How To Hire The Best Sales Reps


One of the most common challenges that sales leaders face is hiring sales reps who can consistently achieve top performance. Despite using a variety of different hiring techniques and methods, most organizations struggle to consistently hire sales reps that exceed their performance expectations. This is due to hiring mistakes that occur during the recruiting and interview process, which often lead to worse than expected performance from sellers that you hire. 

Below are some strategies you can implement that can help you hire the best sales reps for your team.

1. Know what qualities and characteristics make up your high performers.

We see someone who has achieved top performance at another organization and assume they will perform just as well in your organization, but that is not always the case. Understanding the behavioral qualities and characteristics of your current sales team can help you better evaluate new potential sales reps during the hiring process. A lot of hiring mistakes occur due to our inability to properly assess candidates. Even with several rounds of interviews and sales skills assessments, you end up with sellers who don’t deliver. One way to avoid this is by matching up the qualities and characteristics of your top performers with your potential sales candidates. As an example, your high performers may possess more independence instead of collaborative traits, meaning that you should look for independence during the hiring process. By knowing exactly what qualities lead to better performance for your team it increases the likelihood that you will hire the best performers.

2. Assess specific core competencies that are proven to drive performance.

It is critical that you know exactly what competencies work best for your sales team and that you test this with potential candidates during the hiring process. For example, on some sales teams, a sales reps ability to handle objections from prospects directly correlates with more revenue. If this is the case, you should make it a focus during the interview process to find candidates that are extremely good at handling rejection. All too often sales teams will have general sales assessments, and not focus on top core areas that are indicators of success in that role. It is critical that when using your sales assessments that you emphasize key core competencies when evaluating new sales candidates.

3. Have a formal interview question process. 

A lot of sales teams have several rounds of interviews with different members of their organization. The problem is that most interviewers don’t have a goal in mind of what they should be asking and don’t ask the right follow-up questions to really determine if they are an ideal candidate or not. As an example, let’s say that you have a sales culture that is extremely competitive. A lot of interviewers will ask a candidate if they are a competitive person without any follow up questions to make sure that the candidate isn’t simply telling you what you want to hear. Additionally, each interviewer should have a goal of what they are trying to assess about the candidate. For example, one person who is part of the hiring process should focus their interview on sales culture, while another should focus on better understanding a candidate’s core competencies.

4. Create a candidate scoring system to reduce indecisiveness.

It is common during the final stages of the interview process to have mixed opinions and indecision around certain candidates. This usually leads to inaction, which can result in delays during the hiring process. One way around this is to create a candidates scoring system that combines several different factors (interview ratings, sales assessment scores, behavioral assessments, etc.) that are relevant to your organization. By having a set score with a set target, it removes bias during the hiring process based on how they perform in each part of the interview process. We recommend that the scoring system be unique to the sales organization, as every team has a different set of factors that leads to high performance.