5 years ago
September 10, 2019

7 Ways to Spot a Great Sales Candidate BEFORE the Interview

The ability to spot a great sales candidate is a must-have skill for hiring managers, recruiters, and anyone else involved in the talent recruitment process. Spotting a great sales candidate…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

The ability to spot a great sales candidate is a must-have skill for hiring managers, recruiters, and anyone else involved in the talent recruitment process.

Spotting a great sales candidate is challenging, a reason why companies are always looking for ways to get the inside scoop on how to find and identify sales talent. It can be difficult to detect a great candidate until you have had the chance to speak with them during the interview process.

Most sales companies rely on job applications for the bulk of their candidate pool. But there are many other ways to recruit and spot top talent even before you interview them. You can take a more active approach to recruit and spot great talent.

Here, Toronto sales recruiters outline some of the best ways to spot a great sales candidate before the job interview:

1. Referrals

Referrals are a prime example of a great way to spot and get access to top talent before you interview them. If you receive a resume from a trusted source via a referral, it is almost as though the candidate is pre-screened. Not too many sales professionals would recommend a colleague or friend for a role without knowing they can do the job. Referrals work well because people don’t offer them up unless they trust the candidate. They know if they offer a poor referral, it could negatively affect them as well. If you receive a candidate referral, you are more likely to have a great sales candidate. Make them a priority to interview.

2. They Have a Strong Online Presence

Many top sales talents are active online in the sales industry. They have a strong online presence, they are engaged with other sales professionals and groups, and many of them offer advice, opinions and information through a blog. Join online sales communities to find potential candidates. Look for those who are active, have a strong following, and post content that is in alignment with your company’s values and beliefs.

Toronto sales recruiters reccomend looking at candidates' online presence to determine if they are a good fit for the job

3. The Candidate Has a Top Quality LinkedIn Profile

Top sales talent understand that you need to back up what you claim. They use their LinkedIn profile as a way to show what they have accomplished and back it up with case studies, stats, and numbers. They quantify exactly how they have helped current and previous employers, providing you with a great idea of how they can help you if you hire them. Top candidates spend less time communicating their skills and abilities and more time explaining how they can help your organization achieve your sales goals.

4. Tradeshow Connections

Do you regularly attend tradeshows and other sales industry events? Do you have social nights with other sales professionals? These are all recruiting opportunities. It’s also a chance to get to learn more about a potential candidate in a less formal setting when their guard is down. Use industry events to look for top sales talent. You never know when a great candidate could be standing right in front of you. Be ready to put on your recruiting hat.

5. They Have Great Recommendations

Strong recommendations are a great source to identify potential sales candidates. Whether you get them through LinkedIn, references, word of mouth, or other sources, identifying a candidate who is well recommended is a sign they are at the top of the pack.

6. They Are Well Connected

Being well connected is a sign a candidate could be the type of person you are looking for to fill your vacancy. There is a reason why people are well connected and known in the industry. They are often well-liked, they are good at what they do, and are experts at their craft. While they may be more challenging to recruit, well-connected sales professionals are likely worth the pursuit.

7. They Are Great Communicators

Being a great communicator is a difference-maker in the sales industry. Strong communication skills are a requirement for all sales jobs, from reps to directors and everything in between.

Pay attention to a candidate’s communication skills. Whether you are speaking to set up an interview, you are emailing back and forth, or you’ve sent a message on LinkedIn, how they communicate matters. Be cognizant of what they say and how they say it. Pay attention to how quickly and thoroughly they respond to your communications. Treat all communications with candidates as part of the process to narrow the candidate pool.

The above tips can help you more effectively spot a great sales candidate before you interview them. If you find a potentially great candidate, put a check beside their name, make them a priority, and go into the interview knowing you are likely speaking with a serious candidate for the job.

Get More Sales Recruiting Advice From Toronto Sales Headhunters

Finding the best sales candidates possible is important to help your company thrive. Here are some additional blog posts from Toronto sales recruiters, packed with actionable tips and tricks to help you recruit and hire better:

4 Ways to Spot a Suitable Sales Candidate During an Interview

Should You Hire an Overqualified Sales Candidate? 5 Things to Consider

8 Unhirable Sales Candidate Habits to Watch Out for When Recruiting

7 Terrible Habits That Hurt Your Sales Recruiting Efforts

5 Ways to Separate the Sales Candidate Contenders From the Pretenders

Don’t Hire Them! 11 Job Candidate Red Flags to Watch Out For

Why Hiring Mistakes in Sales Are Even More Costly Than You Think


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

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.