A successful sales team can be the driving force behind a business’s success—without quality sales personnel, you’ll forever be stuck in second gear. Sales isn’t easy—it takes creativity, positivity and resilience to keep making deals happen day after day and keep going even when knocked back.
That’s why recruiting for sales positions means assessing an applicant’s character, not just their career history. To do this well, you need to craft great interview questions that don’t just let candidates list buzzwords—they make them prove they have what it takes to succeed.
Finding Sales Talent
When hiring sales people, the first step is making sure they know what they are signing up for. They can’t make the mistake of thinking that working is sales is an ordinary job. Constantly needing to meet quotas—even with lucrative incentives—isn’t for everyone. If a candidate can’t handle failure (or doesn’t have enough drive to succeed) sales won’t be for them.
What’s more, sales positions can vary dramatically, especially between industries. It matters whether a role involves dealing with other businesses or directly targeting consumers, selling over the phone or going door-to-door, playing a small part in a big team with specialized roles or being expected to do it all themselves. Resumes only tell you so much—you need to know whether the candidate is prepared for the challenge of your organization.
Recruiters have to figure out what candidates expect. Are they reliant on the support of others or are they a self-starter? An independent spirit is valuable but you need to make sure that a candidate isn’t so single-minded that they’ll ignore the resources your organization offers.
If you have a large sales team, you can use an interview to identify where a candidate might fit. Are they best suited to network, seek out new opportunities and build relationships or are they ruthless in the final stages of the sales process, instinctively knowing how to close a deal?
Recognizing Character of the Job Candidate
Ultimately, success as a sales person comes down to character and that’s what interview questions need to assess. Does the candidate have the confidence and competitive spirit to succeed? Are they a problem solver who won’t quit even when the going gets tough? And do they have the emotional and communicative soft-skills to present your organization in the best light—and make deals happen.
Finding the perfect package of charisma, tenacity, ambition (and more) might be rare—but companies know they can’t afford to get recruitment wrong too many times. Bad hires don’t just mean missing out on potential deals—they mean high employee turnover, which hurts company culture and the bottom line. You’re not just looking for top talent—you want top talent who’ll stick around for the long term.
Get Sample Interview Questions for Sales Roles
You’ll never really know whether a sales person fits your organization till they’re out in the field—but asking great interview questions is the best chance you have. To help businesses, Paycor is offering sample interview questions for sales roles. While they are ready to be used as they are, you may wish to customize them to suit the specifics of your organization.
Access Sales Interview Questions