JobsInNH.com has been serving the New Hampshire market for over 10 years, so we are in a unique position to monitor and report on the employment trends within the state.
We recently identified a few key trends based on jobs posted, searches performed by job seekers and other key metrics across a wide range of national and local job sites. Taken together they offer a unique perspective into the key trends for employment in New Hampshire.
A significant finding was that one of the top job titles in the state of New Hampshire is Sales Associate. To help prepare New Hampshire's workforce prepare for a Sales Associate job interview, we've collected 10 great interview questions and answers.
1. Tell me about your previous work experience as a sales associate.
What they're looking for: A candidate who not only has experience in sales, but someone with positive things to share about their previous work experiences.
How to answer: Provide a brief history of your previous work experience and how it pertains to sales. Even if your official job title didn't contain the word "Sales," know how your prior responsibilities would help prepare you to excel in a sales-focused role.
2. Tell me about the products or services you've previously sold.
What they're looking for: A candidate who can sell the products or services they've previously sold.
How to answer: Sell them! Give the 15-second pitch of the product or service you've sold in the past, and help the interviewer understand how their life would be better with your product.
3. How do you respond when a customer asks you a question that you don't know how to answer?
What they're looking for: A candidate who doesn't make false promises.
How to answer: Be prepared to share a scenario of a time when you didn't know the answer to a question in a sales meeting. What did you do? Did you tell the customer that you didn't know the answer and that you would follow up with a solution? Be sure to communicate that prior to a sales meeting you've done your research, but that sometimes you may not know all the answers. Show that you know how to follow up and avoid making false promises.
4. What's the key to sales?
What they're looking for: A candidate who has their own philosophy on how to sell.
How to answer: Be prepared to share your thoughts on what makes a sale work. What do you believe must exist in a sale for it to be successful? Trust? Honesty? Nail down your beliefs and be prepared to share them.
5. Tell me about what makes you happy in sales.
What they're looking for: A candidate who isn't just driven by the almighty dollar, but someone who finds happiness in providing a solution to others.
How to answer: Money is appealing to everyone. But what's your deeper motivation for being in sales? Share your story and drive for why you're in sales, and how your occupation helps you find happiness.
6. What type of team sales structure do you prefer working in?
What they're looking for: A candidate who fits within the organization's current structure.
How to answer: Do your research before the interview to learn how the organization has structured their sales force. Call the company's main line and "Press 1" for sales. Listen to how their current sales team sells their products. Ask the sales associate on the other line how the organization is structured, and be straight with them that you're interviewing for a job and just want to learn. Not only will you learn about the company, their sales pitch and products, but you might also make a friend on the inside who can help you through the process.
7. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What they're looking for: A candidate with self-awareness.
How to answer: This classic interview question is especially pertinent to sales. Sell your strengths, and acknowledge where your weaknesses are. Keep your list of strengths and weaknesses to just two or three attributes and explain why each one is a strength or a weakness.
8. The customer points out a big problem with our product. How do you overcome their objection?
What they're looking for: A candidate who can listen to customers and knows when to overcome an objection or to move on.
How to answer: Not all prospects are the right customer fit. Sometimes there will be objections that shouldn't be overcome, and other times there are new perspectives you can introduce to customers to help them think differently about a product or service. Talk about a story in your prior experience of how you overcame an objection, and why overcoming the objection was the best course of action.
9. Sell me on our products or services.
What they're looking for: A candidate who has done their research and can sell.
How to answer: Walking in the door, have a sales approach that you think would work given the company's products and services - because this question will get asked. If your sales approach consists of a 15-second pitch, have it down pat before the interview. If you go with a consultative sales approach, know what questions you would ask the customer so they discover the need for your product.
10. Why would you be a good fit?
What they're looking for: Confirmation that you are who they think you are.
How to answer: The interviewer has read your resume and you're being interviewed for a good reason (because they think you may be a good fit!). Communicate how you fit into the organization. Avoid the vanilla answers like, "because I'm a team player" or "I'm a fast learner." Genuinely think about why you want to work for the company and communicate your motivations.
By thinking about all of the above questions before your sales associate interview, you'll be well prepared to answer any other question that comes your way. Now go out and ace that interview!