“Sell me a pen,” said the interviewer to Mohan. After few seconds Mohan said, “Sir, this is a very nice pen”. But he blanked out after and could say no more.
After the interview was over, Mohan walked out of the room knowing that he had lost his chance. Even though he had attended several job interviews before, he was not prepared for these tricky interview questions.
Sales job interviews can often be deceptively simple, which is why it is important for candidates to stay prepared with answers to any questions that might comes their way.
If you’re looking for a sales job, here are some questions and our suggested answers to them that can help you.
Common Sales Job Interview Questions
- Where did you hear about this position?
Wrong approach: Many candidates make the mistake of saying that they know someone in the organisation.
Right approach: Keep your answer brief and simple by suggesting a source such as a newspaper ad, referral through a friend, social media, etc.
- Are you a fresher or do you have experience?
Wrong approach: Never lie about your experience in the hope that it will impress the interviewer.
Right approach: Be honest about how much experience you have or state that you are a fresher, if that is the case.
Related: 6 ways freshers can impress the interviewer
- Tell me about yourself.
Wrong approach: Don’t repeat the details that are already there on your CV.
Right approach: Focus more on personal qualities such as strengths and skills, rather than on the details of qualifications and work experience.
Talk about things that are likely to hold the interviewer’s attention. Here is an example:
If you are a fresher, you can start by saying something like this, “I’m really energetic and I like to take on challenging tasks. I also believe that I am a good communicator. I was active in theatre during school and college, and that’s what gives me the passion to talk and connect with my audience”.
An experienced salesperson could say something like this: “Working as a sales executive for two years has helped me build confidence and has taught me the importance of customer loyalty. I’ve also got a track record of success.”
- What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Wrong approach: Many candidates make the mistake of simply smiling upon this question, or shrugging their shoulders, or having nothing to say. Don’t say things like “I am short tempered” or “I speak too fast”, either.
Right approach: Take this question as a great opportunity to make your strengths appear like your weaknesses. Say something like, “My biggest weakness is that I never give up on closing a sale” or “I am far too patient with my colleagues” or “My tendency to multitask distracts me sometimes”. You can give specific examples as to how you’re making an effort to strengthen these weaknesses.
- How do you spend your free time?
Wrong approach: Don’t mention hobbies that you may not really be interested in. This question may have several purposes.
The interviewer may be just curious about your personal life without wanting to get into questions that might offend the candidate. S/he may also want to know how you strike a balance between your personal and professional life.
Right approach: You could talk about some common hobbies or activities such as sports, reading, music, gardening, cooking, etc.
- Where do you want to be in five years?
Wrong approach: Most candidates start giving specific time frames or job titles. Candidates often say, “After 10 years, I would like to start my own business of garments”. This shows a lack of interest in the present job they are applying for. You shouldn’t discuss your goals in a fields or industry unrelated to the job you’re applying for.
Right approach: You should talk about what you enjoy, skills that are natural to you, realistic problems or opportunities you’d expect in your chosen field or industry, and what you hope to learn from those experiences.
- Why should we hire you?
Wrong approach: Never say, “I’m the best candidate for the role”. This statement often betrays overconfidence, which is not what the interviewer is looking for.
Right approach: Cite an example that highlights your qualifications and strengths that set you apart.