How do you believe you will be effective in sales at our company?
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The hiring manager wants to be assured that you will hit the ground running, making an impact as soon as possible. Talk about your level of motivation and what you will do to build your sales pipeline right away.
"I feel that I would be an effective sales engineer because I will make an impact on your sales targets immediately. I bring a strong portfolio of business with me and will also work tirelessly to earn new business."
How would you describe the corporate culture of your previous company?
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What type of corporate culture do you come from and what type of culture are you looking for? The hiring manager should know, through your answer, if this company is a cultural fit for you. Draw on your pre-interview research as well.
"The type of culture that I currently come from is based on independence and accountability. Although I really appreciate the countability component, I am actively seeking a role that offers more team work based opportunities. From my research, I understand that you offer this type of culture."
Tell the hiring manager a bit about how you stay on track with your time throughout the day. You can also bring up a time in your career that you have been recognized for time efficiency.
"Yes, I am very efficient with my time. I ensure that I am on track by planning out my day through a CRM and Google Calendar. I have set tasks that are scheduled to ensure that I am on task and on my time target. In previous performance reviews I have been complimented on my ability to be efficient."
If you are awarded the position, what will you bring to the role that others may not? Your greatest strength should be a skill that will make you a stand-out candidate for this role. Tie in your answer by talking about how this particular strength will help the company you are interviewing with.
"I feel that my greatest strength is in my ability to close a sale. Because of my strong listening skills, I am able to easily make a connection between the product I am offering and what the client's needs are. This helps me greatly when it comes to closing the deal."
6. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it? Where do you feel that you could improve in your career? Be sure to keep your answer career related and end on a positive note by talking a bit about what steps you are taking to strengthen your skills in that area. Here is an answer example: "Through performance reviews and other feedback that I have received, I feel that my greatest weakness would be in my Excel skills. I am an intermediate user but do feel that as a Sales Engineer, I should be at an advanced to expert user level. I have enrolled in an Excel course that will start this fall and will run for 12 weeks."7. Do you have any previous experience as a Sales Engineer? Take some time to discuss with the hiring manager any similar roles that you have held. Bring your resume to life for them. Remember to draw on any experience that could be transferrable. Here is an answer example: "I have been a Sales Engineer with company ABC for the past 3 years. In addition to this experience, I also have been a sales professional in a less technical role for 2 years. This was with company XYZ. I am very confident in my sales ability and feel that my previous experience will certainly benefit me in this role."8. What kind of work environment do you thrive in? When you answer this question, be sure to draw on the company research that you have performed prior to your interview. What type of culture do they offer? Is their brand or environment something that excites you? Talk a little bit about the types of work environments you have been exposed to, what you prefer, and how their culture works with your preferences. Here is an answer example: "As a sales professional, I do thrive in a collaborative team environment. Knowing that I can draw on the knowledge and help of my team is very motivating to me. From the research I have done on your company, I understand that you have a large focus on positive teamwork. That is very appealing to me."9. Are you comfortable generating leads? Tell me about your experience doing so. Business development and the activities that come with that are very important topics in a sales interview. Talk about your ability to generate leads. How do you ensure that your sales pipeline is always full? Here is an answer example: "I am very comfortable with generating leads. Prospecting and cold calling are both tasks that I am good at. I will network and ask for referrals from my current sources. From there, I will utilize networking sites such as LinkedIn. In total, I have 12 years' experience in a business development role."10. How would you explain the benefits of a product to a customer? The hiring manager would like to know that you are able to sell a product to a client by referring to the benefits it will bring them. Take the interviewer through your typical selling process but do make it brief. Here is an answer example: "When I am selling to a client based on the benefits of the product, I first take the time to ensure that I understand what problem it is that I am trying to help them solve. I will tie their challenge into what the product can do to help them. Having the client agree with the connection of problem vs. solution is also really important."11. What do you do outside of work to better yourself as a Sales Engineer? Tell the hiring manager a bit about your interest in self development. Here is an answer example: "I am very interested in developing my skills and network within the industry. In my spare time, I do attend networking events and workshops to learn more about selling and what new tech products are coming out."12. What do you think would be the biggest challenge in this role? If you were awarded this opportunity, what do you feel would be the biggest challenge? Make sure to end your answer on a positive note and let the hiring manager know that despite it being a challenge, you are still able to overcome it and make a positive impact on their business. Here is an answer example: "After reading the job description and meeting with you, I feel that the biggest challenge would be learning some of the technical terminology related to your product. I have worked with similar products so I am confident that I could catch on very quickly. If given the opportunity, I would start to research and study the product immediately."13. What is a typical sales call for you? Take the hiring manager through a typical sales call. Here is an answer example: "For me, a typical sales call will include some pre-work to get to know the client. I will start the conversation out light by telling them a bit about my findings on their company and I will ask them about their needs. I will then talk to them, in a consultative manner, about how our product will benefit them. I will close the sales call by ensuring that the client fully understands what we are offering. From there, if there are no roadblocks in the clients' understanding, I will then ask for the sale."14. Have you ever had to handle conflict? How did you resolve it? Be sure to use an example of a time when you managed a conflict in a positive way. Keep your answer work related and be sure to talk about any kudos you were given for your ability to mange the conflict in a positive way. Here is an answer example: "I am generally very good at managing conflict. One example that I can give you is quite recent. Last month I had a client who had been over-billed in error. They were quite upset with the oversight as they are a long term client. I ensured them that our billing department would review all of their previous invoices to ensure this was a one time incident. It turned out very well and they appreciated my transparency and willingness to solve the problem immediately."15. How do you maintain focus on your sales and work, throughout the day? What do you do to ensure that you are productive throughout your day? Talk to the hiring manager about your method of staying on task. Here is an answer example: "I am able to maintain focus by ensuring that my day is properly planned. The evening before, I will review my sales calls and map out the travel required. I will also book my cold calls for two days per week so that I am prepared with a full schedule of business the following week."16. What are some obstacles you find yourself typically facing, in your previous sales positions? Having obstacles in your career is completely normal. Tell the hiring manager that you are accustomed to overcoming obstacles and the type of objections you are used to facing. Here is an answer example: "The most common obstacles that I have found myself having would be objections on time and price. I find that these are the two things that people are least likely to want to part with. I overcome these objections through creating value in the product and displaying to the client, right away, that it will be worth it for them time wise and financially to give me the time out of their schedule."17. How do you define success in your chosen career? Are you able to understand what doing a great job really means? How do you measure and define success? You can use examples from your previous position as well. Here is an answer example: "I define success as a sales engineer through my results and my reputation. I have consistently exceeded my sales targets for the past 6 years and have great customer relationships as well. This is how I would define success."18. How do you handle a technical objection? Are you aggressive enough in your sales role to not accept a 'no' from a potential client right away? Tell the hiring manager a bit about your method of overcoming objections. Here is an answer example: "When I receive a technical objection on a sales call it is generally because I haven't explained that particular product feature clearly enough. I will hear the objection, repeat it back to ensure that I understand where they are coming from, and then review using simpler technical language. I will stay on that topic until the objection has been overcome."19. What are your qualifications for this job? Before your interview it is really important for you to review the company's job description in full. Have a complete understanding of the company's needs, the product you will be selling and what the "must-have qualifications" are from the job posting. Address those skills that you possess and add on any additional transferrable skills that you think would be important for the hiring manager to know about. Here is an answer example: "must-have qualifications"20. Are you confident that you will be successful in the sales field? Tell the hiring manager a bit about why you feel you would be good at this job. Draw on your previous results and experiences in your sales career. Be sure to let the interviewer know that you would really like the job. Here is an answer example: "Yes, after reading through the job description and getting to know your company's needs a bit better, I am very confident that I will be successful in a sales role with your company. In my previous position I successfully managed a $16M portfolio and consistently exceeded my sales targets. I would love the opportunity to do the same for your organization."21. What will you do if you get a target which is impossible to attain? It can happen from time to time that your company's sales forecasts are a bit off. If this has happened to you in your career before, be sure to use that as an example. The hiring manager is looking for a reply that will show them that you have the tenacity to try rather than just deem the target impossible and give up as a result. Here is an answer example: "I have received very lofty sales targets before. Rather than treating the target as impossible, I will break it down a bit and tackle parts of it at a time. I like the challenge so would definitely treat the target as attainable unless proven otherwise."22. Why should we hire you? The hiring manager wants to know that you want this job. Talk a bit about why you are a strong candidate and be sure to tie in the information you have gathered from their job posting or job description. Here is an answer example: "I feel that you should hire me because I offer precisely the experience that you are looking for (give a specific example). In addition to the skills that I have, I also offer a character and work ethic that would fit well with your organization."23. What do you know about our company? Researching the company prior to your interview is a very strong way of showing your interest in the company and the role. Showcase the knowledge that you have gathered from your research. Here is an answer example: "24. What products have you modified to sell to a customer before? Be sure to give specific examples of clients who have needed you to exercise your engineering expertise for them. Talk a bit about the process and what the outcome was. Here is an answer example: "I have modified a couple of products previously, in order to suit my customer's needs. The first product was a highly technical product called...(give example)...The client was very happy with my modifications and I was also able to train them on the proper use. I am very comfortable making modifications for clients."25. What are your career goals as a Sales Engineer? It's great to have a career related goal, whether that be a big or small one. It could be a promotion or an additional designation that you'd like to achieve. Talk a little bit about those particular goals with the hiring manager but be sure to tie it in to how this will also benefit the company you are interviewing with. Here is an answer example: "As a Sales Engineer I would eventually like to earn my way into a Management role where I can mentor and train other Sales Engineers. Being able to attend school again and complete an additional designation within engineering or technology is also something that would be of interest to me."26. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are interested in staying with their company long term should you be given the opportunity. If you have strong tenure in your previous work history you can also draw on that. Here is an answer example: "In 5 years I would like to see myself with your company in a sales management type of role. I am interested in building your team nationally. As you can see in my resume, I have strong tenure and have been with my current company for 8 years. I plan to stay long term, if given the opportunity."27. Are you able to solve complex problems? Give me an example. Demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are able to take a difficult problem and seamlessly create a solution. Here is an answer example: "In my current position, I had a client who had very complicated need which made pricing a bit difficult to understand. I was able to create a workable spreadsheet that we used specifically for that client in order to ensure that no errors were made. This increased our productivity and the client was very happy to have such a seamless process on their end."28. Are you persuasive? Strong sales people will generally identify as persuasive individuals. Talk to the hiring manager a bit about why you think you are persuasive. Use an example if you have one. Here is an answer example: "I do consider myself to be a persuasive individual. My selling style is very much consultative in nature and I am happy to close a sale by educating my client and showing them how much the product can benefit them."29. What engineering education have you received? Having the right experience is really important but it is also important to show the interviewer that you have received the correct foundation from your education. Expand a little bit on your education by talking a bit about your relevant coursework and your grades. Here is an answer example: "I have a Masters' Degree in Engineering with a focus on Application Engineering. During the course of my degree I found that my best grades were in mathematical modeling. I graduated top of my class and received many scholarships throughout my college career."30. Why do you feel you would be a good candidate for this position and organization? The hiring manager wants to know that you want this job. Talk a bit about why you are a strong candidate and be sure to tie in the information you have gathered from their job posting or job description. Here is an answer example: "I feel that you should hire me because I offer precisely the experience that you are looking for (give a specific example). In addition to the skills that I have, I also offer a character and work ethic that would fit well with your organization."31. What was your most successful sales project you worked on? Before your interview, think ahead to some of your proudest career wins. If you think of your favorite or most successful projects, is there a common denominator between them? Now is a time to brag a little bit about some of your big career wins. Here is an answer example: "I have had many successful projects in my career but my favorite one was the $5M project I closed with Company XYZ. They were my biggest client to date. I was tasked with managing the new software rollout and the deadline was tight. Not only was I able to meet all of the expectations of my client but I was also awarded top sales engineer of the year for the growth and profitability our company saw from that successful deal."
Author of Sales Engineers Answers and Questions
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 09/15/2010 Last modified on: 08/17/2018
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