Sales Recruiting Basics: What to Look for in a Sales Candidate

Top 3 Traits of a Qualified Entry-Level Sales Rep

When it comes to sales recruiting, many companies believe they need to find reps with specific experience in their industry to even consider hiring them for the position. But while industry knowledge and experience can be helpful, it’s not the most important quality to look for in a candidate—and it often results in dismissing a number of great applicants right out of the gate.

At Netpique Sales Outsourcing, our recruiting experts look for the following 3 key traits when sourcing candidates for our clients’ open sales positions:

• Sales experience. Well, that’s an obvious one, for certain. But keep an open mind when searching for candidates. Their experience can be varied and include any mix of retail, customer service, phone sales work, and outside sales. It’s important to be open when considering a candidate’s experience so as not to miss out on an eager, motivated person who could thrive in a new and rewarding sales position.

• A high school diploma. Some companies make the mistake of requiring a BA, immediately eliminating a group of contenders who could very well fit perfectly into the desired sales role. Don’t make the net too narrow and leave out potentially great reps without a college degree.

• Trainability. You’re often attracting beginner-level reps who are hungry and ready to learn—and that trainability factor is key. Here’s where a good recruiting outsourcer can add value. During the prescreen process, they can ask questions that help reveal how “trainable” a person is, and then provide valuable feedback to you for further exploration in the in-person interview. As an example, asking the question “Tell me about a problem you encountered when you didn’t know the answer. How did you go about solving the problem?”  The answer will reveal if the person’s approach was solitary or if they reached out for help—and how they identified resources to assist. 

In addition to seeking out these 3 key qualifications in an entry-level sales rep, it’s important to properly consider someone whom you feel is overqualified. A properly motivated “overqualified” sales representative may be able to give your company a jump start and upgrade the talent pool, so don’t automatically disqualify the person. Instead, seek to understand why the applicant is interested in the position. The candor and sincerity of the answer is key. The individual may have a passion for the industry or your company. They may be searching for a better work/life balance. Perhaps they have “checked the box” on other goals and want to work where they can see the difference they make. The point is, don’t automatically disqualify someone who could add significant value to your sales team, rather seek to understand the fit. 

Need a hand with your sales recruiting efforts?