hiring sales rep

Top Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales Reps


Once you have sourced sales rep candidates, it’s time to interview them to see if they are a good fit for your company. To ensure the best possible candidate experience for applicants, you should have your interview procedures organized and streamlined before bringing anyone into the office.

A big part of streamlining the hiring process is developing targeted questions for sales interviews before you begin recruiting. Often, you can base these questions directly on your sales representative job description. With a solid list of questions in hand, you can assess peoples’ skills and personalities both objectively and efficiently.

Example Questions You Should Ask a Sales Rep Candidate?

As some of the most experienced sales recruiters around, CulverCareers knows exactly the types of questions you should ask during sales interviews. By following our guidance with interview questions, you can learn whether a candidate has the skills and personality to match your organization.

Skills Assessment Questions

Interviewers utilize skills assessment questions for sales reps to determine if their abilities match those required for the job. In such scenarios, skills are often referred to as “competencies” such as communication, listening, and organization. When using skills assessment questions, you should prompt sales representative candidates to provide examples to back their answers.

Examples of skills assessment questions for sales interviews: 

  • Please tell me about your communication abilities. Can you provide an example of how miscommunication had a negative impact on closing a deal?
  • Do you consider yourself a good listener? Please explain with an example.
  • What is your preferred method of prospecting and why?
  • Can you give an example of how you have used interpersonal skills to get new business or retain a customer?

Please note, skills assessment questions generally vary between industries and specific sales jobs.

Personality & Behavioral Questions 

When you use personality-focused questions, the aim is to learn more about what motivates a sales rep, as well as how they view the world. With a deeper understanding of a candidate’s personality, you can better assess if they will perform well and fit your company culture. Behavioral questions are particularly important for management roles.

Examples of personality and behavioral interview questions for sales reps include:

  • Please tell us a bit about yourself.
  • What are your hobbies and interests? Why are you passionate about them?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • Do you work well under pressure? Please provide an example to back your answer.

For senior sales rep roles, personality-focused questions will often be more directed toward leadership abilities.

Questions About Specific Industry Knowledge

You also need to ask sales rep candidates about their knowledge of your specific industry. For example, if you work in a regulated industry like finance, sales reps need to understand the compliance rules that go along with their jobs. Similarly, software-as-a-service (SAAS) companies generally require salespeople to have some technical knowledge.

Examples of questions used to prove the industry knowledge for sales interviews: 

  • Do you have specific sales training for the product being sold?
  • Have you conducted sales in a regulated industry before? If so, please explain.
  • When dealing with prospective customers for our business, how would you position our offerings over those of our competitors?
  • Quarter 4 is notoriously slow in our industry. Do you have any suggestions to keep revenue coming in during this slow period?

Obviously, industry-specific questions will vary quite dramatically across the board.

Questions on Background & Qualifications 

For sales jobs, qualification questions will focus on how a person’s past career experience will inform their duties at your company. Some of the most important topics to discuss with background questions are sales numbers from past jobs. In some instances, you might want to ask the candidate how they measured up to coworkers in the sales team at past jobs.

Examples of questions about job qualifications often used in sales interviews include:

  • What were your quarterly revenue goals at Company X? Did you regularly meet these objectives?
  • When working at Company Y, how did your sales performance measure up to that of your teammates?
  • Looking at your resume, we see a pretty dramatic drop in sales performance during Quarter 2 of 2021. Can you explain these numbers?
  • What type of CRM software did you use at Company X? What is your impression of this platform?

Please note, if you run into sales representative candidates who are reluctant to share specifics about past job performances, it might be cause for concern.

Why Work with CulverCareers in Hiring Sales Talent?  

Due to the competitive nature of sales recruiting, it’s not easy to find sales representative candidates that fit your business model and company culture. Once you have finally built a winning sales team, you also need to consider how you will keep employees engaged and productive.

When you work with CulverCareers, our team acts as an extension of your HR department. Not only do we offer recruitment services, but we also coach clients with critical tasks like employee retention. A typical recruitment process with CulverCareers includes the following steps:

  • Kick-off meeting
  • Create a targeted pool of candidates
  • Screen & select talent
  • Interview candidates
  • Offer negotiation & hiring
  • Employee onboarding
  • Retention programs
  • Health/wellness programs

At CulverCareers, we have the bandwidth and expertise to turn your company into a talent destination in itself. 

Contact Us today to start recruiting top sales talent!

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Written by

Ty Culver is the Client Development Director of CulverCareers focusing on talent acquisition and workforce solutions with a wide variety of local, national and global clients.

Ty has been working in various aspects of the industry for over 10 years and developed deep expertise in Executive Search, Executive Benefit and Talent Acquisition Programs along the way. He has a range of experience from SMB to Enterprise clients and hyper specific executive searches to high volume recruiting with companies in a dynamic state of flux.

Today, Ty leads a talented team of Talent Acquisition Specialists, Executive Recruiters and Client Success Managers at one of the most respected Recruiting Firms in the Nation, CulverCareers. While leadership is a key aspect of his role, Ty still enjoys working with clients on recruiting strategies, executive benefit solutions and workforce solutions to help clients build a holistic approach to talent acquisition and talent retention.

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