Interview Question Guide

Sales Specialist

Sales Specialists (or Sales Representatives) are primarily responsible for closing deals with qualified leads that are generated by a company’s lead generation strategies. Once qualified leads are in the pipeline, Sales Specialists follow up with them, schedule and run demos, and close deals to achieve predetermined sales goals and generate profit for the business. Doing so requires them to have an in-depth understanding of company products/services, provide remarkable experiences to qualified leads, and effectively manage objections from potential customers to close deals.

Core skills for Sales Specialists


Active Listening




Sales Closing


Objection Handling


Customer Relationship Management



How to effectively interview Sales Specialists

While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as a Sales Specialist in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in a Sales Specialist role will go a long way in helping you decide. 

But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions? 

The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates. 

At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Sales Specialist role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral, situational, and work sample questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created a Sales Specialist Interview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process. 

Example interview questions to ask

Question 1

From your past experience, can you describe how you have handled working with customers with difficult or challenging personalities?

Answer Tips

  • Communicates the importance of adapting their approach to customers' personalities
  • Treats all with customers with respect and empathy regardless of personality 
  • Highlights customer difficulties they've encountered and overcome in the past 
  • Seeks ways to ensure they fully understood customers needs to determine fit despite personality
  • Seeks diverse customers and advocates for a diverse customer base

Question 2

Imagine I am a CEO of a rapidly growing start-up and am on the fence after an initial meeting. How would you go about closing the sales deal after the initial discussion?

Answer Tips

  • Acknowledges the importance of timely communication and follow-up to gain commitment
  • Knows the process of prospecting, connecting, evaluating, presenting and closing
  • Explains how they would tailor the sales process to the customer's needs
  • Shows they can handle objections or hesitations skillfully
  • Shares learnings from past experience about closing deals effectively

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