A protege reported to me about a series of
interviews she enjoyed in which she explored
a career in sales.
Sales is a fast paced area where relationships,
business acumen and technical breadth are
critical. Where academic roles seem to evolve
more slowly, with a lot of longer term logistical
planning, business moves fast. An information
interview on Friday can lead to a screening
interview on the following Tuesday. An onsite
interview with HR and the hiring manager could
come less than a week later. And many more
getting-to-know-you meetings over meals and
related to traveling to sites coming quickly after.
She shared some of the questions she faced and
asked. Highlights of them (besides questions
that occur in most interviews about goals and
why should we hire you) are:
-Why do I want to go from research and into
-What about my research background will help
me in sales?
-Have I used their products?
-How would I go about getting a sale?
-What do I like/dislike about a salesperson?
-Take me through your resume…
-Tell me about a time when you went above and
beyond your responsibilities? What happened?
-When is your confidence high? Low?
-When was I competitive? What happened?
-Describe a situation when I was persistent?
Questions asked of interviewers:
-What is a typical day like?
-Why do you like working for COMPANY NAME?
-What is the retention rate?
-What is it that I can do to help you succeed (Hiring
An “aha moment” if there ever was one!