There’s only so much you can learn from traditional interview questions. Get granular with your new hires by asking sales assessment questions that give you meaningful answers.

Whether you spend five minutes or three hours grilling a candidate for a job, there’s only so much you can get out of traditional interview questions. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What was your last manager like?” “Why are you looking for a new role?” The answers may be somewhat helpful in the hiring process, but they have little to do with an actual sales assessment.

While you can (and probably should) ask some sales assessment questions during an interview, it’s even more critical to ask thorough questions when you’ve decided on a candidate. An interview can tell you if someone is good enough, but it’s tough to know how good that new hire is without making a robust assessment of their skills.

sales assessment

How a sales assessment is different

Unlike an interview, which usually only digs just beneath the surface, a sales assessment test evaluates a new hire’s overall competency and give managers insight into where that employee’s strengths and weaknesses are, which teams they might work best on, and which clients might be a good fit. Instead of asking generic questions, a sales assessment seeks to create an employee profile based on eight areas of development or aptitude:

  1. Teamwork & communication
  2. Prospecting
  3. Relationship management
  4. Conflict resolution
  5. Revenue generation
  6. Sales strategy & forecasting
  7. Grit
  8. Personality type

As you can see, the categories are pretty broad. That’s a good thing, though, because it means there are many questions you can ask to dig below the surface in each competency area. The challenge is ensuring that the questions you ask elicit meaningful answers.

lead-managerlead-managerNeed a CRM that offers meaningful data? Schedule a free demo and to see what Blitz can offer your business.

sales assessment

What not to ask

The rules around which sales assessment questions to ask and which not to are pretty loose. What’s most important is that you stick to the categories above. Each question should provide detailed insight into the employee’s cognitive, behavioral, situational, and skill-based competencies. Don’t ask a question like, “What do you expect to accomplish here in your first month?” The answer may be interesting, but it’s speculative and doesn’t tell you anything about the employee’s skills, only their perceived ability to adapt to a new job and environment.

Equally important is to ask questions without “confirmation bias,” which is the tendency to search for answers that confirm preconceived notions about a person. So, if you think the new hire seems like the type to struggle with conflict resolution, you might ask a question like, “Do you find conflict resolution difficult?” Regardless of the answer, you can bet that the questioner will use it to steer towards his or her hypothesis. Instead, ask a situational question that demonstrates how the new hire would handle a conflict.

Ten questions for all new hires

Sales assessment tests should consist of at least twenty-five questions and probably no more than 100. That may seem like a lot, but remember, you’re building a profile on a stranger, which takes a lot of data-collecting. The goal is to learn in a short period what might otherwise take months to figure out. While there are companies out there that offer sales assessment testing for a fee, here are ten critical questions to get you started if you decide to create your own sales assessment test.

1. In your last role, how did your attitude and behavior help your team move towards a goal? (Teamwork & communication)

2. Detail a time when you had difficulty getting along with a co-worker and how you handled it. (Teamwork & communication)

3. How do you balance nurturing current clients with developing new business? (Relationship management; Prospecting)

4. How often do you check in with current clients over the course of a year? What are your interactions like? (Relationship management)

5. Tell us about a time when one of your clients was unhappy and how you handled it. (Conflict resolution)

6. In your previous role, how did your daily activities improve your company’s bottom line? (Revenue generation)

7. What principles drive how you create a sales forecast? (Sales strategy & forecasting)

8. How would you handle a short sales cycle versus a long sales cycle? (Sales strategy & forecasting)

9. How long was your longest “losing streak” and what did you do to persevere through it and come out on top? (Grit)

10. Besides money, what motivates you as a salesperson? (Personality type)

Keep in mind that a sales assessment test is designed to learn about someone you expect to succeed. The results are to help you understand how to best manage the new hire, what to expect in the first few months, and where this person will best fit in within your company. It can even be a good idea to administer the test to all employees once a year, just to see how things might have changed.

lead-managerlead-managerNeed a CRM that offers meaningful data? Schedule a free demo and to see what Blitz can offer your business.

Do you have any sales assessment questions that you find helpful? Join the conversation in the comments, and share your ideas with your colleagues.