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Five Sales Interview Questions Your Company Should Ask Itself

Oakstone International Executive Search sales interview questions your company should ask itself

You’re hiring a new sales team. And you need killer interview questions to separate the alpha target-smashers from the expensive mistakes.

But don’t start dreaming up tough interview questions until you can answer a few yourself…

1. Why You? Why Will They Work For You?

Ouch. That question is at best disarming and at worst brutal – but no less valid.

Why you?

After all, these are not applicants from a run of the mill agency. They are top drawer frontrunners from a very strong shortlist.

You’re not hiring burger-flippers. You’re trying to attract sales heavyhitters with a proven track record. ATMs on legs.

And it’s not a one-way street. They’re not the only ones with something to prove – your company has to make the grade in their eyes.

After all, you’re the one looking. Usually you will have approached them. Not vice versa. So they expect you to demonstrate why your company should be their next career move.

That may ruffle a few tail feathers but that’s the reality.

2. What Makes Your Company Culture Attractive?

Think you can skip this question if you successfully answered the last one?

Bad news – you can’t.

Hosing money at your prospective new deal-closers is not enough. Your company’s culture will be absolutely pivotal in securing their sign-up.

How (and why) you do what you do. The way you do it. Why it works. Why your culture and ethos stand above over those of your rivals.

Why you’re a thought leader, a visionary in your industry. Why someone would want to take that epic journey with you.

In short, you have to get your act together. You have to impress these people. They are not mere applicants.

There is no ‘us and them’. You’re not just hiring anyone. You’re trying to attract and close genuinely experienced and successful salespeople.

Hunters who close for a living.

Even the most experienced in-house recruitment managers, hiring managers and CxOs can sometimes forget this.

3. How Strong Are Your Competitors? How Do You Beat Them?

And can your infrastructure cope?

Your aspiring new sales star/czar needs to know that your products and services are good enough to earn them mountains of commission.

And that your delivery systems can cope with the sudden surges in demand that you and they are planning to create.

You probably get hit with questions about the team…

Here’s one scenario: 90 per cent of German sales executives will not take the job if they are not guaranteed a German-speaking pre-sales wingman.

They consider it unacceptable that their sales success should depend on a US pre-sales colleague who:

  • doesn’t speak German

  • has to fly out from the UK or the States.

It’s a deal-breaker…in every sense of the word. So assurances about the team on the ground are essential.

4. Who Will Be This Candidate’s Mentor?

People don’t need managers. They need leaders.

They need heroes who inspire them and get the best out of them – no matter high up the tree they are.

Senior roles demand superb mentors.

So make sure you can be one or assign one who will match and surpass expectations.

5. What Is Your Interview Process?

Even the largest global players can sometimes fall foul of this seemingly obvious consideration.

In their hectic daily schedules, they somehow forget that multiple interviews should be planned and executed with meticulous and seamless precision.

Or they will lose the great candidates they have thus far attracted – along with their hard-earned company credibility.

Your Turn To Ask Questions

All of the above tells you we’re not afraid to ask challenging questions.

The ones you need to hear. Questions that 20 years of experience have taught us to ask.