10 years ago
January 5, 2015

3 Things to Uncover When Recruiting Sales People

To avoid making a hiring mistake when recruiting sales people, it’s important you really uncover their skills, attitude and cultural fit.

Rhys Metler

recruiting sales peopleOf all the jobs you recruit for, sales is by far one of the most difficult. Sales people, even bad ones, can quite often fool you into to thinking they are better performers than they really are. They may interview well, speak well and present well. However, it’s not until you see them in action that you find out if they are any good or not. Unfortunately, by then it’s already too late and will end up costing you time and money.

To avoid making a hiring mistake when recruiting sales people, it’s important you really uncover their skills, attitude and cultural fit. Most companies don’t ask questions to address all three of these requirements. Make sure you ask these three questions before pulling the trigger on hiring your next sales person.


Question: Describe how you conduct your process for qualifying and closing a prospect from initial call to sale.

Answer: This is a great question because it will make the sales person open up about how they go about developing business. When recruiting sales people, the first thing to look for is how do they identify and qualify a potential opportunity. They should talking about asking open ended questions, probing about the prospect’s potential need and budget for the product or service and objections they would face. Ask them follow up questions about specific objections and how they handled them and ultimately, how they go about closing business. When recruiting sales people, too many companies do not ask enough questions about specific skills a sales person has.


Question: Describe 2 of the most challenging objections or rejections you`ve faced in a sale and how did you respond.

Answer: This question will tell you a lot about a sales person’s attitude and how they respond to adversity. When recruiting sales people you have to remember a good sales person faces obstacles and challenges every day. In sales you can go from a high one day to feeling low and down the next because of rejections and challenges with selling in general. What you should be looking for in an answer is someone who can reflect back on a tough objection or rejection and recall what they learned and how it helped them become a better sales person. A good sales person may even laugh or chuckle as they recall the story. Someone who has a bad attitude will answer this question in a very negative way and potentially blame other people or even the prospect for why the sale didn’t get made.

Cultural Fit

Question: Tell me about the best manager you have ever had and what made them so special?

Answer: When recruiting sales people, cultural fit can sometimes be a tricky element to identify right away. When interviewing sales people, they will come across as eager to work at your company and claim that they are a cultural fit even when they aren’t. By asking them about a previous boss, it will give you insight into that managers personal values, the company’s values and what is important to this sales person. Compare that with your own company’s values and the management style of the person they report into. If it’s not consistent, they probably aren’t a fit.

When recruiting sales people, it can be difficult to tell the good ones from the bad. By asking these three questions, it will uncover more about their skills, attitude and cultural fit to make better hiring decisions.

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.