SDR interview questions and answers

one person having an interview, being interviewed by another one, sitting at the table and interviewing

Sales development representatives are in high demand. What kind of SDR interview questions can you expect? A good company has high expectations, too. Let us guide you through some typical SDR interview questions.

The Hiring Process

The role of a sales development representative is nowadays marked by a short tenure. An average SDR spends approximately one and a half years in one company. This induces an ongoing and accelerated hiring process. Most companies outsource it to recruiting agencies. This blog post is related to SDR interview questions only, but you can also check other interviews which are company related, like Google, Amazon, IBM, and others.
A screening call can come within 24 hours after you’ve sent an application. If you pass the first check, you’ll be invited to a series of personal interviews. That can happen within the next two weeks. If not, it is probably a sign to move on to the next application.
During an SDR interview, a candidate will be asked about his personal motivation, level of independence, teamwork readiness, experience, and skills.
HR managers examine a general fittingness for the company. The sales bosses put under scrutiny specific qualities that are essential for a sales career. Here is the list.

1. Would you give me a 90 seconds self-pitch?

In the first place, any recruiter looks if a candidate can sell himself.
In this part, you can be very personal. It is also a good chance to highlight your past successes and your unique approach to overcoming difficulties. You may mention something very specific about your interests, like a rare and creative hobby or your sport achievements.

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2. Would you pitch to me our product in a “voice-mail-length”?

Some recruiters would just ask some more banal questions, like “Why this company?”. They try to find out if you did some research about the firm before coming to the interview.
Indeed, as an SDR, you need to sell anything. And you surely can. But different products require different sales techniques. An experienced HR wants to get evidence that you understand it too.

3. Would you give me a few reasons for loving a sales job? 

Money, reputation, promotion are all external motivators. A clever recruiter aims to identify your internal drives. If you are not passionate about your job, no salary will enhance your performance.
Your personality should match with the profession. Try to show it in your answer. Don’t hesitate to speak about an emotional part of your job, but remember to stay positive.

4. What are your main learnings from your biggest (sales) failure?

Sales development rep is a tough job. You have to handle misfortunes and setbacks. Companies want to see your learning ability and “coachability”. It includes your acceptance of mistakes.
In your answer, try to show that you are prepared for negative feedback. But also try to show your way of independent learning, your ability to go back to an unsuccessful situation and see it from a new perspective.

5. What are your actions after being rejected by a prospect?

This question derives from the previous one. It examines your ability to utilize your learnings. In your answer, you should propose a step-by-step plan B.
It can be very convincing if you illustrate this part with a particular example. Avoid general statements, stay focused and practical.
Your counterpart still needs some proof that you will fit to their sales culture. Try to come up with an authentic sales style, but don’t exaggerate it.

6. Who is your perfect boss? 

Another important check is about you and your future boss being a match. Of course, it is hardly possible to forecast, what he or she is like. Still, try to describe some objectively positive characteristics. For instance, that you expect a supervisor, who would trust you.
Do not hang on “don’ts.” That can leave an impression that you are actually a difficult person.

7. What does your perfect team look like? 

Apart from your boss, you have to fit into an existing team.
Basically, an employer expects an SDR candidate to be competitive. Nevertheless, this should not harm the teamwork. To avoid misunderstandings, simply concentrate on your role in a dream team. And even if you almost desperately need a job, try to stay honest. If the company is not the right one for you, just let it be.

8. What stands behind your sales success?

This question invites you to talk about your professional strengths, and it’s one of the most often ones when SDR interview questions are considered. Try to outline your most successful and challenging cases. Highlight, why they were tricky, and how you still managed to win them.
Talking about your achievements as an SDR, add a couple of words about you being highly motivated for the job. Convince your counterpart that you are a born SDR!
You can learn more by reading this blog post which is essentially a shortened version of “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracy.

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9. How do you check that a prospect is qualified?

Here a recruiter wants to dig deeper into your professional skills. He or she needs to make sure that you won’t just stick to some simple metrics, like the number of phone calls per day. But that you are really goal-oriented and can estimate a probability that a prospect becomes a customer.
This question may come up later in the application process. Particularly, when you meet your potential boss or a colleague.

10. Do you have any questions for me?

At first glance, this sounds like a bare politeness. But this inquiry can hide more intention than you think.
Its aim is to check if you are a motivated candidate. If yes, the interview would raise more questions. And if it’s done so, do not hesitate to ask them. A good company that has no hire-and-fire policy, would only appreciate it.

Final Notes

SDRs are in the highest demand now. Still, companies, where you can get promoted, extend your skills, feel safe and satisfied, are rare. They are also strict in selecting their new employees.
Consequently, the interviewers may put you under the microscope. Think of the application process as of a sales cycle. Stay objective and self-confident. Follow the style and tone that your counterparts bring to the interview. It helps to persuade them in your fitness with the company’s culture.
Convince them that you are the best product on the entire job market!

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Author: Ilija Mladenovic
Other than creative writing, solving problems is my passion.