Preparing for a job interview is never an easy task, and it’s even tougher if you haven’t had much practice at it. And since sales development has a reputation of being a point of entry for many newbies in the workforce (even though it’s a quite rigorous role) the sales development interview process for the role is an interesting one.
For the interviewee — whether new to the workforce, or a vet on the scene with just a new interest in a sales career — it has to start with the knowledge of the SDR role, and an understanding of why you’d be a good fit for it. And for the interviewer, it encompasses a territory of, for lack of better terms, weeding out candidates who just aren’t right for the job.
So how does either party prepare? What interview questions uncover core values, whether or not a person is the best fit for a company, and, most specifically, whether or not a person is the the best fit for the role? While there’s no silver bullet to finding the right match, these questions are some of our go-tos that may help you, the interviewer or interviewee, prepare for the process:
A seemingly simple question — but one with an endless possibility of answers. If this is your first interview for a sales role of any kind, why are you here? What lead you to believe that sales was the right industry for you? The broadness of this question opens up the opportunity to talk about the current climate of the industry, and how you fit into that environment today.
Why Salesloft (or insert company name)?
Contrary to popular belief, not all sales organizations are the same. Salesloft definitely isn’t like any other sales organization. We’re unique and we want to know that you know that. It’s not a trick question — it’s a way to see if you were proactive enough to not only do the research ahead of the interview, but also to see how you perceive the company from your perspective.
Did you work throughout high school and/or college?
This question (as well as a few more in this list) was inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player, where the interviewer is trying to uncover a person’s hunger for success. Did you have hobbies or sports that took hard work and sacrifice? What kind of work outside of school required you to learn the value of dedication and discipline? Even if the answer is “no,” there has to be a reason that indicates your understanding of a work ethic.
What’s the hardest you’ve ever worked on anything?
Similar to the question above, this question is meant to uncover two things: your passion and your understanding of what qualifies as hard work. I remember this question was phrased to me once as, “what was your greatest accomplishment?” The answer to this comes from memories of striving for something that meant a great deal to you, and the work that it took to get there. And even if it wasn’t an accomplishment that was achieved, share how you learned from the failure.
What are you looking for in a company? What are you expecting from your manager?
Are you looking for a company with a strong dedication to core values? Are you looking for a manager with a devotion to your career growth? Knowing what aspects of a work environment and work relationships makes you eager to either leave the job you’re in, or join a company like this one helps both parties determine pretty quickly whether or not it’s a good fit.
Tell me about your current team. What do you like? What don’t you like?
Similar to the question above (are you sensing a pattern?) this question is meant to derive a sense of a person’s expectations of a work environment, and more importantly, what they prioritize in that environment. Are you a natural leader in group settings, or do you prefer to take a task list and just run it down one by one on your own? It’s okay if you’re not both. The focus here is on well-rounded teams rather than well-rounded people, and it’s good to know where you fit into the mix.
How do you see your current skill set fitting into the SDR role?
The role of an SDR is not as “entry level” as it leads many to believe. It’s rigorous and often high-pressure, as SDRs are the ambassadors of an organization. Recognizing the skills required to succeed in this role, and then having the self-awareness to recognize those skills within yourself is not only crucial to the role, but your happiness in it if you DO get the job.
What is your greatest weakness?
Speaking of trick questions… We all know this one. The key to nailing this one? DO NOT GIVE A TRICK ANSWER. “I just work too hard” and “I’m always too early to things” isn’t impressing anyone — in fact, it’s doing just the opposite. No one is perfect, but only the humble can admit that without shaking their overall self-confidence. Take this chance to show a little humility, and, as Lencioni says, don’t be afraid to show something real.
How would you describe your personality?
It’s no coincidence that this question lands last. By this point in the interview, the conductor most likely has formed somewhat of an opinion of the kind of personality you have — so this is a very real moment for self-awareness. The only way to prepare for this question as an interviewee is to just try to hone in on the kind of person, teammate, and worker you are. As long as you’ve been honest with your answers above, this question just serves as a confirmation that your perception of your personality aligns with what you’re presenting to others.
The key, really, throughout the entire interview process is to be honest. If you’re not, odds are the interview will go one of two ways:
- The interviewer will pick up on your dishonesty and you won’t get the job.
- You’ll fool the interviewer and you’ll end up in a job that isn’t the right fit for you.
Unfortunately, both outcomes lead to unhappiness in the long run. If your goal (and let’s face it — you wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t) is to find the right fit, then happiness is a huge part of that.
“About one-third of human life is spent working. That’s about 30% of your life that you could spend doing a job you hate with people that don’t inspire you. Could you imagine? For most people, that’s their reality. But for a very very precious few, work is much more than that.”
Salesloft is a company that believes in an integrated life, and core values that drive people to do more and become more both on teams and within their individual careers. Find a place that makes you feel inspired to be your authentic self, and more than likely, they’ll recognize that desire and openness in you.
Want to learn more about the role of a Sales Development Rep? Download our free Sales Development Playbook today.