Interview Guides

Business Development or Outside Sales Rep Interview Guide

This interview guide for Business Development or Outside Sales Rep roles will help you to quickly identify which candidates should be on your shortlist. By asking these Sales interview questions and assessing answers against the indicators provided, which will help you determine better which are the high performing candidates.

To be effective, however, these Sales interview questions need to be utilised early in the recruitment process to ensure only high performing candidates make it onto your shortlist and attend the final face to face interviews.

One way of utilising them is to assess candidates earlier in the process by Video Interview. It allows you to make sure all candidates are asked the same key interview questions. Video Interview allows you to identify high performing candidates earlier in the recruitment process. This means you can be confident that all the candidates you meet face to face have the skills required to be successful in the role.

This guide was prepared by our Head of Assessment Design, Claire Crisp (BSc, MSc, C.Psychol).


  • Identifies develops and closes sales opportunities
  • Builds a wide network of contacts
  • Prepares compelling pitches and proposals
  • Aligns solutions to client needs
  • Produces accurate forecasts

Key Competencies Required


  • Persuasive Communication
  • Networking


  • Drive and Motivation
  • Resilience
  • Delivering Results
  • Negotiation

Interview Questions

Below are two Sales interview questions which will help you identify and eliminate those candidates who do not possess the persuasive communication and networking skills required to be successful in a Business Development or Outside Sales role. To support these Sales interview questions, we’ve prepared a rating system to help you evaluate a candidates’ answer.

  1. To assess Persuasive Communication“Tell me about a time when you have successfully persuaded a customer to follow your approach when they were initially unwilling. How specifically did you do this and what was the result?”
  2. To assess Networking“Give me an example of a time when you have proactively sought to network with a new contact. Why was this important and what approach did you take?”

How to assess: Persuasive Communication

A suitable candidate will communicate clearly and project credibility. They will use a variety of methods to persuade and convince others in a way that results in agreement and commitment.

Positive Behaviours54321Negative Behaviours
Communicates clearly and with credibilityCommunicates unclearly (e.g. mumbles) and lacks credibility
Articulates the benefits and value of their solution to gain buy-inDoes not articulate the benefits and value of their solution
Listens to others and responds to their views or concernsDismisses others’ views; fails to listen
Uses a variety of methods to persuade others; perseveres to gain agreementHas one method of persuasion; gives up easily if unsuccessful
Gains commitment to firm actions before closing discussionsCloses discussions without ensuring commitment

How to assess: Networking  

A suitable candidate will identify and build relationships which will help them to achieve their targets and goals. They will be a confident net-worker and use a variety of techniques to build and strengthen networks.

Positive Behaviours54321Negative Behaviours
Understands the importance of building networksUnderestimates the importance of building networks
Builds networks with people who will help them achieve targets / goalsNetworks indiscriminately; does not consider the worth of specific relationships
Networks through a range of techniques e.g. sharing useful information, attending events etc.Relies on a single networking technique; networks passively
Follows up on initial contact to establish an ongoing relationshipWastes initial contacts; does not establish a long-term relationship

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