Many sales job candidates carry out a lot of research into how they should best answer the questions posed to them by the person interviewing them for a vacant sales role. This is, of course extremely important as it shows the interview panel that you possess the right experience, abilities and communication skills for the role

However, knowing what kinds of questions to ask them in return is just as key. It confirms that you are keen to find out more about the organisation you are potentially joining, plus it gives you an opportunity to display your wider industry knowledge and your enthusiasm about joining the team. Often an interview will finish with the invitation to ask questions and it is wise to have several up your sleeve for when this time comes.

Ideas for candidate questions can be grouped into a number of categories. Enquiries around the culture, working habits, team personalities and daily routines are one key area that helps you get a better idea of the kind of organisation it is. Asking about challenges, targets and ways in which success and failures are measured provides valuable insights into what the employer values most and how it deals with good times and bad. It also gives you the chance to see if the role and organisation are a good fit for you – after all, the process works both ways!

Here are six questions to ask at a job interview as a sales candidate, and what the panel’s answers could reveal about their organisation

  1. What does a typical day look like here?

  2. This is a great way to find out more about what you will be expected to do, how things work and what your early days in the role will look like, should you be successful. It will also tell you whether you will be allowed the freedom to develop your own workload and to what extent your responsibilities will be laid out for you in advance.

  3. Is this a new position within your organisation?

  4. This question helps you work out whether or not the sales team is growing, and how you would fit into the hierarchy. Is the role vacant after someone else left it, and was there a worrying reason for their departure? While the interviewer will not normally divulge this sort of detail, you can sometimes pick up hints from their body language and willingness – or not – to answer this inquiry.

    man with a list of questions to ask at an interview - man interviewing a woman

  5. What sales tasks would I be working on in my first few weeks?

  6. As well as giving you a better idea of what the role entails on a practical level, this question helps you ascertain how organised the employer is and how much planning has gone into the role you are being interviewed for. It may also give you insights into how much work there will be, how large the team is that you might be joining and how widespread your responsibilities within it will be.

  7. What would you say is the best part about working for this organisation?
  8. While you may be wary of asking overtly about money and tangible benefits straight away, probing into why somewhere is a good place to work could be a wise move. Pay attention to how this question is answered and whether the emphasis is put upon financial benefits – salary and bonuses – or whether camaraderie, reputation and employee development are higher up their list of priorities.

  9. What are the organisation’s plans for growth and development?

  10. This is a great way to show that you are keen to progress your career with a forward-thinking employer that is going places and will take you with them. It also reveals a lot about how the team may grow and what your promotion prospects might be, once you have joined the organisation and impressed the bosses with your stellar sales performance.

  11. When can I expect to hear from you?

  12. Questions like this one bring the interview to a decisive close and show that you mean business. As much as you may really want to be offered a position at the organisation, you are showing that your time is also precious and you have a life to get on and lead. This is a confident question that also helps you with your own planning and expectations. If you get a feeble or non-committal answer, this can also often give you valuable insight into how organised your interview panel may be – or otherwise!

Whatever you do, do not ask the following three questions

  1. What does your organisation do? This shows a lack of research and interest that will offend the interview panel.
  2. When can I take my holiday? Wait and see whether you get the job or not before starting to plan things like annual leave and holidays.
  3. When do I get a pay rise? Hopefully, this one is self-explanatory. A skilled salesperson will be able to negotiate their salary once they have been offered the job and have a little more negotiating power!

If you are preparing for a sales job interview, or trying to find sales job interviews, contact SalesNet and see how we can help you.