5 things to keep in mind when hiring salespeople

The most notable competencies to look for when hiring in a revenue organization are: Performance, Coaching Ability, Grit, Curiosity, and Culture. Let's go over each of these in more detail.


Knowing how the salesperson was positioned in his last job can help you analyze what kind of work he will do and how he will see himself in the future in his personal successes. Take into consideration what type of “sale” they worked in: ACV, time to close, segment, industry, size of the sales team, and composition of the sales team. Discuss their ramp time and what type of training they enjoy.

There are many adult learning methodologies, but find out if the rep comes from a well-established sales program or if they will have to figure things out and take responsibility for learning the complexities of the position.

One basic element to discover is how competitive this person is. We all know that competitiveness is a strong selling point to a large extent, and researching interest in sports, general competitions, and academic, athletic, or skill awards can be one way to assess this attribute.


Having a good foundation in sales knowledge, methodology, and how the candidate executes their sales process is standard. As you delve into training and practice, see how open this person adapts to learning, evolving, and being efficient.

Sales is a sport in which your competitors are always working at their craft. There is always something for improvement, such as building good relationships, increasing negotiation skills, or improving closing techniques. We should all want someone on our team who wakes up every day thinking about improving and growing their own skills and also increasing the strength of their team.


This is the hardest competency to screen for in candidates. Grit is a personality trait that is inherently either in a person or not. Some might call it the metaphorical fire in the belly. Sales is a grind and can be a struggle at times, but it’s the passion and perseverance to push through that makes salespeople emulate grit. 

It’s important to note that grit is different from performance. 

GRIT is one of the characteristics that best predict who will achieve a goal and who will not. Plus, it helps predict who will do the best. If someone asked you: Who is successful and why? The answer you would have to give would be ... "those with the most GRIT".

Performance is numbers-based, but having grit shows in the drive and mentality of getting to that number and far beyond.


How curious are they in the interview process? Are they asking more detailed questions than just the sales role?

For startups, you want someone to think about all aspects of the business. How can the product be improved? How Can Marketing Help Increase Limits? Where will the company be in 12 months with its current track record?

Make sure they are the type that thinks a little outside the box. How will they navigate through to get to the decision-maker or buyer? Someone who comes in and just worries about their role isn’t usually a team player and probably isn’t focused on the right things. Find someone who asks the big questions and looks at the long-term – someone willing to take matters into their own hands when need be.


Culture should always be in the back of your mind, and all companies interview for culture in many different ways. Are the questions you ask focused around your mission, values, and principles?

Asking for a cross-functional, detailed experience is a good way to assess collaboration within multiple departments. Additionally, having high-performing representative interview candidates, helps prospective employees spend face-to-face time with someone in their position. This helps prospective employees see if they have a good connection to the company through their sales team.

Other considerations to keep in mind

  • Do not compare candidates with other candidates; Compare them to your ideal candidate.

  • Pay attention. Disable notifications on your cell phone. If you can't take 30 to 45 minutes to speak to the candidate that you can manage or have as part of your team, simply reschedule the call. They will realize that you are distracted and it will make the candidate's experience much less positive.

  • Be sure to inform the candidate that you will likely take notes during the call so they understand if you need to look away during the conversation.

  • Keep the questions open so it doesn't feel like a question and answer session with yes or no answers.

  • Have your frequently asked questions, but keep them flowing. Establishing a good relationship is a sales skill; do it from your first interaction onwards.

  • Stay away from hypothetical questions for sales roles and ask more situational questions.

In general, make the candidate's personality shine through, take an interest in who they are, what they do outside of work, and be sure to provide valuable feedback at the end of the interview.

Source: Sales Hacker