment to continuous learning. Look for candidates who mention reading industry publications, attending seminars or webinars, participating in training programs, and engaging in professional networking. Their proactive approach to staying current demonstrates their dedication to honing their skills and staying ahead of the competition.

[Read more: 5 Inspiring Sales Gurus You Should Follow]

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