Four Myths That Are Preventing You from Hiring Great Sales Reps

Hiring great sales talent is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your sales team. No matter how good your training program or compensation plan is, you won't be able to achieve consistent sales results if you're hiring the wrong people.

Unfortunately, the things that make it most likely for a sales representative to succeed are not necessarily what many hiring managers assume. Knowing what types of personal qualities you should really look for in a sales representative will help you consistently hire good performers and know when (and when NOT) to take a chance on a potential hire. Take it from a sales expert who knows and watch out for these four myths that may be causing you to overlook candidates with great potential while hiring the ones that just don't work out.

Myth #1 Industry Experience Is Necessary

While industry experience obviously isn't a bad thing, making it a deal-breaker in your hiring process can be very bad indeed. Just from a raw numbers perspective, if you require industry experience, you automatically eliminate the majority of sales representatives available in your area. 

Industry experience is one of those things that everyone thinks they need, but only a few companies actually do need. So take a good, hard look at your product. Is it really so complex that you need to require industry experience? Or would a few days of product training give you more or less the same results? For a few companies the sale is extremely technical, and they really do require sales representatives with experience in the industry. But for most companies, requiring industry experience forces them to pay higher salaries and drop off other hiring requirements that might have a larger impact on performance. 

Myth #2: The More Qualified the Better

Again, being qualified is a good thing. You want to hire sales representatives that are qualified to do the job you will ask of them, and given two candidates that both look promising, normally you would offer the job to the more qualified candidate. However, there comes a point when more qualifications are not necessarily better. In fact, you should view it as a red flag if a candidate is drastically overqualified.

When you have the resume of someone who has a phD in computer science or used to be a senior sales manager at another company, but is applying for your entry-level position, it's wise to find out the story behind the overqualification. Often a large discrepancy in qualifications and the job someone is applying for signals that there is some other problem with the candidate. Even if not, a drastically overqualified new hire will probably be looking for a job better suited to his or her qualifications, and will likely not stay with your company long-term.

Myth #3: College Degrees

A lot of companies require a college degree without even really thinking about it. It is true that some of the skills people learn at college, such as following through with deadlines and accomplishing goals can be helpful in sales. However, some of the most successful sales representatives are the ones who didn't really go for the academic route, but instead decided to do sales. 

A good compromise can be to require a high school diploma. That way you make sure your recruits have the basic mathematics and literacy skills they need to succeed at your job, but leave the door open for the many great candidates without a 4-year degree.

Myth #4: They'll Come to You

You will get some potential recruits who will apply for open positions in your company, especially if you post them on all the available job boards in your area and industry, as well as nationwide sites like However, you will likely be able to secure even better talent by reaching out proactively to sales representatives who have posted their resumes on these job boards.

Often, the sales representatives you want are already employed elsewhere, but would be willing to make the switch if you offer them an attractive package. Here at Netpique, a full 60 percent of our new hires are sales professionals who were contacted by our recruiting department, and not the other way around. In most cases, you will need your recruiting department to be similarly active in order to maintain headcount.

Could you use assistance finding and attracting the type of sales representatives you need for your company? Netpique can help! Whether you just need help with recruiting, or need a comprehensive sales channel solution, Netpique has the answer.