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Interview questions to ask a vp of sales

interview questions to ask a vp of sales

VP of Operations Interview Questions

As a leadership search firm, Y Scouts often interviews people for VP of Operations roles. We examine a number of things throughout our evaluations, with special emphasis on Purpose, Values, Functional Expertise, Results, Personnel Development and Learning. Learn more about our process here.

What VP of Operations interview questions do we ask, and what do other entrepreneurs ask their candidates? We decided to ask our Leadership Community what their favorite question to ask a potential new hire looking for a VP of Operations role, and why? Here’s the summary.

What is the one thing you would change about the company if you could today?
I love to ask this question to find out how much they’ve thought about my business. The answer isn’t super important. What is important is that it is thoughtful.

Tell me about your communication skills.
I generally like to question their communication skills. If someone’s going to lead the operations of my organization, they have to know how to effectively communicate with the leadership team, customers, and direct reports. Exceptional communication skills are a must for any VP of Operations.

What has motivated you in your career?
This interview question helps identify the journey and their sense of purpose. Most interview candidates who are trying to blow smoke will be more than happy to give you a syllabus of their resume. But the rare and special candidates are usually the ones that answer with something simple and impactful like, “Let me tell you why…”

How would you reorganize and restructure an organization that the company wanted to take in a completely new direction?
If they can’t answer, they may not be the right choice.

Tell me about the teams you’ve directly managed, and how you built them.
If they can’t describe how they’ve built and managed a team, chances are they probably can’t build and manage your operations.

What will my revenues look like 120 days after I hire you?
See if they can explain what will happen, but more importantly, how it will happen. There are many wrong answers to this question, but never a correct one.

What are ten things you can do with duct tape?
Great sales people get creative and see multiple uses for your product depending on the customer. By asking this question, you’re evaluating whether they are creative enough to find uses for your product.

What is your greatest flaw in your leadership style?
If they can’t be honest about themselves, how can you expect them to be honest about your company?

We’re on track to miss our target this quarter, you’re the VP of Ops and have 30 days, what are you going to do?
Evaluate how they operate.

Can you please tell me in your own words what we do?
This question quickly separates individuals who are committed and passionate to our vision from those who are simply looking for a job. We find that our best hires have thoroughly researched us, determined the general and specific impact(s) they could have on the organization, and expressed this to us confidently in their first interview.

What VP of Operations interview questions have you been asked? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin. To learn more about the beliefs we have Y Scouts, click here.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a VP of Operations:
– When to Hire a VP of Operations
– What to Look For in a VP of Operations
– 10 VP of Operations Interview Questions
– What to Pay your VP of Operations
– How To Hire a VP of Operations

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

10 VP Of Operations Interview Questions September 25th, 2015Yscouts

Salespeople not only conduct face-to-face meetings with potential clients, but help formulate marketing strategies and campaigns. Hiring the right vice president of sales to lead the sales team at a corporate level means this individual must understand your business, know how to sell himself and, most importantly, guide individuals and teams toward success.

Discuss Alignment Issues

Sales is the force that executes the strategies laid down by the marketing department. They are the "boots on the ground" that makes the initiatives work. It's highly important the prospective vice president have a strong track record in ensuring sales and marketing initiatives mesh well. The vice presidents of marketing and sales need to work well together. This concept of "fit" is all important when prospecting candidates. Asking the candidate to "describe a recent sales successful execution of a marketing campaign" should give you an idea of where this person's strengths and understanding of this issue lies. Pay close attention to the smoothness in his response, demonstrating a clear vision of how this process works.

Ask a question such as "what you do think we need in terms of sales force size?" Follow up with "what do you think are improvements we can make in our sales efforts?"


Finding out what the prospective vice president plans to do to improve your bottom line is all-important. After all, that's what a sales team is for -- driving revenue and maintaining it. Ask your prospect what he envisions revenue to look like within a predetermined time -- 90 to 120 days out are fair timetables. Although his answer is unlikely to be extraordinarily accurate, if it's too low or unreasonably high the candidate is either trying to keep the bar low or is fluffing his talents. Compare his response to his track record, as expressed on his resume. A talented salesperson or sales vice president candidate will have these enumerated on his work history.

Customer Lifecycle

Successful salespeople know that it's not just one deal that's important -- it's maintaining the relationship so the customer becomes a loyal client.

Good sales experiences drive consumers from prospects to brand advocates. Asking the prospective VP what he thinks the organization should do to enhance or improve the lifecycle is core to his guidance of the sales team and driving revenue improvements.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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