The "New" Killer Sales Interview Question You Must Ask

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

"Whether You're Qualified Depends on How You're Quantified."

I just read about the following interview question in an HBR article, "How do you measure how you’re improving your biggest weakness?”

What do you think?

Punchline - The best salespeople self quantify.

Use the this powerful sales interview question

A recent HBR article by Michael Schrage - Whether You're Qualified Depends on How You're Quantified goes granular on an interview question that I shared in my July 2014 blog post - Hire the Best Salespeople With Three Powerful Interview Questions.

We have recommended variants of this particular question be asked in sales interviews for several years.


Salespeople who keep score often outperform the rest.

The act of measuring one's own actions as well as outcomes is a potential powerful indicator of future sales performance. True sales wolves are goal-oriented and as a result they naturally keep track of their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By definition and habit true sales wolves relentlessly seek opportunities to continuously improve. 

Low goal orientation usually translates into poor sales performance.

If you are serious (not everyone is) about hiring the best salespeople, you must ask the following powerful sales question of each sales candidate.  

"In prior sales role(s) - How did you perform?"

The best answers to this sales interview question contain facts about past sales performance that quickly becomes granular. The best salespeople not only have KPI information readily available, their faces light up when they share their war stories.


Does goal achievement really matter?

Big time. Our data crunching screams that goal achievement is a strong contributor to sales performance.

In order to help our Clients consistently identify, hire, coach, and retain the best salespeople, we use the only multi-science sales personality test with validity backed by brain research

After assessing thousands of salespeople and comparing their sales production numbers to data points from from their sales assessment results, goal achievement is essential to sales performance.


Never rely only on this potentially powerful sales interview question alone.

If you rely only on this potentially powerful sales interview question, you will get bit from time to time by posers. Trust if you will, but verify sales job fit through a valid sales personality test.

There are many blogs and books containing insights designed to prepare candidates both good and bad for the sales job interview. The sales interview is a poor predictor of future selling success. There have been many, many studies that suggest that the job interview is a very poor predictor of future success.

Candidates who seemingly answer this sales interview question correctly should have their interview backed up by the rest of the sales hiring scorecard - their overall interview, past work experiences, education, and sales assessment results.

Sales Personality Aptitude Test Sample Assessment