Sales Interview Answers About Strengths and Weaknesses
Perhaps the most anticipated – and dreaded – questions that are asked in sales interviews are those which ask you to list your strengths and weaknesses. There’s a fine line to walk when answering each of these questions. How do you list your strengths without sounding like you are bragging? And, how do you list your weaknesses without raising red flags with your interviewer(s)? Below are sample sales interview answers about strengths and weaknesses that will help you to navigate these sticky questions.
Acing an Interview for a Job in Sales
If you want to get a great sales job, you’ll have to learn how to knock the sales interview out of the park. Sure, an interview is critical in landing most jobs. It’s a way for a potential employer to get to know you and what you’d be like to work for. However, for salespeople, the job interview is also a test of your selling skills. Can you sell yourself as the best candidate for this job?
And just because you are a sales representative who can write a comprehensive resume doesn’t mean you can actually sell. It's an employer's job to determine whether or not you would be successful in a role as salesperson at their company.
The interviewer will be carefully observing your communication skills to determine if you’re the kind of person who will be able to close deals with the company’s customers. At the same time, the interviewer will be asking questions to learn more about your sales track record and professional accomplishments.
Most sales interviews also rely heavily on behavioral interview questions, and this means that the hiring manager will want to explore your ability in the key areas needed for success in a sales job such as your ability to persuade, your presentation skills, your persistence, etc.
But perhaps the two most common questions are, "What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?" The trick in answering these questions is really to understand how one’s strengths and weaknesses often arise from a single character trait – one’s weaknesses are the “shadow” side of one’s strengths.
If you can confidently “label” the personal characteristic responsible for both your successes and failures (be it “perfectionism” or “optimism” or “determination” or “competitiveness”), you will be able to demonstrate a self-awareness and maturity that will impress your interviewers.
Sample Answers About Strengths and Weaknesses
Here are sample sales interview answers about strengths and weaknesses.
- I would say that my greatest strength is my ability to follow through. In sales, I have found that I am most successful when I pay attention to every piece of the sales cycle, from the first contact to the “thank you” at the completion of the sale. The shadow side of this strong detail orientation is my tendency to overthink a situation, which is probably my most serious weakness. I sometimes take too much time to strategize on a sale and find in the end that my initial plan was the one that was the best.
- My greatest strength is my organizational ability. I like to plan out the sales cycle to the letter and follow it through. My greatest weakness is related to my greatest strength because I would say that when my plan needs to change, I can be a little bit inflexible.
- My greatest strength is my ability to think on my feet. I am very flexible in my approach to my sales and am able to work with many different kinds of customers at once. My weakness is that sometimes I don't plan things out as well as I should, and end up reacting to things as they come up.
- My greatest strength as a rain maker is my competitiveness – which is why I also excelled as an athlete in high school and college. Nothing invigorates me like a race to the finish; I love the challenge of trying to consistently earn annual ranking in a company’s President’s Circle. I’ve learned, though, that no one becomes a top achiever without the help of the rest of the team. My weakness is that I’ve sometimes judged other team members when we’ve fallen short of a goal, so now I try to focus on motivating and supporting my team rather than just expecting them to follow my lead.
Job interviews don’t have to be frightening. Remember that interviews are golden opportunities to both sell your skills and talents and also to learn more about the company you have approached for a job. With the right interview preparation and follow-through, you will be ready to rise above your competition and land the job that is perfect for you.