Behavioral Questions

A behavioral question is one that determines how you have dealt with something in the past.   The reason they are asked is that it has been determined that past performance is a good  indicator of how a candidate will perform in the future.

Here are a few examples:


  • Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
  • Give me an example of a goal you set and didn’t achieve.
  • Describe a stressful situation with a co-worker and how you handled it
  • How do you handle challenge
  • What do you do if you disagree with a co- worker


The best way to answer most behavioral questions is using the STAR method which stands for:

S)Situation-state the situation

T)Task-state the task you were given

A)Action-state the action you took


You state the situation or the task, the action you took and the result.

Practice this so that you can answer any question thrown at you fluently.   You will be able take the negative questions and turn them to a positive.  Using the above example of – Give me an example of a goal you set and didn’t achieve.   S)My manager challenged me with becoming Rookie of the Year. T) I then in turn set a goal for doing just that  A) I executed on the plan and finished the year at 130% to plan however I came in number 2 by someone who did 135% of plan R)  I missed the goal, but it was still a pretty positive result.  Looking back if I had just done a little bit more I would have been number 1.

There are hundreds of questions that can be asked this way.  We encourage to to have several examples that you can spin no matter how the questions are asked.

Some examples of behavioral questions that can’t be answered this way would be:


  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What is your sales process?


The latter question is a very important one.   We ask very experience sales reps on a daily basis this question.  Many struggle with the question.  We encourage you to be able to articulate your process.  The sales person that can, and is then able to compare it to the company they are interviewing with, usually gets the job.  How do you get your prospects


  • Explain to me what you do in a typical day
  • Are you a feature function benefit salesperson or are you a consultative sales person and why?
  • Are you a Hunter or a Farmer and why?


All of these are questions you should be prepared to answer quickly, clearly and concisely without hesitation.

Scenario Questions

A scenario question wants you to answer a sequence of events or a possible course of action. The goal of the interviewer is to determine your critical thinking skills and how you would approach a problem.

Here are some examples:


  • Could you tell me about yourself?
  • Could you give me a brief summary of your experience in your latest positions?
  • How would you compare your ability to the company requirements for this position?
  • What are your short term goals?
  • What are your long term goals?
  • How would you approach an under achieving territory?


There are no magic formula for answering scenario questions.  The best way is to listen to the question carefully and state in a concise clear response without rambling.  You can also look at a a variety of these questions prior to the interview an formulate your answers in advance. i.e. what are your goals?

Asking the right questions

We can’t tell you the number of times we get told by hiring managers ” I asked the candidate if they had any questions and he said no”. This is usually where the candidate ends there journey in the interview process.

Here are examples of some good general questions to ask:


  • Could you describe the candidate you are looking for?
  • What is your management style?
  • What is the company’s management style?
  • How does one advance?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What does the typical day look like?
  • How does the company differentiate itself?
  • What is your background?
  • How long have you been here?
  • What did you do before this?
  • What happened to the previous sales representative in this territory?


Here are examples of Final Interview or VP level questions? (these are in addition to closing questions)


  • Could you share with me your strategic view of where you see the company going?
  • How did you get to where you are at?
  • I know the company prides itself in X and Y, so what would you say is the most important aspect of your culture
  • What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this position