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Interview Questions while recruiting Sales People

The success of a company lies in its ability to sell itself. A good team of sale personnel can not only succeed in selling the goods and services of the company, but also can turn out to be good brand ambassadors, thus adding significantly to the overall profitability. The interviewer therefore has to be fully alert while selecting sales personnel. Studies reveal that most hiring decisions are made during a span of 4-20 seconds of the initial meeting of the candidate. This has a high rate of failure as these decisions are based mainly on the physical presentation of the individual. The interviewer is therefore to be trained to be more objective and analytical in his decisions leaving no room for personal bias.

The interviewer has to prepare himself with the set of questions he plans to ask which can expose the kind of individual the interviewee is, his skills and aspirations, domain knowledge, personality and much more. The visual impact of the aspirant, his method of dealing with the people, nature, etc must be analysed while conducting the interview. A peep into his background can give an insight into his personal and professional life. The candidate must be asked to reveal the kind of work he has done, the type of customers he has dealt with, his manner of approach and his attitude to the co-workers. His aspirations, creative achievements, what he was and how he succeeded in reaching his present position can help to identify the propelling force of the individual.

The candidate must be asked to reveal his strengths, how he has taken advantage of the same and what he plans to do in future. This question should be followed by his weaknesses which he has identified, the steps he had taken in the past to overcome them, the rate of success of the same and how he plans to conquer them in future.

The questions put forth must be capable of revealing the contenders knowledge of the company and the nature of its business. He should be asked the reason for applying for this particular job in this particular company. He should be quizzed on the skills he considers that he possesses that are advantageous to the company and how he plans to make use of them. The candidate’s willingness to work overtime and how he plans to maintain a balance with the professional and personal life is vital in his selection.

The questions should be capable of revealing the kind of approach that is followed by the candidate in dealing with the customers. The interviewee might be comfortable with telephonic approach than meeting the customer directly face-to-face. The time taken by the individual to go through a complete sales cycle must be enquired. He should be asked of the difficult times he had in dealing with a client and how he succeeded in overcoming them. The aspirant should also be questioned to identify how he deals with difficult clients and how he can pacify them. The questions should reveal the details of a typical sales week and how he plans to sell a product.

The interviewer must identify the method of dealing with the team members, how tough he can be when the situation calls for it, and how involved he is in galvanising the team into action. His attitude towards the team and co-workers is important in the creation of a positive environment.

The meeting should be concluded after enquiring about the reasons for quitting the last job, the reason for opting this company, the probable date of joining and expectations on the remuneration and incentives.

In most companies 80% of the sales is said to come from 20% of the sales force. This is a highly dangerous situation especially in a highly volatile market where the demand for experts is very high. This over dependency can be minimised by the appointment of the right candidate through a critical analysis and objective questioning.

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