2 years ago
September 27, 2022

6 Ways To Spot Red Flags In Sales Candidates

All sales recruiters will tell you that not every hire will work out.  Studies show that, in fact: Only 55% of sales hires meet their quotes and, Only 37% do…

Rhys Metler

All sales recruiters will tell you that not every hire will work out.  Studies show that, in fact:

  • Only 55% of sales hires meet their quotes and,
  • Only 37% do it consistently

See more stats here on why sales is an exceptionally tough area to recruit for. 

The main reason sales recruiting is so tough is that talent in the sales industry inherently knows how to sell themselves. They can create the appearance of being a top contender, even if they don’t check off all the boxes. So, you have to pay extra attention to spot red flags in sales candidates during the hiring process. Below, we provide you with a list of sales candidate red flags. 

Our sales recruiters list 6 candidate red flags

As a top sales recruitment agency with over 25 years of experience in identifying that 20% of sales people that are true rockstars, we’ve identified some red flags to be on the lookout for when interviewing sales professionals:

1. They seem only motivated by money: Everyone wants to make money. And this is fine, but it should not be the sole focus for sales professionals. When money becomes the main focal point, helping customers address their problems becomes secondary. 

2. They’ve made a few too many job changes recently: Switching jobs is common in the sales industry. It’s common for people to make moves every 2 to 3 years as they level up. But, if a candidate is moving around a little too much, it could be a sign there is an issue. 

3. They don’t seem coachable: Being coachable is a very important trait in sales. Every company has a slightly different way of approaching sales. And strategies and processes change frequently. If a candidate isn’t coachable, they will likely not be good at taking feedback. This means they won’t grow in their role. 

6 red flags written

4. They are not good at selling themselves in the interview: Pitching is a must-have skill in sales. If a candidate doesn’t do a great of selling themselves, the odds are they won’t be able to pitch your products and services to your customers. 

5. They are too passive or too aggressive: Ideally, you want to find someone who has a good sense of when to lay back and when to apply the heat and push forward when working with candidates. You don’t want someone passive or indecisive. Other the other hand you don’t want someone who is always aggressive and pushy. You want someone who is somewhere in the middle and matches your company’s sales approach. 

6. Lack of preparation: Preparation is a must in sales. All top sales professionals put in the time and effort to prepare for all interactions with prospects and customers. You need to do your homework to understand customer needs, have expert-level knowledge of what you are selling, and create custom solutions for each customer. If a candidate doesn’t prepare for a job interview, it’s unlikely they’ll prepare well for client meetings. 

If you notice any of the above red flags, you need to dig deeper into the potential issue before moving forward with the individual say top sales recruiters in the industry. 

How sales recruiters can help you identify great sales candidates

Working with a sales recruiter is one of the many ways for you to improve your hiring efforts and ensure you no longer miss out on top sales talent. The team at SalesForce Search specializes in helping you hire sales rockstars. Because they consistently deliver, sales rockstars aren’t out looking for a job so we identify not just the best salespeople ON the market but the best people IN the market. Our deep networks and proactive approach recruits the top performers before they hit the market. 

Get More Advice From Our Sales Recruiters

5 Ways to Increase the Number of Applicants for Your Open Sales Roles

You May Be Overlooking 1 In 3 Candidates – Here’s How To Identify Untapped Sales Talent

Sales Recruitment: 4 Reasons Why Reinventing Your Recruiting Process Is Vital

Top 4 Reasons Why Candidates Are Abandoning Your Sales Recruitment Process

As North America’s leading sales headhunter, SalesForce Search recruits salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. To find your next sales rockstar, 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.