37 Sales Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 22 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A sales assistant is an entry-level role on a sales team. They support other members of a sales team as they manage customer questions or needs and negotiate deals. If you're interviewing for a sales assistant position, the hiring manager may ask you several questions to evaluate your ability to function in a sales workplace and explore your abilities in a sales-focused environment. In this article, we share potential sales assistant interview questions to help you prepare and provide some sample answers for reference.
General sales assistant interview questions
Hiring managers usually ask general sales assistant interview questions to begin an interview with a new candidate. General interview questions allow hiring managers to briefly explore your experience, skills and personality. Here are several examples of common general interview questions for a sales assistant position:
What are your career goals?
Can you tell me more about yourself?
Do you prefer working in a team or independently?
What do you think are the most important values?
Where do you see yourself professionally in the next three to five years?
What do you think is the most important skill to improve for your professional development?
How do you manage pressure or stress from work?
What's your availability?
Tell me about a time in which you used your critical thinking skills at work?
What are you passionate about?
What are your salary expectations?
Background and experience interview questions
Hiring managers may ask questions about your education and professional work history to determine if your background and skills match the needs of the job you're applying for. They may also want to understand how you apply your skills in a professional setting and determine any education or training you have that has better prepared you for the open position. Here are several examples of interview questions about your background and experience for a sales assistant position:
What skills did you develop on the job and not in the classroom?
What skills do you want to develop in this position?
Is there any training or education you hope to gain in the future?
What type of sales environment do you prefer to work in?
Can you describe a time in which you had to manage a sales team or help lead one?
What specialised training or knowledge might separate you from other candidates?
What kind of training do you have for this position?
What did you study in college?
How many sales roles have you worked?
What skills did you learn while working at your previous employer?
Can we discuss the skills you have mentioned in your CV?
In-depth interview questions
These interview questions allow hiring managers to have an in-depth understanding of your experience, goals, values or the industry in which you work. These questions also allow them to expand on general and experience-related interview questions and learn more about your work ethic and your industry or workplace philosophies. Here are several examples of in-depth interview questions for a sales assistant position:
How important do you think trust is to the relationship with your clients?
Describe the qualities of a good salesperson.
Describe what you think was your best sale. What happened?
How would you handle an irate client who doesn't want to be contacted further?
Describe your leadership or management style in a sales environment.
Tell me about your plan to find and convert sales leads in this position.
When do you stop pursuing a sale? Why?
What issues did your previous sales team encounter? How did you resolve them?
How do you plan to meet the quota for this role?
Which values of our company do you most align with and why?
Five interview questions with example answers
Reviewing some questions and example answers can help you prepare for the questions a hiring manager may ask you and plan an honest and effective response to each question. Here are a few examples of typical interview questions and answers for a sales assistant role:
1. What's your greatest strength in a sales environment?
This interview question can help hiring managers explore the areas where you might excel in a sales environment. Employers often prefer candidates who work well with clients and other team members and offer leadership and sales skills to their workplace. Thus, discussing your greatest strength using the context of your previous sales role can provide clarity and detail for hiring managers and help you emphasise some of your strongest qualities.
Example: "My greatest strength in a sales environment is my ability to remain friendly with people and encourage them to have meaningful conversations. When I approach both team members and customers or leads with a friendly and grounded attitude, they tend to talk more openly and honestly. I can encourage leads and customers to talk more about personal experiences or challenges that I can use to identify specific needs and how our products or services can help them meet those needs."
2. How did you meet your sales quota in your previous role?
Hiring managers may ask this interview question to explore your work history and determine what your approach was to meet quotas and goals. This can help them evaluate the efficiency of your strategies, your time management skills and how you determine potential issues. To answer this interview question effectively, focus on how you approach a sales quota, how you react when issues arise and how you organise your time. You can also discuss specific strategies to generate and convert leads and how they help you meet sales quotas.
Example: "In my previous role, I had a quota of 30 complete sales each month, with at least 30% of those being converted leads. I approached this quota with an initial goal of making at least 15 calls per day and walking the sales floor for at least three to four hours. I allocated the rest of my time to researching the locations in which my target audience congregated online and what a typical customer searches for.
"I organised my time into blocks so that I could allocate a proper amount of attention to each task. I met my quota consistently through organised time management and a friendly, grounded approach to customers and leads that helped them ease their stress."
3. What company value or values do you most align with and why?
This interview question can help hiring managers determine if your personal values align with the company's values. A mismatch in values doesn't necessarily mean you aren't a great candidate for the job and company, but it may be an indication of initial challenges with assimilating into the company's culture. Hiring managers often aim to explore your personal values through the context of their organisation's values, so make sure to research its values prior to the interview. You can also ask the interviewer to describe the organisation's values if they weren't available online or in the application.
Example: "The company value I most align with is honesty. I believe honesty is an important part of the sales process, as it helps build trust between you, the customer and the other sales team members. Trust is important to a good relationship, and I have historically excelled working at businesses that value honesty. I also think honesty fosters a more healthy and positive workplace and sales environment, which can help everyone excel."
4. What skills do you have that would help you excel as a sales assistant?
Hiring managers often ask this interview question to learn some examples of the specific skills you have and how those skills translate to sales. To answer this question effectively, provide the hiring manager with examples of your ability to achieve sales goals in your previous positions. Consider providing precise numbers when talking about meeting goals or increasing sales. Also, highlight your ability to upsell, make recommendations and help clients make choices. Employers often want an enthusiastic salesperson who can make their clients feel comfortable.
Example: "Last year, I exceeded my sales quota by 15% by upselling items that customers often purchased together. I achieved this by familiarising myself with all products that benefit sales."
5. How would you handle an unsatisfied client?
Hiring managers often ask this question to determine how you handle unsatisfied customers and your ability to meet customers' needs. They also want to determine if you can make decisions in stressful situations and not give in to the stress of an irate customer. To answer this question effectively, highlight your knowledge of return policies or procedures and your ability to remain calm under intense pressure. Make sure to emphasise that you avoid taking complaints personally.
Example: "I would apologise to the client and ask how they would like to move forward to address the situation. I would strive to be patient and remain calm during the conversation."
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