Sales Job Interview Questions & Answers

During a sales job interview, you basically only have one goal, selling yourself to the interviewer or hiring manager. Sales job interviews can be challenging because the interviewer will have certain expectations of you in terms of your persuasion skills.

A stro ng interview preparation will help you to do more than just provide answers to common sales interview questions. It will help you actually demonstrate that you’re an effective salesperson as well.

To show that you’re the right candidate for the sales position, you must be able to back up your skills through clear examples of times you successfully used your sales skills. Furthermore, you need to be able to show that you possess the required skills, abilities, and experience for the position.

Because the interviewer wants to know more about your sales experience, he or she will ask you behavioral interview questions. These are strategic questions that require you to provide the interviewer with real-life work experience. For example, the interviewer might ask you, ‘Walk me through the steps you took to land your most successful sale.

You can use sales interview questions to your advantage by preparing the right way. If you prepare strong answers to questions that you expect based on your research, you will more likely advance to the next interview rounds. Furthermore, a strong preparation allows you to provide concisely and to the point answers that demonstrate your sales skills.

The most effective way to do this is by discussing example situations in which you successfully demonstrated your sales skills required for the job. But how exactly do you do this?

Examples of sales interview questions are:

  1. Tell me about a time you changed an unsatisfied customer into a happy one.
  2. What are your career goals in sales?
  3. Tell me about a time you failed. What did you learn from that experience?
  4. What actions do you take when you don’t know how to help a client?
  5. Where do you get your motivation from?

In this blog, we discuss interview sales interview questions. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Commonly Asked Sales Interview Questions

Below we discuss a couple of commonly asked questions during sales interviews. Furthermore, we discuss what the interviewer is looking for in your answer and give a sample answer.

1. Tell me about yourself

What interviewers want to know:

Interviewers are always interested in your ‘story.’ They want to know more about your present, past, and future. Hiring managers want to hear you discuss your current role, accomplishments, and sales experience.

Also, they want to know how you got to this point in your career in sales and why you’re interested in this specific position at their company. It’s important that you align your skills with the requirements of the position and company.

Sample answer:

‘I grew up in [City] in a family that owns a trading company. As I got older, I used to assist my parents in the business. I always had an interest in the commercial side and helped with structuring marketing campaigns to attract new clients.

After graduating from high school for me, the decision was easy: I would go to Business School at the [University of XYZ]. I chose [University of XYZ] because of the school’s strong academics and strong reputation.

During the summer, I followed an internship at [marketing firm]. That experience, for me, was very valuable to gain a better insight into what I wanted in my career. Holding junior sales positions at [marketing firm] made clear for me that I wanted to get into sales. I’m motivated by the challenge of closing a sale, and a career in sales gives me the opportunity to have a direct impact on helping clients.

After I graduated, I got an offer at [Company XYZ], and I’ve worked there for the last four years as a sales associate. I’m very experienced in developing business plans that cover sales, revenue, and expense controls. I’m currently a team leader, which means that I’m involved in setting individual sales targets and tracking sales goals.

My experience seamlessly matches the requirements of the job description. So that is what got me interested in this particular role, and I feel it’s the right step to take in my career. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to interview for it. Thanks for the invitation and your time to chat with me today.’

2. Are you comfortable with cold calling?

What interviewers want to know:

Depending on what stage you’re at in your career, interviewers might ask you about your experience in cold calling. It’s an essential part of the sales process. This is also the reason why interviewers bring up the topic. They want questions answered, such as:

  • Are you easy to get along with?
  • Can you communicate effectively with different personalities?
  • Are you able to adequately respond to situations that occur during your work?
  • Are you able to adjust to changing work environments?
  • Can you assist your colleagues or team when needed?
  • Are you flexible in your approaches to situations at work?

Sample answer:

‘Definitely! In the first year as a junior sales representative, I cold-called potential clients daily. Even though it can be tough at times, if you research a person or company and use the right communication, this can help make a call successful. In the second year at [XYZ Company], I had great success by using this strategy consistently.’

3. What motivates you?

What interviewers want to know:

Interviewers want to know where you get your energy from as a professional and what drives your success. They want to know what makes you enthusiastic and if this fits with what they can offer you.

Sample answer:

‘I’m very motivated by the challenge of making a deal. Whether it’s selling a product, service, or landing a new client, I thoroughly enjoy the sales process. A well-thought-out strategy that convinces a potential client to use a specific product or service is very satisfying.’

4. What is your short-term career goal?

What interviewers want to know:

Interviewers want to get a better idea of your career goals and ambitions. Furthermore, they want to assess whether or not they align with what the company can offer you. Based on your answers, they get a better understanding of if you’re likely to stick around or if you will be looking for a new challenge in the short term.

Sample answer:

‘My short-term goals are pretty straightforward. I want to further develop and use my communication and project management skills in this job. I’m focused on gaining as much sales experience as I can over the next years to eventually grow into a position that will allow me to continue to use these skills while also managing my own team. I want to achieve these goals by working on different projects with different sales targets.

To be able to manage a sales team effectively, communication is key, and I look forward to taking on small leadership roles, eventually working my way up. This opportunity is the right one for me since it’s the next step in my career that allows me to continue to grow as a sales professional.’

5. Why do you want to work in sales?

What interviewers want to know:

Interviews, in general, can be nerve-wracking. However, sales interviews can be particularly tough because it’s your job to sell. In other words, the interviewer expects you to be able to provide a strong answer since the essential qualification of a salesperson is the ability to persuade others.

Interviewers want to get a better understanding of what motivates you and why you want to work in sales.

Learn more about tough interview questions and how to answer them.

Sample answer:

‘The reason why I chose a career in sales is that I can put my creative thinking abilities and communication skills to use. I’m motivated by the challenge of making a sale, whether it’s selling a product, service, or landing a new client. A well-thought-out strategy that convinces a potential client to use a specific product or service is very satisfying.

The reason why this position particularly appeals to me is that I can use my years of work experience in international sales. Furthermore, your company has an outstanding reputation in consistently providing high-quality products in combination with excellent customer service, which I admire in this competitive market.’

Other Commonly Asked Sales Interview Questions

Below you find a list of commonly asked sales interview questions.

  1. Why did you choose a career in sales?
  2. Tell me about your biggest accomplishments in sales.
  3. Describe a time when you made a mistake. How did you solve it?
  4. Have you ever worked with a manager you didn’t like? Why?
  5. What do you do in your time off work?
  6. Tell me about yourself.
  7. What motivates you?
  8. Tell me more about your career goals and how you want to achieve them.
  9. Why do you want to work for this company?
  10. What are your strengths?
  11. Describe your work ethic.
  12. What are your weaknesses?
  13. How do you deal with stressful situations?

Questions To Ask The Interviewer During A Sales Interview

Below we discuss a couple of smart questions you can ask the interviewer during your job interview. However, make sure that you ask relevant questions about something that has not yet been discussed or something that you could not have found out yourself through research.

Learn more about smart questions to ask the interviewer.

Questions to ask

  1. How do you evaluate success at your company?
  2. Can you tell me more about the qualities that successful salespeople at your company possess?
  3. What is the quota for this job?
  4. What are the most difficult challenges for the sales team in this organization?
  5. How many people are on the sales team?
  6. What does a typical workday look like at this company?
  7. How will the job performance be reviewed?
  8. What are the challenges that someone in this position faces?
  9. How will I be trained?
  10. What is the most important performance expectation in the first year?

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic