January 30, 2008
By Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham
Originally published on Sales & Marketing Management online

Part II of the article, “The Science Behind Hiring Top Gun Salespeople. Be sure to read the first half to get the best practices on hiring right.

Research has shown that your best defense against being deceived by a clever candidate is a good set of interview questions. So, here are a few time-tested sales interview questions for each of the three elements of drive. Each one asks about situations in the past when the candidate has demonstrated the respective trait.


Need for Achievement

  1. What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to be successful? (Look for substantial past sacrifices for success at work).
  2. What is the toughest goal you’ve ever set for yourself? How do you plan to top it? (Look for accomplishment of a very challenging goal; and a plan to top that achievement.)



  1. When was the last time you got into a competition? Another time? (Look for recent examples, including work, home or sports.)
  2. Tell me about the most competitive situation you have ever found yourself in. (Look for healthy competition with colleagues.)



  1. Describe a situation you were in that demanded persistence. Now, describe another one. (Look for a history of substantial effort and refusal to quit.)
  2. Think back to the last time you lost a sale. What did you do to recover? (Look for quickly putting the situation in perspective and bouncing back.)

For a complete list of questions, read “Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again” by Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham

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