Top Job Interview Questions for Insurance Salespeople

You may be asked about cold calling, your sales pitch and meeting quotas

Businesswoman welcoming man to meeting
••• Morsa Images / Getty Images

The key to landing any job is to prepare to answer questions that are likely to come up during the application process. If you’re interviewing for a job as an insurance salesperson, that means being ready to talk about your sales technique and to demonstrate knowledge of the industry and the company.

All job interviews are at least partly a sales pitch, but sales jobs are doubly so. You can expect to be required to display your skills by “closing the sale,” so to speak. This is your opportunity not only to show off your acumen and familiarity with the job, but also to demonstrate how you’d interact with clients and colleagues.

The more you can find out about the company culture before the interview, the better you’ll be able to show that you’re a good fit for the team. Some organizations may push their salespeople to be more aggressive, for example, or they may prize sellers who demonstrate a high degree of skill with sales management software. If you can learn more about the challenges facing the organization before you head in to the interview, you can make a better case for yourself as the candidate who will solve their problems.

Background, Strengths, and Experience

Your prospective employer will want to know a lot about your background and experience. Expect to answer questions about cold calling, meeting sales goals, your motivation and passion for the job, and your strengths and weaknesses.

The interviewer will also want to know what to expect out of you as a worker. Their aim will be to determine whether you’re likely to be successful as a member of the team and organization. Be prepared to answer questions about what you've done in the past. A few examples: 

  • “How would you meet your quotas or bring in sales?”
  • “How long would you expect to stay in sales if hired?”
  • “How do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work as a salesman?”

They'll probably want to know why you personally are suited for a sales environment and how much time you would ideally spend in an office. Again, it’s important to know what will be required in this particular job. You may also be asked to rate how trainable you are and what you think you're worth. Be prepared to discuss the contributions to profits that you've made to justify your salary request.

Finally, your interviewer may even ask if you've ever been fired. Be honest, especially if it was in the recent past and they'll likely find out. Be prepared to share your side of the story without dwelling on the past. Disclose how you've learned from the experience and grown into a better employee.

Industry Knowledge

Knowing your industry will make you a much better salesperson than if you're clueless about the insurance field. With this in mind, expect your interviewer to ask you questions such as, “Which drivers will influence the market in the next 18 months?”

The interviewer might also expect you to know information specifically about the company in question. For example, “What do you think is a typical day in the life of an insurance salesman at the company?”

Be sure to study up on the company and say why you want to work there. You might also be asked to critique the company. But don't go overboard here. You want your criticism to be as constructive as possible. Maybe mention some areas in which the company could improve and how you're the right person to do so.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Working in insurance sales means that you have to be an effective communicator. That means interviewers will want to know if you can distinguish communication skills from listening skills. They'll also be likely to ask how you build relationships with clients and handle rejection. Be ready to share an experience you had dealing with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation.

And if you're a good communicator, you're likely to enjoy cold calling, so be prepared to discuss that. Your prospective employer might also want you to share an effective method you have used to sell insurance.

Lastly, be ready for curveballs. For example, it’s not uncommon for interviewers to ask candidates to sell them something in 60 seconds or less, e.g., “Sell me this pen.” Practice demonstrating your sales technique so that you can impress when the time comes.