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Common Questions and Answers
These questions are commonly asked during the interview process. Preparing for these questions and recognizing how to communicate your answers in a fashion that aligns with the person asking the questions will set you up for ultimate success.
1. Tell me about yourself?
Focus on qualities such as strengths and skills that make you well-suited for the position. Include short, relevant examples that highlight those strengths. Remember, when someone is asking questions, they are looking for and listening for your alignment with the position being offered and checking to see if you are able to articulate and align your strengths with the position. If you tell the interviewer about strengths that don’t align with the position, they know you may not be associated to what they are looking for in their ideal candidate.
2. Why did you apply for a position in sales?
Think about what the person asking questions is looking for in their ideal candidate. Prepare for this question by becoming associated to why you enjoy sales and why you feel you are an asset in sales. You may be someone who is motivated by the fact that sales can be lucrative or that you can feel important when dealing with other people in sales, but what are some of the deeper more intimate reasons you are dynamic in sales. Instead of saying “because I can make a lot of money” or “because I’m a people-person.” Instead, you want to evoke more emotion by speaking to a deeper purpose like:
– Sales is the only profession where I can consistently help people fill a need.
– I find sales provides me with the continual opportunity to develop and grow.
– Sales is important in every industry and I find security in knowing that I can always fill that need.
– I believe that a sales professional is the driving force behind any successful company.
3. Tell me about a time where you failed in your career and what you learned from the experience?
This is an incredible opportunity to showcase what you have learned, be vulnerable and ultimately show them you’ve learned from your mistakes. You need to always be prepared to highlight a time where you fell short, how you have grown and have become a better salesperson because of it; remember no one is perfect.
If you say, “I can’t remember a time I’ve failed” OR “I haven’t ever failed,” this shows the interviewer a few things: it could show that you do not take ownership of your mistakes; that you don’t want to look incompetent and are willing to put on a show instead of being real; that you’ve played it safe your in your career and may not be willing to take the risks necessary to be successful in sales.
4. Why did you leave your last job?
Interviewers ask this question for a couple of reasons: to see how you speak about past employees and to understand why you want to join their organization. You want to always speak highly of every experience you’ve had. Speaking negatively about your last job shows immaturity and poor character. Negative experiences always have some aspect that enriched your skills or experiences and you want to make sure to highlight the best aspects while showcasing how this opportunity better suits you and your skill sets.
5. What do you look for in a company culture?
Company culture is a hot topic. Employers want to know that you will fit into their culture. Make sure you know what their core values are before the interview and speak to those. Highlight what you have noticed in their marketing or articles you have read online and take this time to ask questions about their culture. You do not want to come across as if you know what their company is like without taking the time to ask them about their culture, highlighting specific ideals and values that you are aligned with.
To learn more about the 5 Must Have’s of Interviewing Check out NASP’s ProSeries Program titled Interviewing Skills!
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.