sales job interview

14 Questions to Ask Your Interviewer at a Sales Job Interview

It happens at every sales job interview. Towards the end, the interviewer will turn to you and ask if you have any questions.

This part of the sales job interview isn’t just a formality, and it’s certainly not a chance for you to just coast. The questions portion of the interviewer presents an opportunity for you. Your goal: to establish yourself as a serious sales professional who has the drive and intellectual curiosity to succeed.

Your interviewers will be evaluating your potential—especially your customer engagement skills—during this segment of the sales job interview. To do well, prepare thoughtful questions. Here are some good questions to ask:

1) Can you walk me through the sales process?

By asking for a birds-eye view of the sales process, you’re demonstrating an interest in really understanding how the company sells. The information you gather here can be used to ask more detailed questions about a particular part of the process. You might ask “what roadblocks do you typically experience at this point in the sales cycle?”

2) What does the ramp-up period look like at your company?

By asking specifically about the ramp-up period in the sales job interview, you can show that you’re already thinking about how to succeed in the position. For follow-up questions, ask the interviewer about what sales professionals can do to make the ramp-up period a success. This proves your initiative.

3) How do you segment the market?

Understanding how the company segments the market and assigns territories will help you get a better sense of its larger strategy and operations. You can ask how they define an enterprise account vs. an SMB These questions can serve as a launching pad for additional questions: How are territories assigned? What market segments are you currently focusing on?

4) What are some common characteristics among successful sales representatives at your organization?

You want to demonstrate that you have the potential to be a top performer. And top sales performers learn from observing. By asking this question during the sales job interview, you can demonstrate that you have humility and want to learn from top-performing peers.

As a follow-up, ask if there are opportunities for mentorship or peer observation at the organization.

5) Can you tell me about opportunities for ongoing learning?

This is another question that allows you to show a desire to improve. You might also ask your interviewer for recommendations on books and other learning resources. That demonstrates your willingness to put work in even outside of the formal structures of your training.

6) What metrics are most important for evaluating performance?

It’s helpful to ask about a broad range of metrics that will be used to evaluate your performance—not just quota. Asking this question shows that you’re goal oriented, and understand the importance of data analytics in modern sales.

As a follow-up, ask about the process for evaluating performance and tracking metrics. That shows you’re serious about accountability.

7) What proportion of sales representatives meet/exceed quota?

Like the question on metrics, asking about quota shows that you’re serious about success. It’s also useful information for you when you make a decision on whether or not to accept a job offer. Although a low proportion of representatives meeting quota isn’t always a red flag, it can be.

8) What is the biggest challenge currently facing the sales team?

Every sales team faces challenges, and by asking that you can demonstrate you have a realistic understanding of the sales process. You should also give the interviewer an opportunity to discuss what they’re doing to address the challenges.

Don’t use this question as an opportunity to prescribe solutions. You don’t know enough yet! You’re just gathering information and demonstrating thoughtfulness.

9) What do the best sales representatives do to facilitate a strong relationship with managers?

It’s likely that your interviewer will be in your management chain. You want to show this person that you’re a good team player who values communication. This question can also reveal much about the sales culture, which will help you make an informed decision.

10) What tech stack do you use?

Ask about the CRM, productivity tools, prospecting tools, and any other tools that might be used. This question demonstrates that you see the tech stack as a vital part of the sales process, not just a hoop to jump through.

For good follow-up questions, ask how the tech stack ties into the larger process.

11) What are common career paths for successful sales professionals?

Ambition is always a positive in sales, so you want to show an interest in career advancement. This sends a clear signal that you want to contribute to the company not just now, but for years to come.

12) What does a typical work day look like here?

This question is helpful because it allows you to get a sense of day-to-day life at the company. But beyond that, it reveals a lot about the sales culture at the company and which revenue-generating activities are most critical.

You can use the information you gather here to guide your other questions. For example, you might say, “It sounds like SDRs spend a lot of time cold calling. How much business does that generate?”

13) What are the company’s plans for growth during the next five years?

Ideally, managers want to hire people who will stick with the company for years to come. To show that you’re interested in the company’s long-term growth trajectory, ask about the game plan. This question also helps demonstrate that you think strategically about business. You’re not just a salesperson who focuses on their own deals to the exclusion of larger strategy.

14) How do you structure commission?

(You should only bring this up once you’re already discussing compensation. It’s not a good question to ask during the first stages of the sales job interview process.)

Learning more about commission structure will reveal much about the organization’s values and expectations. A good follow-up question: “How much do your highest earners make?” That demonstrates you’re interested in being at the top, not just somewhere in the middle.

Use the interviewer’s answers to guide other questions. Ask them about new verticals, products, and other plans.

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James Meincke

Senior Marketing Manager @ CloserIQ. Previously Recruiter @ ManpowerGroup & Freelance Social Media Strategist. University of Wisconsin Journalism & Strategic Communication Grad.