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43 Sales Manager Interview Questions

43 Sales Manager Interview Questions

If you’re trying to fill a job order for a sales manager, then you need excellent sales manager interview questions.

When you use the best interview questions for sales managers, you can find the most qualified candidates to send to your client. You can also use the interview questions to help your candidates practice for their interview with your client.

And, if your client wants to learn how to interview a sales manager better, you can send your client a list of potential questions to ask.

Sales manager interview questions

There are thousands of interview questions to ask candidates. How do you know which are the best interview questions for sales manager candidates?

Here are 43 sales manager interview questions to ask.

Behavioral questions

Behavioral interview questions help you learn more about the candidate’s character and reactions in certain situations.

You can ask behavioral questions about many situations to learn about specific reactions.

Communication questions

  1. How do you communicate with people you don’t get along with?
  2. How comfortable are you with public speaking and presenting data?
  3. Think about a time when you had to give a presentation. How did you prepare?
  4. Describe a time when you had to give a presentation without preparation. What did you do?

Questions about conflict

  1. Can you tell me about a time you disagreed with a manager? What did you do?
  2. How do you handle conflicts among your team?

Questions about analytical skills

  1. Can you tell me about a time you had to analyze information? What was your process?
  2. Can you tell me about a time when you used your analytical skills to find a solution to a problem?
  3. Describe a project that demonstrated your analytical skills.

Decision-making questions

  1. What steps do you take before making a decision?
  2. Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an immediate decision? How did you make the decision quickly?
  3. Have you made a decision that was unpopular with your sales team? What did you do?
  4. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made at work?

Questions about experience

These are general experience questions.

  1. What degrees or certifications do you have?
  2. How does your previous education improve your job skills?
  3. What experience do you have?
  4. How have your previous jobs prepared you for this job?
  5. What is your management experience?

Leadership and management questions

These questions will help you better understand the candidate’s management style.

  1. What is your greatest achievement as a manager?
  2. What is the most difficult part of being a manager?
  3. How do you motivate your team?
  4. Describe your management style.
  5. How do you lead a difficult group?
  6. How do you set goals for your team? How do you track the goals? How do you ensure your team meets the goals?
  7. How many people have you been responsible for managing at one time?

Position-specific questions

The following are specific interview questions for sales manager candidates. These questions will go beyond general questions to learn how qualified candidates are for the specific position.

  1. What skills do you think a successful sales rep needs? How do you show those skills? How will you identify those skills in others when adding new reps to the team?
  2. What do you think motivates sales reps the most?
  3. How will you motivate your sales reps?
  4. What motivates you?
  5. How would you coach sales reps under you?
  6. What is the most effective way to train new sales reps?
  7. How closely do you like to work with other sales reps?
  8. What would you say to a sales rep who has repeatedly missed their quotas?
  9. Have you consistently met your sales goals?
  10. What was your most successful sale? Why was it so successful? How did you make the sale?
  11. Tell me about a time when you had to negotiate with a difficult customer to make a sale. What did you do? What was the outcome?
  12. What sales software are you able to use? How quickly could you learn new software?
  13. How do you measure success?
  14. How strong are your data analysis skills?
  15. How would you develop a sales strategy for a new product?
  16. How comfortable are you with making cold calls?
  17. What is the most difficult part of sales for you? How do you get past that?
  18. How often are you willing to travel? How flexible are you?

Tips for interviewing sales managers

When you ask regional sales manager interview questions, take notes about candidates’ responses. Your notes will help you select the right candidates to send to your client. Store the notes in your applicant tracking system for recruiters (ATS). Even if a candidate isn’t a good fit this time, they might be a better fit for a future job order. Your notes in your ATS can help you remember the candidate.


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10 Reasons to use a Retained Search Firm

1. The number one reason: Salary. Most companies use outside retained search firms for hires above $100,000. This shows the potential candidate that they are exclusive about the position and that it is mission critical, as well as important to the well-being of the company. The organization is perceived as a class act.

2. Your company needs a dedicated partner to fill the position within 30-60 days. Many contingency firms will spend just a few hours on your search looking for “low hanging fruit.” If they do not get a hit, they move on. Retained search firms, on the other hand, dedicate all their time to your search for the perfect candidate.

3. You are looking for a specific talent/skill set, or need the “proven” abilities of a market leader.

4. Your company wants an impartial 3rd party to conduct and screen candidates. Retained search firms find you the “best” candidates available not just the best that is readily available on the surface. Retained search companies use proven sourcing methods to uncover qualified candidates.

5. Confidentiality! If publicizing the open position jeopardizes the company or its market share to stockholders, you definitely want to move toward retained firms.

6. Your company would like to benchmark between your internal talent pool and outside candidates. In smaller companies, the successful ones tend to “look” like the CEO. Can a small company operate if everyone has the same skill set? By contrast, companies such as GE eliminate their bottom 1/3 of nonperforming employees yearly. This was the Jack Welch way.

7. Your company needs a professional who will understand your culture and other environmental nuances that may affect the candidate on the search.

8. Your company needs an outside 3rd party to contact, persuade and convince an executive to leave his/her existing position. It has long been considered unethical for a company to call their competitors and attempt to recruit their top employees to leave their employers.

9. Your company wants more than just a superficial search. Retained search firms go about 4 levels deep to uncover the best-qualified candidates.

10. Your company wants to make sure that the potential candidate will know that the position is critical to the success of your company and that they are looking for “the best of the best.” It also shows the candidate that the company obviously is growing and profitable enough to retain such services, creating a level of prestige.

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Why Outplacement is the Right Decision

Job loss is painful for a number of reasons, both for the company as well as the impacted employees. While nothing can take away the pain, outplacement services help ease the situation.

Now, it may seem counter-intuitive for the organization to invest more money in additional services when trying to cut costs, but engaging in Outplacement services offers both a practical approach to individuals and solidifies the moral imperative for the company.

Why outplacement is a good business decision:

  1. Outplacement minimizes the risk of lawsuits and long-term unemployment filed by disgruntled employees. Contribute to their future so they do not look to the past with contempt and bitterness.
  2. Outplacement provides a sense of comfort to the people that are still employed by the organization.
  3. Outplacement can be the difference in a great company reputation and a poor company reputation.
  4. Outplacement directly affects your company’s brand. Outplacement brands the company in a positive light, exhibiting that the company cares about what happens to the people impacted. Do not forget, down the road you will need to recruit quality talent. It will be much easier to recruit if you maintain happy employees, a good brand, and positive W.O.M. (word-of-mouth).

Continue reading Why Outplacement is the Right Decision

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“Road Blocks” to an Effective Job Search

There are seven “Road Blocks” to an effective job search in today’s job market. While the job search process has many different aspects, there is one factor that affects all individuals at some point. In order for an employer to be interested in you, they must identify you as the very best candidate to satisfy an unfilled company need. Each person being interviewed must be viewed as a potential solution to the company’s problems. They need to determine if what they will pay you is right for the level of return they will be receiving from your services. They need to be able to associate your contribution of skill and expertise to the bottom line.

1. The first roadblock is the economics of the search itself. How long does it take to become reemployed? The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that for every $10,000 of income you expect to earn, it will take one month of search time. This is, of course, if you do the entire process yourself. Remember, if you are currently unemployed, the longer you take to become re-employed, the more money you lose overall over the length of your job search.

2. The second roadblock has to do with YOU. The employer’s perception of you, and what you have to offer, is the most important aspect of your entire career search process. In today’s job market, a candidate must have impeccable credentials; their marketing campaign has to be well defined. Your materials must pass the 15 second rule; the time it takes most interviewers to look at your resume and related materials. If they find something that catches their attention, you may get an interview. If they don’t, they simply hit the delete key on their keyboard and you are out of the running. In fact, many of the larger companies are using software that screens resumes and eliminates the ones that don’t have adequate keywords they are seeking.

3. Marketing yourself is the third roadblock. Far too many people feel they are skilled at doing this. They are out of touch with the real market and/or haven’t done this in quite some time. Just because an individual has risen to the top of their current or last employer’s organization, doesn’t mean they know how to get in the door of the next employer. It takes professional assistance to accomplish this task even for the seasoned job seeker.

4. Getting the interview is a fourth critical roadblock to the entire process. It doesn’t matter how terrific one’s resume or cover letter looks or the number and quality of references one has to offer. It all depends on getting in front of the right people and communicating your value proposition. There are so many sources of job leads out there that go nowhere. Only about 25% of the visible job leads are ever available to the average job seeker. The remainder of the job market is only found through other means. Learning how to conduct an effective “back-door interview” is essential to not getting hung up in the gatekeeper’s office. As too many people are finding out, the human resources office is of little assistance to them in seeking interviews.

5. A fifth roadblock is the interview process itself. A successful candidate must learn how to get and keep control of the interview. You must learn how to eliminate the competition while in the interview. The majority of individuals are ill-prepared for the interview, their focus is too loose and their skills are out of shape for the rigors of the process. The only person that can succeed in the interview is the candidate. They cannot lean on their resume, or references to help them. Getting the interview in the first place is a gigantic step, and far too many people drop the ball just when it’s handed to them. Learning how to conduct an effective interview is critical to success.

6. A salary negotiation, along with the settlement of fringe benefits and other related expenses, is the sixth roadblock for individuals. It is estimated that people leave anywhere from 15% to 25% of their potential salary and benefit package on the table when they accept a new position. This can never be recovered through after-employment negotiations. If you don’t get this settled before accepting the position, it’s lost forever. It is very frustrating to take a new position, only to find out sometime later that you will be underpaid for your services when compared to other employees of the same firm or within the industry in general.

7. And finally, the last roadblock has to do with what you do after you have become employed. The follow-through is critical to on-going success in the job. Your career coach can provide you with continued support and assistance as you seek promotions, reviews, relocation requests of your employer, reorganizations, downsizing, etc.

If you need help navigating your career then call us for a free one on one consultation.  Search for over a 1000 jobs postings here!

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“Breaking Up is Hard to Do”

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do”

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you are facing having to lay off employees. Providing a soft landing for departing employees is not only the right thing to do, but is also a strategic business investment with big payoffs.

What are the benefits of investing in outplacement services?

  • Safeguarding your company’s brand and reputation
  • Helping former employees re-employ quicker
  • Attracting future talent and retaining high performers
  • Nurturing and maintaining positive morale among remaining employees


The best outplacement services offer personal, strategic help. Most employees don’t make a career of changing jobs, and are usually ill-prepared and uncomfortable in the process.

Valuable programs begin with developing a strategic transition plan to identify and target future goals. Many employees find the opportunity to dream about their future or explore new fields to be liberating, not terrifying. A program should also provide support with soft skills, such as interviewing and negotiating, as well as hands-on help with writing a career marketing strategy. In addition to personal guidance, outplacement firms should offer the technology to give clients access to online resources like e-Learning and research databases. Employees usually gain access to online seminars, workshops, and coaching for a specified period of time from just a few months up to a year.

Programs for executives should not only provide a deeper level of personal coaching but extras such as an Executive Agent (similar to a “sports agent”) or on-boarding support to help the newly hired executive during the first 100 days in a new position.

Programs for mid-level executives or clerical workers should provide one-on-one meetings with a personal coach. Really good programs allow for building customized programs in alignment with the employee’s unique circumstances.


Building a healthy brand is expensive; safeguarding the brand by providing outplacement services is cost effective. Negative chatter about your company by former employees can’t be controlled; however, by providing a successful transition experience, you can ratchet down the negative comments generated by former employees. Displaced workers are also consumers who influence the purchasing decisions of their friends and family. Instead of creating hundreds of new brand loyalists for your competitor, you can keep these dedicated brand enthusiasts on your side of the aisle.


Employees who choose to engage with outplacement assistance will find themselves back in the workforce quicker, which ultimately helps lower costs.  Keeping an amicable relationship with a former employee will also reduce the risk of future litigation. When they are talking to career consultants, they are generally not talking to lawyers.  The cost of outplacement services is much smaller than the cost of a lawsuit.


Ironically, having a strategy to help departing employees can actually help recruit new ones. With such a cyclical economy, there is a strong correlation between how a company treats its departing employees and its future ability to attract and retain top talent.  Just because an employee has left the building, doesn’t mean he or she will not be an advocate for you in the future. In a recent survey, over 30% of new hires are referred by employees or alumni.  Outplacement, if done correctly, can give your organization a competitive advantage. By engaging with alumni, those positive relationships can boost your recruiting efforts.


Treating transitioning employees with respect, care, honesty, and dignity shapes not only how your customers view your company, but also sends a message to current employees that they too can expect to be valued in the organization. Numerous studies have supported the fact that employees who witness their friends and peers go through quality outplacement services view the company more positively, even if the downsizing circumstances are ugly.  The stories that the newly transitioned are going to tell their friends, family, and your customers are just as important. Happy employees are productive employees after all.  At a time when budgets are tight, it’s tempting to skip outplacement services. If you view outplacement services as a strategic investment, your company will see the benefits years later.

Since 2002, Career Management Associates has been successfully partnering with client companies, executives and individuals in transition. As one of the leading outplacement and career transition firms in the Midwest  and worldwide through our global partners, we differentiate ourselves though our continued commitment to a coach-centered approach and high-touch, customized career transition services that address the unique needs of every organization and employee.

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