Hiring a new sales team can be complicated.
Sales Development Representative (SDR) positions are usually among the first positions hiring managers must fill in a growing company. The job of prospecting, fielding, and vetting new clients is generally essential to the lifeline of a company. SDRs (Sales Development Reps) fulfil these roles.
Recruiting SDRs must be done very carefully by sales managers.
After all, SDRs are the first point of contact for potential clients. If you are a sales manager looking to hire your next SDR team, we have created a list of sales interview questions you can reference. This list has the 20 best sales interview questions you can ask before hiring your next SDR.
- 1. Why do you want to work in sales? 3
- 2. What excites you about this position? 3
- 3. Try and sell me this pen 3
- 4. How did you take criticism from your last manager? 4
- 5. What makes you a people person? 4
- 6. How do you deal with rejection? 5
- 7. How would you deal with a difficult lead? 5
- 8. How did you close your biggest sale? 6
- 9. What according to you is the difference between Prospecting & Lead Generation? 6
- 10. Tell me about a time you had to work with a colleague you didn’t get along with. 6
- 11. What would be your ideal workspace? 7
- 12. How about a brief sales pitch of what we sell? 7
- 13. What technical skills do you possess? 8
- 14. What are your thoughts on a specific current event? 8
- 15. Here is a crisis; how would you handle it? 8
- 16. What can you bring to the company? 9
- 17. What sales metrics (KPI’s) are you appraised on at the end of the month? 9
- 18. How would you create a long-lasting relationship with your client? 9
- 19. How could other sales departments help you in this role? 10
- 20. What would you change about this company/product?
The above list of questions can be a starting point for your sales interview with your SDR candidates. You can use this list as a reference and make your sales interview question list.
Let’s understand what these different questions reveal about an interviewee.
1. Why do you want to work in sales?
This is a powerful interview question that can tell you the primary motives for your candidate to apply for the SDR position.
Are they passionate about the nature of sales? Do they enjoy the networking aspect of sales? Or do they chase the thrill of closing a deal? At the end of the day, there is no one right answer. But this question can tell you a lot about the candidates’ outlook on the SDR role.
2. What excites you about this position?
There must be something about the role of a Sales Development Representative that excites your candidate. The goal is to determine what strengths and weaknesses your candidate naturally has.
3. Try and sell me this pen
This question is an age-old sales interview question. The goal isn’t to convincingly sell a pen to you but to establish a baseline of sales skills that are already present in your interviewee.
4. How did you take criticism from your last manager?
This question is essential to ask your interviewee. It allows you to figure out how well your interviewee takes criticism. This question will also determine how well your interviewee shifts their attitude in response to criticism.
5. What makes you a people person?
Being a people person is a prerequisite to becoming a Sales Development Representative. An SDR will have to spend some time dealing with clients, so it is crucial to figure out how they define being a ‘people person.’
6. How do you deal with rejection?
Barbara Elaine Smith once said, “I have stood on a mountain of no’s for one yes.”
Rejection is a huge part of sales. It is challenging to keep up with constant rejection as a person. Despite the SDR’s best efforts, leads may not convert to sales. There is a possibility that this will occur repeatedly. A sales hiring manager needs to determine whether the interviewee can handle the rejection, learn, and move on.
7. How would you deal with a problematic lead?
There will be days when a lead is proving unnecessarily hard to convert. In times like this, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking will come in handy. This question will reveal the level of determination an interviewee has to convert a lead. This question helps understand if the interviewee is prepared to face objections that might come their way.
8. How did you close your biggest sale?
This question could reveal much information if your interviewee held a previous sales role. They may have had an ingenious tactic to convince a lead to turn into a sale. Or there might be a story of persistence and hard work. Whatever it may be, asking this question will tell you a lot about your candidate’s character.
9. What, according to you, is the difference between Prospecting & Lead Generation?
This question can tell you how much your sales candidate has read up on their roles before attending the interview.
This question will reveal the SDR’s familiarity with the company’s sales and managerial procedures. And the work that these departments do.
10. Tell me about a time you had to work with a colleague that you didn’t get along
More often than not, your newly recruited SDR will have to interact with some sales team members. Be it the social media manager, account executives, or others. How well your interviewee works in a team setting is very important. This question will allow you to understand how your sales candidate manages conflict.
11. What would be your ideal workspace?
This sales interview question will allow you to gauge your interviewee’s personality. Are they someone who works better alone? Or do they prefer to work in a team? Do they need a manager to micromanage them? or are they ok being left with the necessary basic instructions? This question will also tell you much about your interviewee’s preferred management style!
12. How about a sales pitch of what we sell?
SDRs need to have in-depth knowledge about the product they sell. If the sales candidate is prepared for the interview, they should be able to give an overview of what products or services your company provides.
13. What technical skills do you possess?
It is a red flag for a candidate to have no technical skills.
This shows they need the drive to develop a skill beyond an initial understanding. Possessing technical skills relevant to the field they are selling to is crucial. This specialised knowledge makes them ready to field questions from the client should they have any about the product.
14. What are your thoughts on a specific current event?
Networking is a huge part of sales.
Your candidate will need to know how to converse in a social setting. To keep the conversation flowing, your candidate must grasp current affairs since it is a popular topic. This question also allows you to figure out how well they can package several issues quickly in a conversation.
15. Here is a crisis; how would you handle it?
Crises are a natural part of sales.
There can be several burning villages, but your candidate must prioritise crucial tasks. Remember to give a specific, relatable event, a crisis your sales team recently handled. You will assess your candidate’s response against what you have already done to resolve the problem. The goal is to see if they can handle the crisis more efficiently.
16. What can you bring to the company?
This purposefully vague and bland question is quite powerful.
This open-ended question allows the candidate to discuss their strengths and weaknesses that might not be on their resume. Based on this answer, you may get to know your candidate’s character, ideals, and values.
17. What sales metrics (KPI’s) are you appraised on at the end of the month?
Being in the sales field means that your work would come with quotas.
An SDR would have quotas to hit weekly or monthly. If your candidate was previously employed in the sales role, ask them about their previous targets, the metrics they were appraised (KPIs), and whether or not your candidate was hitting them. This will reveal much about your candidate’s past and what they consider reasonable quotas.
18. How would you create a long-lasting relationship with your client?
An SDR needs to understand the art of maintaining relationships. The client is significant in the ecosystem of sales. Not only will they ultimately be making the sale, but they could also bring in new clients! This question allows you to see your candidate’s interpersonal skills.
19. How could other sales departments help you in this role?
No one can be a solo rider in the field of sales. Several cogwheels turn perfectly to make the sales world turn. There is the social media manager, the closing team, the lead qualifying team, and so on. Your candidate must know what some of these roles entail. They should be comfortable asking for help from these other departments.
20. What would you change about this company/product?
The answer merely reflects the candidate’s eye for details and an affinity for seeking the truth.
This is one of the most important questions you could ask a candidate. There is no need to consider the answer as an affront to the company’s values and leadership structure. This question allows you to know if they are accurate about the company’s weaknesses. Keep this question towards the end of the interview. It will be easier for your candidate to be candid with you at this point.
Your candidate should be willing to work as an SDR in your company. After all, you should hire a winning sales personality and train them in sales. The 20 interview questions above are enough to judge your candidate adequately. The interview will also let you know about the values the candidate believes in. You want an SDR who can discuss your company’s product without trashing the competition and someone who can reflect the company’s value.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the top five sales interview questions I should ask my SDR candidate?
We have provided a list of 20 questions to ask your SDR candidate. However, if you want to pare down the list to the top five most essential sales interview questions, then they would be:
- Why do you want to work in sales?
- What makes you a people person?
- What sales metrics are you apprised on?
- What can you bring to the company?
- How would you create a long-lasting relationship with your client?
2. What can these interview questions tell me about the candidate?
These interview questions will inform you about the person’s personality and soft skills. It is crucial to gauge a person’s personality before hiring them for the sales role. After all, you hire the character and then train them for the sales role.
3. Who would be the perfect SDR?
A candidate with excellent people skills, networking skills, a sales personality, and a knowledge of the product will be the perfect SDR. They should also know how to build lasting relationships with their clients.
4. What is the importance of technical skills for a Sales Development Role?
The importance of technical skills can not be overstated in an SDR role. The presence of technical skills in a candidate means they have the drive to develop a skill beyond an initial understanding. The presence of technical knowledge will also allow the SDR to field questions from the clients properly.
5. What should be an SDR’s attitude towards the competition?
A candidate’s attitude towards the competition should be objective, unbiased, and non-disparaging. The goal isn’t to trash-mouth the competition but to compare the competition with your company.