Sales Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
Updated 21 February 2023
Providing thorough and specific answers during a sales assistant interview gives you the chance to highlight your skills, personality and work ethic. Sales assistant questions focus on your skills as they relate to the position, past sales experience and your ability to function in a sales workplace. Preparing answers to these questions in advance can make your answers more cohesive and clear. In this article, we outline the questions to expect during a sales assistant interview and give you example answers to some of these questions.
General sales assistant interview questions
Interviewers usually start with general sales assistant interview questions. These general questions give the interviewer more information about a candidate's overall personality and skills. Here are some examples of typical general interview questions for a sales assistant role:
Can you tell me more about yourself?
What are your greatest strengths?
What are you passionate about?
Where do you see yourself working in the future?
What are your career goals?
How would you describe your preferred work environment?
Sales experience and background questions
A potential employer might ask questions about your professional work history and education to verify that your skills and background match the position's needs. An effective interviewer often seeks to understand how you use your skills in a professional environment and any training or education you possess that better prepares you for the role. Here are some examples of questions about your experience and background for a sales assistant role:
Can you tell me about your previous position in sales?
What is your ideal sales environment?
What skills have you developed in previous jobs?
What training have you had for this role?
What did you study at university?
Do you have plans for future education or training?
Can you tell me about a previous challenge you faced in sales and how you handled it?
Can you describe a time when you led a sales team?
What training and sales knowledge do you have that sets you apart from other candidates?
Related: How To Write a Sales Assistant CV
In-depth sales questions
In-depth interview questions provoke deeper thought on values, goals, experience and the industry. An employer asks these questions to expand on the general experience questions and learn more about your work ethic and workplace or industry philosophies. Here are a few examples of in-depth questions for a sales assistant role:
How do you plan to meet the sales quota for this position?
Can you describe your leadership style?
Can you describe the most important qualities of a good salesperson?
How do you plan on generating new sales for the company?
What would you do to repair a relationship with a client?
Which of our company values do you agree with the most?
How would you handle a frustrated customer?
When would you stop pursuing a sale, and why?
Reviewing potential interview questions and planning out your answers can help you create an effective and honest response to each question. Here are some examples of typical questions and answers for a sales assistant position:
What is your greatest strength in a sales environment?
This question helps an employer determine how you might excel in a sales environment. Recruiters for an available sales assistant position typically want candidates who work well with customers and other team members. Describing your greatest strength using the context of a previous sales position provides clarity and detail for an interviewer while allowing you to highlight some of your strongest attributes.
Example: 'My greatest strength in a sales environment is my ability to remain friendly with people and encourage them to have meaningful conversations. When I approach both team members and customers or leads with a friendly and grounded attitude, they talk more openly and honestly. I can encourage leads and customers to talk more about personal experiences or challenges that I can use to identify specific needs and how our products or services can help them meet those needs.'
Related: How to Prepare For an Interview
What can you do to surpass a customer's expectations?
An excellent answer to this question shows the recruiter how your specific skills and expertise set you apart from other candidates. Start your answer by explaining how important it is to address the customer's original problem or expectation. Then explain how you came up with a solution and further the solution beyond what the customer expected. Finish your answer by telling the hiring manager about a time you surpassed a customer's expectations and what you learned from this experience.
Example: 'The only way you can surpass a customer's expectations is by making sure you understand what their original expectation or problem is. Once you've listened to the customer and understand what they need, you can go above and beyond and try to find a solution the customer didn't even think was possible. You want to surprise the customer with how much thought and care you give to their problem.
I once worked at an electronics shop and had a customer who was looking for a new computer. I asked her why and she explained that her current computer crashed. It sounded like her computer just needed a simple reboot, so I encouraged her to bring her computer to the shop. When she brought in her computer, I was able to fix it. While I didn't make the large sale of selling this woman a new computer, I gained the store a long-term customer.'
Why do you want to work in this store?
For this answer, mention the specific aspects of the position you are excited about and your overall view of the company. This is your chance to talk about any previous relationships you have with the product or services related to the company and how this makes you the perfect candidate. Research the company to create a specific answer that points to unique aspects of the company or the position you find attractive.
Example: 'This company has an amazing reputation for customer service and brand recognition. I've visited many of the company's shops and feel that this company is the best place for people looking for affordable gardening equipment. I want to work in one of your stores because I've seen how the company operates from the standpoint of a customer, and I'm impressed. I feel there is a lot I can learn and bring to this company. I know my previous experience in sales combined with my passion and knowledge of your products make me a valuable sales assistant.'
How did you meet your sales quota in your last position?
An employer may explore your work history to determine the methods you used to meet goals and quotas. This can help them judge the efficiency of your methods, your time management skills and how you identify potential challenges. Consider focusing on how you approach a sales quota, how you organise your time and how you react when challenges present themselves.
Example: 'In my last position, I had a quota of 20 complete sales each month. I approached this quota with an initial goal of making at least 10 sales calls per day. The rest of my time, I allocated to researching the locations in which my target audience congregated online and what a typical customer searches for.
I organised my time into blocks so that I could give a proper amount of attention to each task. I met my quota consistently through organised time management and a friendly, grounded approach to customers and leads that helped them ease any of their stress.'
What is your ideal work environment?
Recruiters ask this question to see if you can excel in the specific working environment associated with the company. There are a variety of working environments associated with sales, from phone-based sales that you may complete from home to working in a fast-paced store with lots of distractions and other responsibilities. Focus your answer on any previous experience you have working in a similar environment and how this environment allows you to utilise your particular skills.
Example: 'I do my best sales work alone as I feel this is the best way to connect with and understand the client. I prefer to make most of my sales over the phone or in a private location with the client. I can meet my quota consistently through organised time management and a friendly, grounded approach to customers.
I noticed that your company has recently transferred to a hybrid model of working where sales assistants work from home two days a week and are in the office for three days. I believe I can also excel in this work environment, as I understand the benefits of collaborating and communicating with other team members.'
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