7 years ago
January 20, 2017

4 Ways to Spot an Unsuitable Sales Candidate During an Interview

Holding job interviews? Want to make a good hire? Read these 4 Ways to Spot a Bad Sales Candidate During an Interview to avoid a hiring mistake.

Rhys Metler

We all want to hire the best sales professional for the job. Considering the time, effort, and resources that go into the hiring process, getting it right is vital. The last thing you want to do is go through the process again because the last person you hired didn’t work out.

However, hiring is not an exact science; and sometimes, it can be more difficult than most people realize to spot a bad sales candidate during an interview. Some people are great interviewees and know how to lay it on thick, but when it comes time to perform, they fall short of expectations.

After all, a job interview is likely to be the best sales pitch a candidate will make. They will pull out all the stops, say all the right things, and do their best to sell you on them becoming your new sales rep.

Here are 4 things to keep an open mind about when doing your next round of interviews:

1. They Are the Perfect Candidate

As they say, if things seem too good to be true, they usually are. If you have a candidate who seems to be too perfect for the job, perhaps you should spend some more time looking into their references. There is no shortage of candidates who, in an effort to make up for other shortcomings, will tell you what you want to hear.

2. Overselling

If sales people are good at anything, it’s sales, and they know how to sell themselves. Expect them to use some of the sales tactics they’ve picked up over the years to try to sell you on them. Avoid being too easily influenced by a strong sales pitch, and keep focused on assessing their fit for the role and your company’s organizational culture. Being good at sales is only part of what makes a successful candidate.

3. Not answering questions directly

Good candidates will have short, concise answers to the questions you ask. They will also directly answer the question. Watch out for candidates who don’t provide you with straight answers or even attempt to avoid answering certain questions.

4. Overstating previous experience

In an attempt to make a good impression and improve their chances of getting the job, many sales candidates will overstate their previous experience and sales accomplishments. Therefore, it’s important to confirm their claims to make sure everything checks out and ensure they have the skills and track record they claim to have.

Being diligent and thorough during the interview process is a key factor in making a good hiring decision – and helping you weed out bad sales candidates.


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit sales people in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right sales person for your organization, start your search here.

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.