Tags: Career Guidance, Sales, sales...

There is no denying an interview can be daunting for even the most experienced of candidates. Our experienced sales recruitment experts are here to provide some god advice and support your preparations.

When you’re applying for any sales job, no matter what level you’re at, you’re bound to be asked some competency-based interview questions.

Like with any question you answer at interview, how you respond can be telling of how you are going to perform in your future role, so it is important that you are prepared for any that come your way.

We asked our Divisional Manager for Search Sales, Stephanie Bowers, for her steer on what the most frequently asked competency based interview questions in sales were, to help set you up for success in your next sales interview.

Top 5 sales competency based interview questions

  1. "Give an example of a time when an important deal fell through, how did you deal with it? "

  2. "Tell me about a time when you’ve negotiated for your employer, what were the challenges? "

  3. "Tell me about a time when you have had to manage a busy workload and meet expectations on delivery "

  4. "Describe a situation where you were struggling to meet targets and used your initiative to meet them "

  5. "Describe a time when the cause of a problem was not initially clear, how did you deal with this? "

Additional questions to prepare for:

"Give an example of a situation where you have taken something from start to finish in terms of growth, be that a territory, set of accounts or a team."

It’s important to also be prepared to talk about your career rationale and the moves you’ve made previously. Be ready to talk openly and put positive spin on previous roles and decisions you’ve made.

“I always ask candidates to explain their decision-making in terms of moves they have made as it really opens things up, but it can often be difficult to put into words – so preparation beforehand is key.” Stephanie Bowers, Sales Divisional Manager

How to answer competency based interview questions

We recommend that you follow the 4 step STAR technique to ensure your answer is easy to follow and includes a clear conflict and resolution.

STAR is used to structure your answers into 4 core steps.

S - Situation – Describe the situation.

T - Task – What was your task? What were YOU responsible for?

A – Action – What action(s) did YOU take.

R - What were the results?

For further information on the STAR technique and an in-depth guide on how to answer general competency based interview questions, check out our blog.

Are you looking for further advice on how to prepare for your next sales job interview?

Check out our blogs and resources to help you land your next sales job.

With competency based interview questions ticked off the list, check out our interview resources to help you prepare and achieve success in your next sales interview.

Check out our blogs and resources to help you land your next marketing job;

Download our comprehensive guide to preparing for your next job interview.

Is your next interview via video? Find out how to prepare for a video interview .

Struggling with what to ask your interviewer? Check out our top 5 questions to ask at interview.


Now are you ready to put those polished interview skills to the test? If you’re seeking a new start, check out our latest sales jobs.

Browse Sales Jobs.

About our expert

Stephanie has 7 years in sales recruitment and is based in our Manchester office heading up sales recruitment across England and Wales.

Specialising in all aspects of sales recruitment, within a variety of sectors and markets. Typical vacancies we handle range from: Sales Executive, Account Manager, Business Development Manager, to Sales Manager, Head of Sales, Sales Director.

If you’d like to speak to Stephanie about jobs in Sales, then contact her here.

If you live in Scotland, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our colleagues in Glasgow for further support.