4 Valuable Interview Questions to Test a Sales Candidate’s EQ

There are plenty of important questions to consider when interviewing a person for your sales team. But as important as raw sales numbers and relevant experiences can be, it’s also essential that your sales team has emotional intelligence (EQ) to boot.


Yes, we’re talking about EQ again, but hear me out—I wouldn’t keep coming back to it if it wasn’t that important.


I’ve already written about how salespeople can improve their own EQ, but as a sales leader, it’s essential that you develop the ability to quickly and accurately recognize whether or not a particular sales contender has a high EQ.


After all, sales can be a high-stress environment, and a salesperson’s ability to navigate that stress, while building positive relationships with prospects can make or break their work.


In fact, believe it or not, salespeople with a high EQ have been found to be twelve times as likely to be successful in the workplace.


So, with all of this in mind, how do you test a sales applicant’s EQ during an interview? No worries, help is on the way—the following four questions can help you identify the cream of the EQ crop:


1) ‘Did you build any lasting friendships at your last job? If so, with whom, and how would you describe it?’


No, this doesn’t mean that your sales people all need to get drinks together after work every day, but creating friendships with one’s coworkers is a clear indicator of a high EQ.


Not only does the ability to build friendships in a working environment reveal that the person you’re interviewing prioritizes caring about others, but it could also potentially have a huge impact on the success of your team later on.


Having friends at work has been directly connected with improved productivity, a stronger commitment to getting quality results and better morale in the workplace.


The simple act of hiring an individual who can build friendships with other team members can improve both employee retention and your bottom line.


2) ‘Imagine, You’ve been tasked with launching a new company. As such, what 3 values are you building it around, and why?’


More often than not, good relationships are built on shared values and trust.


This type of question can help you better understand which attributes a potential employee values the most—and subsequently, weed out anyone whose priorities don’t match your own.


This isn’t to say that an interviewee’s answers need to perfectly align with your top values, but the answer to this question can give you a clearer understanding of their priorities.


3) ‘It can be anything, I want you to teach me something new right here, right now.’


Okay, so this isn’t exactly phrased as a question, but you get the idea …


Asking an interviewee to explain something new to you can give you clear insights into the way they communicate with others, especially prospects.


And just so you know, it really doesn’t matter what they try to teach you …


They could even explain how the Pokémon Go works—at this point, you’re not concerned so much with what they’re teaching, but how they’re teaching it.


For example, when faced with this question, candidates with a strong EQ will generally take some time to organize their thoughts before attempting to teach you something.


This time spent organizing ideas into an outline can help you understand whether or not they will be organized and focused in the workplace.


This teaching moment can also help you gauge a candidate’s ability to explain a topic clearly and easily, as well as whether or not they ask questions to ensure comprehension—both attributes that can play a big role in sales success.


4) ‘Seeing as how nobody’s perfect, what’s the biggest sales skill you currently lack, and why do you think it’s important?’


This is without a doubt one of the most feared questions that any interviewee will face, and that’s exactly why it is so important …


Everyone loves talking about how great they are, but getting them to talk about their weaknesses can give you a much greater insight into their EQ.


As great as it would be to have a candidate without any weaknesses, we all know this isn’t realistic. Because of this, people who struggle to come up with any weaknesses are the ones you should probably question the most.


Think about it—openness regarding one’s weaknesses typically not only reveals honesty, but also a desire to continue learning and improving. You’ll get better results from someone who is consistently trying to improve their work than from someone who thinks they know it all.




I’m not saying that these are the only questions you’ll need to determine someone’s EQ, but with these questions in your interview arsenal, you’ll be much better equipped to evaluate an applicant’s EQ and make the best hire.


Ready to take all of this to the next level? My recent posting on using EQ as your best recruitment tool will equip you with ways to get your hands on the best of the best sales talent.


But enough about me and my advice—I want to hear from you! What other questions do you ask to determine a job candidate’s EQ? Have these or any other questions helped you avoid a disastrous hire?


As always, share with me your sales hiring secrets in the comments section below! Until then, thanks for reading, and have a great day!


-Amy Volas


Note, this was originally featured on LinkedIn