(Originally Published April 2015. Updated February 2020.)
As a staffing agency that helps established organizations find culturally aligned talent, TruPath interviews sales managers every day.
The majority of the sales manager interview questions we ask assess how a candidate matches up to a company’s objectives.
During our assessment, we typically look for the answers that align closely with a company’s culture.
But what other sales manager interview questions do companies ask candidates?
Overall, knowing the right questions to ask during your interview process can make the process more efficient. Plus, you can be more proactive in recruiting to avoid costly recruiting mistakes like hiring the wrong candidate.
We decided to ask hiring managers what their favorite sales support interview questions are and why. Here’s the summary.
10 Outstanding Sales Manager Interview Questions
1. What is the one thing you would change about this company’s sales approach?
We love to ask this question to find out how much they’ve thought about our sales process. The answer isn’t that important. What is important is that they’ve researched our process.
Additionally, you can assess how a candidate would approach the necessary change. What perspective do they bring, and how does it benefit the company?
Knowing what factors a candidate considers when improving an existing process can inform you how well they will fit in your company.
2. Teach me something I don’t already know.
Some of the best sales manager interview questions are ones that go outside of the box. This is one brilliant question that is asked by a variety of large companies to understand more about a candidate as a whole.
The candidate is asked some iteration of, “teach me something I don’t already know.” The candidate then has to quickly think of something on the spot to teach that will effectively portray how well they can sell.
This question shows how well a candidate can describe a product to a client. Very often, those clients will be brand new to your service, so having a sales manager who can describe it well is crucial.
3. Tell us 3 likes and 3 dislikes you have at a current or past job.
Do they start their answer with their likes or dislikes? One of the important sales manager qualities is to be positive.
In addition, it can be helpful to know why a candidate liked their job. You can use that knowledge to improve how you make your company more appealing to future candidates.
You can tell a great deal about someone’s workplace personality if they immediately start answering with all of their dislikes, and the list goes way beyond three!
If their dislikes seem petty or personal, it’s a red flag that they may not gel with company culture.
4. What books and blogs are you currently reading?
Another quality of a sales manager is someone who is relentlessly learning.
Learning what someone reads provides you with great insight into their personality, passions, and dreams—and whether they are growing their skill sets to stay up to date on industry trends and sales tactics.
5. What brought you here?
Without a purpose behind the pitch, it’s impossible to lead and inspire a sales team. This question helps identify the journey and their sense of the situation from the get-go.
The gems are usually the ones that answer with a desire to be a part of what you’re doing.
In general, you can use this question to assess a candidate’s soft skills by seeing how well they would work together with your team.
6. How do you predict the company will be different in two years?
We ask candidates interviewing for sales manager positions how they predict the company will be different in two years, and how they see themselves shaping that change.
We want to hire a sales manager who is thinking about ways to help our company grow and evolve every day, not candidates who are comfortable with the status quo.
7. Explain the rationale behind each of your career moves.
When hiring someone for a sales manager role, we always ask them to start with their graduation from college and explain the rationale behind each of their career moves.
Their answer to this question helps me determine if they are a strategic thinker who executes effectively on well-planned goals.
8. What are your 3 biggest accomplishments?
We ask this because the answers are very telling. First, we can see if they consider all of their successes to be professional or if life experiences factor in.
It’s also interesting to see what a person considers an accomplishment—is it a time when they set a big goal and reached it? Is it when they can contribute to a team? When they’ve made a certain amount of money?
9. What are your goals?
We find this question helps understand what motivates a potential hire and sheds light as to whether they would be a good fit. We are a big believer in ‘fit’, and this question goes a long way.
People draw motivation from different sources, and understanding that from the outset is very helpful in building a successful relationship.
10. Tell me what we do in your own words.
This question quickly separates individuals who are committed and passionate about our vision from those who are simply looking for a job.
We find that our best hires have thoroughly researched us, determined the general and specific impact(s) they could have on the organization, and expressed this to us confidently in their first interview.
TruPath helps established organizations find culturally aligned talent.
As a trusted recruitment resource for more than a decade, TruPath has the knowledge and experience to help companies find the talent they need. Contact us today to learn more about how TruPath can help you find culturally aligned talent.