8 years ago
April 13, 2016

4 Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Great Sales Reps

Hiring sales reps can be a lengthy process. Here are four tips you can keep in mind for the hiring process.

Rhys Metler


Hiring sales reps, and making sure they’re a good fit for the company environment, can be a lengthy process. Not every person makes a good salesperson, and not every salesperson sells every product or service equally well. Ensuring that you get the right sales team for your company is important for establishing future profit. Here are four tips you can keep in mind for the hiring process.

1. Do Reference Checks

Although being able to pull the wool over your eyes can be the mark of a good salesperson anyway, you should do a full background and reference check on each candidate, because sales reps are nothing if not great at making accomplishments sound like more than what they are. Get a real record of their quota attainment at past sales jobs, verified by a supervisor.

2. Offer Part Commission, Part Base

In a recent New York Times article, many business owners agreed that full commission can be tough to offer, and candidates often require a bigger expected annual compensation. “Don’t try to hire people on 100% commission, because you will likely only attract flakes who waste your time and never deliver”, recommends Startup North. A 50/50 or 70/30 ratio works well for many companies, because it promises some security, while retaining a large competitive factor.

3. Know the Right Questions to Ask

If you don’t interview often, there are many easy mistakes you can make that will give you a false impression of how good a fit the interviewee is. Forbes recommends asking 50 questions when hiring sales reps in order to ensure due diligence during this process. Some of the top questions they recommend asking include:

“How would you describe your sales technique?”

“How did your past organization position itself in the market?”

“When a client’s expectations are too high, how do you handle it?”

They also recommend not being too firm, or too friendly, during interviews, but to strike a middle ground instead.

4. Look to Hire Sales Reps Who Are Comfortable with Technology

According to a recent study noted in Forbes, about 78% of salespeople who were using social media as part of their selling process out-performed those who didn’t. Social media users were also 23% more successful at exceeding their sales quota. Understanding and using technology goes beyond just social media, of course. If your sales system or sold product requires some knowledge of computers or content management systems, think twice about hiring someone with little experience. It can be the difference between your business making profit, or just squeaking by. 

Do you have tips for hiring sales reps? Let us know in the comments.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.