5 Interview Questions That Reveal True Sales Talent

When it comes to interviewing for a sales rep position, there’s a pretty good chance that your candidate will come in expecting a series of questions which will try to reveal their skills, experience, and their ability to close deals and deliver results.

That being said, interviews aren’t always just about figuring out whether or not the candidate can actually do their job; most of the time interviews are to determine whether a candidate has the right attitude to integrate successfully into your organization, and can translate those skills into seeking out prospects closing leads.

As Skaled, we like to use a combination of the Who method of interviewing and using probing questions to build a complete profile of each candidate, as well as data-driven hiring practices to help us determine the right SDRs for the job.

How can you make sure that your next sales rep is a sales rockstar? Check out these 5 interview questions that reveal true sales talent:

1. Can you explain our company to me?

This may seem like an easy question, but how a candidate answers it can reveal about how much research they’ve done to prepare for the meeting, but also how adept they are at pitching ideas in a clear and concise way.

Once they’ve answered, ask probing questions to see how well your candidate does their due diligence in order to move a conversation forward. This will give you a clear understanding of how your candidate would turn complex ideas into simple, easy to understand concepts, and will give you better insight into how well they can think on their feet.

2. How do you stay knowledgeable about trends in your target industry or audience?

This question will show you how dedicated your potential hire is to staying in-the-know about emerging trends and data that are driving their target customer’s buying decisions. A strong candidate will be interested in following industry trends and data which are driving buying decisions within their target market and should be eager to learn about new ways that they can expand their knowledge base.

An InsideView study which found that 80% of prospects are active on social media, and there are over 133 million users in the United States on LinkedIn, alone, which means there’s ample opportunity to stay on top of industry trends and understand buying decisions, no matter where they get their news online.

Another thing to look for in this area is how much information they consume about their industry outside of work. You want to hire someone who is passionate about their job 24/7, not just during regular office hours; so ask who they follow on LinkedIn, if they’ve recently attended any sales-related conferences or events, and where they find new and emerging sources of thought leadership within their industry which helps them deliver results and close deals.

This question will help you figure out if you’re hiring a sales rep who is only motivated by one thing (money) or if your potential hire is someone who cares deeply about delivering the best possible results to both their managers and clients.

3. Is meeting your quota every time more important than keeping your customers happy?

Depending on your organization either answer could be the correct one, but if you’re looking for a potential hire who can close leads and form real business relationships with their prospects, then you’re going to want to look for someone demonstrates hunger to win business.

While it’s important to focus on closing leads and meeting quotas, a potential hire should also be focused on delivering a balanced approach.

Clients who don’t feel well taken care of won’t be buying what you have to sell for long, so it’s important to hire reps who will put a focus on understanding what their prospects are looking for, and will put the time and energy into developing long-lasting relationships with their clients.

4. Describe your process to us.

Ask your candidate to walk you through how they manage their day, and ask for specific details about their prospecting, nurturing, and closing process.

These answers will help give you laser-sharp insight into the kind of SDR they’ll be, and whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your sales team and organization.

5. When we talk to your boss at XYZ, how will your boss rate your performance on a scale of 1-10? What was their name?  How do you spell their last name?

It’s true that questions about a candidate’s employment history are probing, but you need to do your due diligence in order to make sure that you’re hiring a real sales rockstar and not someone sketchy who is going to cut corners and act unscrupulously just to meet their quota.

Follow this question up with a few follow-ups which will help you get an even clearer picture of the kind of candidate you’re interviewing. Some things to ask include:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Which accomplishments were you most proud of in your last role?

Understanding why your potential hire is looking for a new job is critical, and can help inform whether or not they’ll be the right fit for your team.

While answering “I never failed to hit my quota” is a perfectly acceptable response for an applicant to give. Ideally they will use this question as an opportunity to demonstrate how something they did had a larger impact within their previous organization.

For example, they could be most proud of setting up a process which had a positive impact on the entire sales team or company. An answer like this one shows that your candidate thinks about how their actions impact not just the sales team, but the organization that they work for.

When it comes to hiring sales talent, you want to make sure that you’re hiring savvy, motivated professionals who will go above and beyond to meet their quotas and keep their clients happy. If you want more help figuring out how to hire the right sales rockstar for your business, download our free ebook Hiring Superior Salespeople.

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