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Interview questions

Sales Manager

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What is your proudest accomplishment in sales?

How did you choose a career in sales?

Behavioral Questions

  • How would you deal with an extremely busy shift when the business was understaffed?
  • It’s good to know that a Sales Manager is willing to pitch in and work with customers themselves. This question will give you an idea of if they’re willing to do this, as well as an overview of their problem-solving ability. 
  • What would you describe your sales style as?
  • Different products benefit from different types of sales styles, finding out what style a candidate uses is a great way to quickly assess whether they’ll fit into your business.
  • What would a typical day look like in your previous role?
  • This is one of the best questions to ask in a sales interview as it will help give you an understanding of which tasks the candidate has worked most closely with, how they manage their time and how motivated they are.
  • What motivation techniques do you have to help keep a team’s energy levels up?
  • A large part of a Sales Manager role will be helping to motivate and manage their team, as a manager’s energy will often drip down to a team. Knowing this is a skill your candidate has will give you great peace of mind.

Soft Skills

  • How do you form sales techniques for complex or hard-to-sell products?
  • Not all products sell themselves! Knowing your Sales Manager has the persuasion and people skills needed to sell more complex products will ensure they’ve got all areas covered.
  • How would you cope with a customer who was being unruly or causing disturbances in the business?
  • This is one of the most important questions to ask in a sales interview, as it’s essential to know that your candidate can cope with stress and use their communication skills to diffuse a situation.
  • When managing a team and helping them to reach their goals, how do you ensure that you’re paying adequate attention to your own goals too?
  • A vital skill for a Sales Manager to have is the ability to manage their own time, as well as their teams. The answer to this question will ensure they’ve got the organisation and time management skills needed to do this.
  • How would you manage conflict between your team?
  • Occasionally members of your sales team may not see eye to eye, knowing that a Sales Manager can handle this conflict with the least amount of disruption to productivity is critical.
  • What is your usual process for making large strategic decisions?
  • This Sales Manager interview question gives you the opportunity to assess your candidate’s logical thinking skills as well as their decision-making process. 

Hard Skills

  • Describe the KPIs you use to measure a team’s performance.
  • Knowing that your candidate’s performance KPIs are in line with the KPIs your business uses will help you envision how well they will fit into your team, and how their working style matches yours.
  • What skills do you think make a good Sales Manager?
  • This is an opportunity for your candidate to showcase their skills and give you an idea of which working areas they’re most confident in.
  • What experience do you have in hiring team members? 
  • As a Sales Manager, one of your responsibilities is bringing talented individuals into the team. This question will give you an insight into whether this is a skill your candidate already has, and how their hiring process works.
  • What kind of sales targets have you set for teams in your previous roles? How often were these met?
  • Knowing the volume of sales a candidate has overseen will help you assess whether a candidate can cope with your workflow, while the second half of this question will let you know their previous success.
  • What is your experience with data analysis?
  • Having a candidate who is familiar with data analysis will mean they are comfortable using statistics and data to make positive changes in your business.
  • Which points are essential to include in a sales coaching session?
  • This will give you an insight into not only the candidate's management and coaching experience, but their understanding of the sales process overall.

Operational / Situational Questions

  • Describe a time a member of your team was underperforming and what you did to rectify this?
  • From time to time a team member will fall short of their targets, it is a Sales Manager’s job to deal with this professionally. The candidate should mention motivating the team member and working closely with them to improve their performance.
  • Walk me through your worst day in terms of sales performance, what went wrong, and what learnings did you take from this?
  • Bad sales days happen to everyone, it’s important to know that the candidate would take learnings from this and use them to improve future performance.
  • Tell me about a time you took a career development initiative, what was it, and what did you learn?
  • Continuously learning and developing skills is an excellent trait for a Sales Manager to have. This answer will give you an idea of how motivated and passionate about their skills the candidate is.
  • Walk me through a time you have onboarded a new team member.
  • A good onboarding process will help shape a new team member’s time in their role. Getting an insight into their current procedures will help let you know if this is something a candidate has perfected.
  • Have you ever had to let a team member go? Describe this process for me.
  • Unfortunately, letting someone go is something that a Sales Manager may have to do. Knowing they can do this in a professional and level-headed manner will give you great peace of mind.

Best interview questions for a Sales Manager

Sales Manager Interview Questions

A Sales Manager is a master communicator and negotiator in charge of leading a team of sales professionals. They will be responsible for training the team, setting well-thought-out targets and designing rotas to ensure the business is always fully staffed.

As a good Sales Manager will improve the morale and performance of a whole sales team, it’s important that you make the right hiring decision when choosing a candidate. A good step towards doing this is by knowing what questions to ask in a sales interview.

When hiring a Sales Manager, these are the skills you need to look out for:

  • Confident people skills.
  • Proven management experience.
  • Ability to set and manage targets.
  • Ability to coach and mentor a sales team.
  • Experience with designing and setting rotas.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to report profits and revenue.
  • Strong mathematical skills.

Interviewing a Sales Manager

Since a Sales Manager has a direct impact on the performance of a business, it’s important to get your hire right the first time. To help you with this, we’ve designed these guide sales interview questions and answers for you to look over.

These questions are for use early in the interview process, so you can gauge early on whether they will be a good fit for your business.

How to open the job interview 

If you want to get a true overview of the candidate’s personality and experience, it’s essential you put them at ease early in the interview. This can easily be done by asking a few upbeat and positive questions to set a conversational tone.

This opening section doesn’t have to take long, but is worth including as it will have huge benefits later in the interview.

Job Ad Template available

See our Sales Manager Job Ad Template here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What is your proudest accomplishment in sales?

How did you choose a career in sales?

Behavioral Questions

  • How would you deal with an extremely busy shift when the business was understaffed?
  • It’s good to know that a Sales Manager is willing to pitch in and work with customers themselves. This question will give you an idea of if they’re willing to do this, as well as an overview of their problem-solving ability. 
  • What would you describe your sales style as?
  • Different products benefit from different types of sales styles, finding out what style a candidate uses is a great way to quickly assess whether they’ll fit into your business.
  • What would a typical day look like in your previous role?
  • This is one of the best questions to ask in a sales interview as it will help give you an understanding of which tasks the candidate has worked most closely with, how they manage their time and how motivated they are.
  • What motivation techniques do you have to help keep a team’s energy levels up?
  • A large part of a Sales Manager role will be helping to motivate and manage their team, as a manager’s energy will often drip down to a team. Knowing this is a skill your candidate has will give you great peace of mind.

Soft Skills

  • How do you form sales techniques for complex or hard-to-sell products?
  • Not all products sell themselves! Knowing your Sales Manager has the persuasion and people skills needed to sell more complex products will ensure they’ve got all areas covered.
  • How would you cope with a customer who was being unruly or causing disturbances in the business?
  • This is one of the most important questions to ask in a sales interview, as it’s essential to know that your candidate can cope with stress and use their communication skills to diffuse a situation.
  • When managing a team and helping them to reach their goals, how do you ensure that you’re paying adequate attention to your own goals too?
  • A vital skill for a Sales Manager to have is the ability to manage their own time, as well as their teams. The answer to this question will ensure they’ve got the organisation and time management skills needed to do this.
  • How would you manage conflict between your team?
  • Occasionally members of your sales team may not see eye to eye, knowing that a Sales Manager can handle this conflict with the least amount of disruption to productivity is critical.
  • What is your usual process for making large strategic decisions?
  • This Sales Manager interview question gives you the opportunity to assess your candidate’s logical thinking skills as well as their decision-making process. 

Hard Skills

  • Describe the KPIs you use to measure a team’s performance.
  • Knowing that your candidate’s performance KPIs are in line with the KPIs your business uses will help you envision how well they will fit into your team, and how their working style matches yours.
  • What skills do you think make a good Sales Manager?
  • This is an opportunity for your candidate to showcase their skills and give you an idea of which working areas they’re most confident in.
  • What experience do you have in hiring team members? 
  • As a Sales Manager, one of your responsibilities is bringing talented individuals into the team. This question will give you an insight into whether this is a skill your candidate already has, and how their hiring process works.
  • What kind of sales targets have you set for teams in your previous roles? How often were these met?
  • Knowing the volume of sales a candidate has overseen will help you assess whether a candidate can cope with your workflow, while the second half of this question will let you know their previous success.
  • What is your experience with data analysis?
  • Having a candidate who is familiar with data analysis will mean they are comfortable using statistics and data to make positive changes in your business.
  • Which points are essential to include in a sales coaching session?
  • This will give you an insight into not only the candidate's management and coaching experience, but their understanding of the sales process overall.

Operational / Situational Questions

  • Describe a time a member of your team was underperforming and what you did to rectify this?
  • From time to time a team member will fall short of their targets, it is a Sales Manager’s job to deal with this professionally. The candidate should mention motivating the team member and working closely with them to improve their performance.
  • Walk me through your worst day in terms of sales performance, what went wrong, and what learnings did you take from this?
  • Bad sales days happen to everyone, it’s important to know that the candidate would take learnings from this and use them to improve future performance.
  • Tell me about a time you took a career development initiative, what was it, and what did you learn?
  • Continuously learning and developing skills is an excellent trait for a Sales Manager to have. This answer will give you an idea of how motivated and passionate about their skills the candidate is.
  • Walk me through a time you have onboarded a new team member.
  • A good onboarding process will help shape a new team member’s time in their role. Getting an insight into their current procedures will help let you know if this is something a candidate has perfected.
  • Have you ever had to let a team member go? Describe this process for me.
  • Unfortunately, letting someone go is something that a Sales Manager may have to do. Knowing they can do this in a professional and level-headed manner will give you great peace of mind.

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