28 Sales Rep Interview Questions Every Company Should Ask

sales rep interviewing

In the competitive world of sales, finding the right candidate can make a significant difference in achieving your company’s goals. As such, conducting an effective interview is crucial. This guide is designed to help hiring managers and recruiters navigate through the interview process with a comprehensive list of questions tailored for sales rep positions. These questions will not only help you understand the candidate’s experience and skills but also provide insights into their personality, work ethic, and potential fit within your team.

Getting to Know the Candidate

  1. What hobbies do you have outside of work? – This question helps break the ice and gives insight into the candidate’s personality and work-life balance.
  2. How would you describe your personality? – Understanding a candidate’s personality can help assess their fit within your team and company culture.
  3. Tell me about a person or event that has impacted you. – This question reveals the candidate’s values and influences.
  4. What’s something you’ve taught yourself recently? – This shows the candidate’s ability to learn independently and their drive for self-improvement.

Work Preferences and Experience

  1. Do you prefer working independently or in a team? – Sales roles can vary significantly in terms of teamwork and autonomy. This question helps understand the candidate’s preferred working style.
  2. What relevant experiences do you have working on sales teams? – Directly addresses the candidate’s background in sales and their role within teams.
  3. Describe the core qualities of your past manager or supervisor that impacted your performance. – Provides insight into the management styles that the candidate responds well to.
  4. Describe your experience with using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. How has it helped you in your sales process? – Understanding of and experience with CRM software is crucial for most sales roles today.
  5. Have you always met your assigned sales quota in past positions? – This question gets to the heart of the candidate’s sales performance history.

Skills and Handling Specific Situations

  1. How do you remain knowledgeable of your target market? – Sales reps need to be experts in their market; this question gauges their commitment to staying informed.
  2. What’s the difference between cross-selling and upselling? – Tests the candidate’s sales knowledge and understanding of sales strategies.
  3. How do you generate, develop, and close sales opportunities? – Provides a comprehensive look at the candidate’s sales process.
  4. What techniques do you use to handle rejection?Rejection is a significant part of sales, and how a candidate handles it can be very telling.
  5. How do you ensure you meet or exceed your sales targets? – This question seeks to understand the candidate’s strategies for success and accountability in sales roles.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

  1. Describe a scenario where you made a mistake and lost a sale. How did you manage the situation? – Everyone makes mistakes; what’s important is how they learn from them.
  2. Tell me about a time that you failed to achieve the goals you set. What went wrong? – This question probes the candidate’s ability to self-assess and learn from failure.
  3. Consider a time when you haven’t gotten along with someone on your team. What would that person say about you? – Assesses the candidate’s interpersonal skills and self-awareness.
  4. How do you handle a situation where a customer is dissatisfied with your product or service? – Critical for understanding how the candidate manages difficult conversations and maintains customer relationships.

Sales Strategies and Techniques

  1. How do you deal with potential customers who are considering another company’s products? – Tests the candidate’s persuasive skills and strategies for dealing with competition.
  2. Sell me this pen. – A classic sales interview question that evaluates the candidate’s ability to sell anything, anytime.
  3. What role can social media play in increasing a company’s sales? – Understanding of modern sales channels and digital marketing strategies.
  4. Have you ever asked potential clients why they didn’t purchase from you? What did you learn? – Shows the candidate’s willingness to seek feedback and learn from rejections.

Motivations and Aspirations

  1. Why are you interested in sales? – This question helps uncover the candidate’s passion for and commitment to the sales profession.
  2. What motivates you more, money or praise? – Understanding what motivates a candidate is key to determining how well they’ll perform under different incentive structures.
  3. What do you consider your most significant sales achievement to date? – Gives the candidate an opportunity to showcase their successes and what they bring to the table.


  1. Are you familiar with this company’s product offerings? – Assesses the candidate’s preparation for the interview and their interest in your company.
  2. What’s your definition of an ideal work environment? – Compatibility with your company’s work environment is crucial for long-term success.
  3. Describe a situation where you received criticism from your manager. How did you respond? – This question is about receptiveness to feedback and the ability to grow from it.

By carefully considering the responses to these questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential fit within your sales team. Remember, the best candidate is not only one who can sell but also one who aligns with your company’s values, culture, and long-term goals.

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