How to run the perfect sales interview

Going into sales is not for everyone.  Believe it or not, your own personality will affect the way you work in sales; and it is usually not something you can fake.  In order to be great at sales, you need to have great people skills; and people skills are not something that can be feigned.  It’s either you have it or you don’t.  The basic characteristics for any sales job boils down to three things: patience, friendliness, and confidence.  If you are able to show these three characteristics during a sales interview along with showing the interviewer some technical skills, you will do well.


If you walk into the interview nervous, it will show within the first 15 seconds of your meeting.  Stand tall, with your back straight and your head held high.  You want to walk like you are not afraid of exposing yourself to anyone and have nothing to hide.  This is an important skill for sales representatives because they have to seem approachable, so if you make yourself look that way in your interview, it will make you look like a great choice for the actual job.  After your 15 seconds of a confident entrance, you have to make sure you keep up appearances – of course it would be best if you were actually confident in yourself.  Shake your interviewer’s hand with a strong grip and be sure to make eye contact.  While speaking during the interview, clearly annunciate your words and do not mumble.  In addition, pace your sentences; don’t talk to fast or too slow.  The way you talk is an important element of the sales job.


After your initial approach, you want to show that you are a nice enough person that people will feel comfortable talking to you.  Interviewers really want this because a customer is more likely to buy a product if they liked the sales associate.  With this being the case, you can expect your interviewer to ask you work related questions that have to do with customer satisfaction.  Use this opportunity to not only show how much you care about the customers, but also to show the interviewer the type of person you are.  You do not want to answer the questions too sternly; speak with some energy and lightheartedness.  However, be careful not to be too friendly as that can come off as nonchalance.


The sales process is a long one.  Selling can sometimes involve up to months of work, such as selling a house.  But at the very least, it can involve most of your day.  And sometimes, all that patience will count for nothing when the customer does not want to buy.  That happens a lot in sales.  And that is why patience is a trait that most great sales people have.  You have to show that you are able to work for the sale and help customers even though it may not result in an immediate sale.

It may be difficult to show your patience to your interviewer, but there are opportunities where a chance may come up.  For instance, if the employer asks what one of your best qualities is, that would be an opportunity to answer with “patience.”  The interviewer will usually follow up with asking you for an example, in which case you can think of a situation related to the job you are looking for.  If this question does not come up, you can also show your patience in the way you conduct yourself during the interview.  Patience is shown by not interrupting the interviewer, by not getting antsy, and by not fidgeting.

Technical Sales Skills

Of course if you are going into a sales interview, you will also have to show that you do have some technical sales skills.  Chances are, the interviewer will want you to try to show off your sales skills by selling them a product of their choice.  It may be a sponge or it may be a phone.  But whatever it is, the skills required to sell remains the same.  So prior to the interview, you might want to do a mock sales presentation with someone.  Remember to talk about benefits, not features.  And lastly, ask for the sale.

If you follow these instructions and prepare yourself accordingly, the sales interview should be no problem for you at all.

I founded ResumeOK in 2011, with the goal of helping people increase their chances to get a better job. I am a career and online marketing expert that has reviewed and written thousands of resumes. During my career, I have found certain patterns that make a resume successful, and I’m sharing all my insights in the samples that you can find on ResumeOK. My work has been published by reputable publications such as BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters,, HuffPost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob. If you need help with your resume, or just want to say “hi”, send me an email. Read more about us here .

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