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Sample Interview Questions

By: Matthew Strawbridge - Updated: 7 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Interview Sales And Marketing Job

It’s a difficult time to be looking for a management job in sales or marketing. Many companies are trying to cut expenses by letting staff go rather than growing by expanding their sales and marketing teams. This means that there are fewer vacancies available and more people applying for them.

The aim of this article is to give you a head start by presenting some sample questions – the sort of things you are likely to be asked when you attend an interview – and providing some suggestions about how you might go about answering them.

Interview Questions about Sales

  • How would you persuade a potential customer to choose our product?

This type of question is designed to investigate both your approach to sales and your knowledge of the company’s products. When preparing, thoroughly research the products or services you would be selling if you were successful, and how these compare with those of the main competitors.

  • In your current position, in a typical day, how much time do you spend communicating with prospects and customers?

The term “sales” is very broad, and different companies approach this area of their business in very different ways. In an interview for a sales job, the interviewers will try to find out whether your approach will fit in with their company culture. At the very least, you should prepare by getting a feel for the type of selling that you (or your team) would be doing? Will you have to suffer frequent rejections as you try to make a few high-value sales? Will there be lots of cold calling, or is it more about nurturing relationships with existing customers? The more you can find out in advance, the better.

Interview Questions about Marketing

  • Describe a time when you had to communicate complex information. What method did you use and how effective was it?

You are likely to face at least one question of this type, asking you about a specific marketing skill and how you have applied it in the past. A good way of preparing is to create two lists: a list of the marketing successes of which you are most proud and a list of skills that are important to your work. Then try linking each skill to one or more successes. Then, in the interview, you won’t have to think on your feet – you will get the opportunity to give a confident answer relating to your skills, and to impress the interviewers with your past triumphs.

  • Tell us about a recent marketing campaign run by our company and how this affected our brand.

If you are applying for a position at a large company, they will expect you to understand their brand identity and to recognise the ways in which it has been promoted in the past. Again, good preparation (and research) here will give you an advantage over lazier candidates.

Interview Questions about Management

  • What approach do you take to ensuring that your team is effective and motivated?

Management calls for a whole new set of skills over and above those needed by marketing and sales staff without these responsibilities. Interviewers are likely to question you about the following qualities, among others: leadership, delegation, mentoring, strategy, peacemaking and vision. Think about any great managers you have worked for, and try to adopt the tactics that were successful for them.

  • Describe a stressful situation you have been in and how you handled it.

A management role in sales and marketing can be very stressful. There are always targets to meet and unexpected problems along the way. You need to demonstrate that you are capable of working, and even thriving, under such pressure.

Presenting Yourself

A job interview is an opportunity to market yourself. This is obviously of particular importance in sales and marketing – if you can’t present yourself in a favourable light, who is going to trust you to represent their products and services to the public?

Because of this, it is important that you come across as smart, creative, confident (even if you’re not) and well prepared. The tips in this article should have helped you to get started. The rest is up to you.

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