Companies often seek wolves from Wall Street, but keep getting stuck with weak sales reps who rarely hit their sales quota while working banker’s hours most days. Do you want a real leader for your staff or just a manager? We know that a bad hire could be like poison to your business. In this article, we’ll provide a hands-on guide on hiring a good salesperson without extra steps, neverending interviews, and hassle.

When is the right time to hire a salesperson?

It’s no secret that great sales reps empower their co-workers and other departments, set clear expectations, and hit their goals helping companies get better revenue.

Take care of the people, the products, and the profits — in that order.

– Ben Horowitz

Remember that no one will ever have as much compassion for your business and your product as you do. This is why most business owners put themselves through the sales process and start their public activity by being the face of their company. They handle promoting-selling-communication before they even think about hiring a sales manager. However, when you’ve found your product-market fit and understood there are more than 5 customers to handle, it’s a clear sign that you need help in sales.

With some experience in the sales process, you will have a clear idea of what it’s like to sell to your customers, which in turn, will help you define who you need to hire to bring success to the company. Before getting the ball rolling and getting hundreds of applications, consider downloading a handy CRM for Gmail to keep applications from multiple sources together and never lose a single CV.

How to Hire the Right Salesperson: Guide

Step 1: Define the ideal candidate profile

Only you know what to look for to spot the difference between a good salesperson and a great one. There are no silver bullets or universal guides, but there are certain characteristics to focus on:


There are multiple ways to find out if a salesperson is passionate about the industry he’s going to work in, and your company in particular. Maintain a good conversation with a lot of questions to unveil the kind of sales experience (not how many years he has been operating in Sales), his tone of voice, emotions, consistency in performance, etc. If he has a passion for your industry or company that goes beyond his salary expectations, he will probably be a good hire.


Are they growth-driven? The salesperson you hire must be interested in your company evolution and actively initiate improvements. A good sales rep has a strong wish to help the company grow while growing themselves.


A good salesperson takes responsibility and owns his mistakes.

People are making mistakes all the time –that’s not a problem. But if they start blaming others for it and never accept their own mistakes – it becomes a problem. Sales reps need to be humble and should admit if they are wrong because it’s the only road to a healthy company culture.

Step 2: Setting up criteria

Though a search for the right salesperson can take time, a rushed hire can lead to additional staff turnover and missed opportunity costs. Here are the main hiring criteria to consider:


Your ideal candidate must have the abilities and qualifications to do the job you’re hiring him to do. If you operate in a retail niche, but your candidate doesn’t have a clue what the retail is and never bothered to google before his job interview, it’s a red flag. Even if he did bother to read everything about retail, you need to consider the learning curve that is involved.


Assess the value that an individual brings to the organization: are you getting the most expertise for your money? If you want to hire a good salesperson on the cheap just because he or she is looking for a job, he will end up leaving your team as soon as a better offer comes along. Pay people what their jobs are worth. If the person doesn’t have the desired experience, but you clearly see they have potential and networking capabilities, you can invest in them and grow them into the sales professional within your organization.

Cultural Fit

An unloyal, disruptive employee can do tremendous damage to your customer relationships and morale inside the sales team. Employees spend a lot of hours in their work environment, so ensure that this environment won’t become uncomfortable with the appearance of a new sales rep. We can find out a lot about a person through the interview process and by browsing their social channels.

Step 3: Write a compelling job description

Writing an attention-grabbing yet thorough job description for the sales rep vacancy is crucial for further engagement with qualified candidates. Here are a few job posting tips to consider:

  • Make job titles as specific as possible. Don’t write that you’re seeking the “Wolf from Wall Street” or “Revenue booster”. The more accurate your title, the more relevant and qualified job seekers it will attract.
  • Write a captivating summary. Provide the company overview that will get sales reps excited about their role and the company.
  • Include the essentials. Write the Salesperson core responsibilities, desired hard and soft skills, tell more about their day-to-day activities, and explain the value of this position for the organization.
  • Be concise. According to the stats by Indeed, job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters are receiving up to 30% more applications.

Step 4: Recruit candidates

Did you know that 75% of candidates check out a company’s reputation even before applying for a job? What’s more, if they don’t like what they see, 69% of them won’t apply – even if they are currently unemployed! If your current employer branding strategy is stuck in the “occasional-post-if-someone-has-time” rut, consider investing time in building trust and the reputation of your company.

Employer brand describes an employer’s reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition, as opposed to the more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers.


Keeping your company attractive to employees will make the recruitment process cheaper and faster. The stats show that building a good reputation is more important than abandoning the company culture and just pay more.

Top Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

Robert Sutton, the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, once said: “No one wants to do the dirty work, but it’s a boss’ lot in life to deal with difficult issues”. And we can’t agree more. There aren’t only rainbows in your owner horizon: in fact, you’re the only one who should oversee the weather warning. We gathered seven major mistakes that employers face while hiring a salesperson.

Mistake #1: Unclear Job Description

You can’t hire the perfect salesperson if you don’t know who you want. The most common hiring mistake is to announce you’re hiring without even determining the essentials of the job position and writing a decent job description. If you’re expecting that the right sales rep will know what to do in your company from the first second of his working day, you’re wrong.

Before ever putting the word out that you’re hiring, define the clear duties the job will involve, required skills and experience,who the person will report to and the type of personality that will cooperate well with your business goals. Based on the specifications you created, the job posting will reflect your business peculiarities and will help you narrow your choice, attracting qualified candidates who understand the role.

Mistake #2: Putting Up Your Time Resources Entirely on Interviews

When you start planning your interviews with sales managers, plan the amount of candidates you’d like to interview at each stage, and how long the interviews will take. If you leave it to chance, you can end up having 6 interviews a day/ 5 days a week. Your productivity will drop, you’ll feel exhausted and will probably hate mankinkind at the end of this marathon.
Invest some time in planning interviews and set up clear time limits. As a general rule of thumb, an interview should last around 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes, even a 30-minute discussion can lead to productive cooperation, but going under 30 minutes could be a bad sign for the candidate meaning he’s unfit for the position

Mistake #3: Too Wide of a Candidate Pool

The giddiest move entrepreneurs make is posting the job everywhere and attracting candidates from way too many sources at a time.

If you write a comprehensive yet specific job description, you can attract candidates who are, hopefully, the most suitable for the job you offer. But sometimes, entrepreneurs get stuck with CVs, weeding through the applications that stray too far away from the original job description. If you will carefully evaluate every CV of a salesperson, you will never find the right one for your business and will never get through the process. With a clear job description and requirements, you may do an initial screen, comparing applications to your description and removing all irrelevant applications. If the person ignores your requirements from the start, you can only predict when he will ignore you next.

Use CRM software in your recruitment process not only to organize and personalize the communication process of candidates but also to improve the candidate experience.

Mistake #4: Not Preparing for the Job Interview

Yes, the salesperson is not the only one who’s expected to come fully prepared for the interview. Even though you may have gone through dozens of job interviews before finding the right employee, you’ll need to prepare well before each one. Review the sales rep resume, and define the most interesting or controversial parts to prepare tailored questions. Remember, a poor job interview can change the employee’s mind about the company:

Mistake #5: Not Checking References

Finding the perfect employee isn’t easy, and when you finally see the sales representative who might be the perfect fit for your business goals, it’s so tempting to skip the seemingly unnecessary step of checking their references. It’s one of the most common and painful hiring mistakes you can make and certainly the one you’ll want to avoid by all means. The stories about sales reps stealing the customer base or being quite a grumpy person are not that rare. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but checking references can help you form valuable insight into the sales rep’s background and predict his behavior in your business.

Mistake #6: Evaluate Personality, Not Skills

Liking everyone at work is nice, but tripling revenue is nicer. There’s no point of rounding yourself with good people and slowing down in your evolution. Hiring the strongest, smartest, and fearless salesperson is more important than hiring the one that laughs at your jokes. Don’t hire solely based on those who are similar to you or you feel comfortable with: diverse personalities can provide greater value and dynamics to deal with different customers. They will deal with customers that drive you crazy more efficiently. Synchronize the key values and start making great stuff together.

Mistake #7: Seeking the Unicorn Sales Rep

We remember that we were the one that advised you to imagine your perfect sales representative: his experience and skills, leadership capability and more. But the person who might close every sale in your dreams doesn’t necessarily exist in reality. The chances of finding that perfect sales representative are extremely low, but the chances of missing a diamond in the rough because of your strict selection process are high. Keep a healthy balance: stop skipping over suitable sales reps to find the Wolf from Wall Street, they are usually formed inside organizations. Make sure to understand the gap between your wish and need: hire people with potential and help them grow with the right motivation and encouragement.

In the 00’s the recruitment process could take months, and could cost thousands of dollars. With a mindful approach, you can find your perfect sales rep sooner.

Do you have sales hiring tips to share?

The article was originally posted on Nethunt blog.

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