Tips for interviewing sales staff.

sales executive

Tips for interviewing sales staff.

When interviewing sales staff, hiring managers should look for a combination of essential skills, qualities, and experiences that are crucial for success in sales roles. Here are some key factors that a hiring manager should consider during the interview process:

  1. Sales Experience: One of the first things to assess is the candidate’s experience in sales. Look for candidates who have a track record of success in similar roles or industries. Experience can demonstrate that the candidate understands the sales process, has developed relevant skills, and has achieved results in previous positions.
  2. Communication Skills: Effective communication is paramount in sales. Look for candidates who can articulate their thoughts clearly, actively listen to others, and adapt their communication style to different audiences. Strong verbal and written communication skills are crucial for building relationships with clients and conveying the value of products or services.
  3. Persuasive Abilities: Sales staff must be persuasive and influential to convince potential customers to buy. During the interview, assess the candidate’s ability to build rapport, handle objections, and close deals. Look for evidence of their ability to identify customer needs, tailor their sales approach, and effectively sell products or services.
  4. Customer Focus: Sales professionals need to understand the importance of customer satisfaction and be dedicated to meeting their needs. Evaluate candidates based on their ability to assess customer requirements, provide personalized solutions, and maintain long-term relationships. Look for candidates who show empathy, patience, and a customer-centric mindset.
  5. Resilience and Tenacity: Sales can be challenging and filled with rejection. Assess candidates’ resilience and tenacity by asking about past experiences dealing with difficult clients or overcoming sales obstacles. Look for sales candidates who can maintain motivation, bounce back from setbacks, and stay committed to achieving their goals.
  6. Adaptability and Flexibility: The sales landscape is constantly evolving, so hiring managers should seek candidates who are adaptable and open to change. During the interview, ask about situations where the candidate had to adapt to new strategies, products, or market conditions. Look for individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn, embrace new ideas, and quickly adjust their approach.
  7. Goal Orientation: Successful sales executives are driven by goals and targets. Assess candidates’ goal-setting abilities and their approach to achieving targets. Look for candidates who set ambitious but realistic goals, develop action plans, and show a strong desire to exceed expectations.
  8. Teamwork and Collaboration: While sales can be an individual effort, collaboration within the sales team and other departments is often crucial for success. Evaluate candidates’ ability to work well with others by asking about their past experiences working in teams, handling conflicts, and supporting colleagues. Look for candidates who can effectively collaborate, share knowledge, and contribute to a positive team dynamic.
  9. Problem-Solving Skills: Sales executives often encounter challenges and obstacles that require quick thinking and problem-solving. Assess candidates’ problem-solving skills by asking about situations where they had to think on their feet, handle unexpected customer requests, or overcome objections. Look for candidates who demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, and the ability to find effective solutions.
  10. Integrity and Ethics: Sales staff represents the company and its values. It is important to assess candidates’ integrity and ethical standards during the interview process. Ask about their approach to handling ethical dilemmas, their understanding of compliance requirements, and their commitment to maintaining trust and credibility with clients.

In addition to these factors, consider using behavioral and situational questions during the interview process. These questions prompt candidates to provide specific examples of their past experiences, allowing you to assess their skills and behaviors in real-world situations.

It’s important to remember that hiring managers should also consider the specific needs and requirements of their organization and the sales role being filled. Customizing the interview process to align with these needs will help identify the most suitable candidates for the position.


Dublin Consulting is a leading sales recruitment agency based in Ireland who specialise in recruiting sales staff for a global client base.  We have seen first hand how transformative the impact of hiring the right sales people can be. We recruit sales staff across sectors including Technology, Finance, Life Science and Engineering. If you would like to talk to an experienced recruiter about your plans to expand your sales team then please contact us at: