How to Hire a Sales Representative

By Conor McMahon - Nov. 9, 2022
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An established business understands that salespeople are the lifeline of the company. A cutting-edge product or innovative marketing strategy will go nowhere without the tireless efforts of the sales teams.

However, hiring a capable salesperson is not a walk in the park.

It is extremely difficult as those who may seem to have impeccable skills on their resumes may be lackluster performers in real life. Or those who come out as confident and ambitious in an interview are in fact laid back and negligent. Often one problem is that salespeople are professionals at being interviewed by potential customers so therefore they know exactly what you want to hear. They are salespeople and they really know how to sell themselves.

That being said, it is not impossible to find an excellent sales representative, as long as you follow the proper methods.

Key Takeaways:

  • Before you hire a sales rep, understand the type of employment rank, length, and level of experience you are looking for.

  • Make sure to write a concise job description that clarifies expectations to prevent miscommunication.

  • Keep your interview informative and look for inconsistencies or red flags.

  • Look for growth-minded and competitive candidates who naturally fit your needs.

How to Hire a Sales Representative

How to Hire a Sales Representative

  1. Know the type of sales rep you want. Before you begin to search for a sales representative, you need to know the type you are looking for. You want to consider factors such as:

    • Employment length.

      It is important to know if you need to hire a full-time, part-time, contract, or freelance sales representative. Each come with their own benefits and drawbacks.

    • Employment rank.

      You need to address the seniority of the sale representative. This could be an entry-level sales assistant, an inside sales rep, an outside sale rep, a sales manager, or a sales director.

    • Level of experience.

      Along with the rank of the sale representative, you need to know how much experience you want from your candidate. A sales manager with no background in management is very different than a sales manager with 5+ years of experience.

  2. Write a concise job description. After you have figured out the type of sale representative you are looking for, it is time to put that into writing. Your job descriptive should be very clear on what you need and what you expect from your candidate.

    Setting clear expectations in the beginning helps avoid certain issues in the future by preventing any miscommunication.

  3. Set up informative interviews with candidates. You need to make the most out of your interviews with your candidates. Plan the goals you want to achieve from your interviews a head of time and prepare your questions.

    Consider the following when interviewing your candidates:

    • What is there personality like?

    • Are they able to effectively answer your questions?

    • Can you spot any inconsistencies or red-flags?

    • How do the match up with their resume?

  4. Keep your options open. When looking for sales representatives, remember that you don’t always have to follow the traditional path. You may think you need an external hire, but don’t count out promoting internally. Also consider networking with others to reach out to candidates who may not know about your open position.

7 Tips To Hiring A Sales Representative

  1. Look for keywords and metrics in the resume.

  2. You will naturally check out a potential employee’s resume before scheduling an interview with them. However, there are key things one should try to spot in a resume while a number of other things should be ignored.

    A salesperson’s resume should highlight her/his achievements in words as well as numbers (measurable achievements). It is easy to write that you were the top sales person in 2019. However the award needs to be backed up by numbers such as sales revenue and sales volumes to be legit.

    The resume should look like it’s tailored to your job description. There should be similar keywords that match the skills and experience required.

  3. Look for growth-minded candidates. You can train a sales person to to sell your product. But genuine passion and ambition are two innate traits that a sales person must naturally possess. Of course, everyone who appears for an interview tries their best to come across as focused and tenacious. But how you gauge the personality and traits of a candidate during an interview depends on your observation and the questions you ask.

    One way to figure out how competitive a candidate might be is to inquire about their awards and achievements both inside and outside the workplace. You can also ask them to tell you about unique problems they were able to solve at their current or previous companies.

    Some more questions that will help you understand the ambition of a candidate may involve areas of self-improvement or seminars they’ve attended recently.

  4. Look for earned confidence. Everyone tries to demonstrate confidence during an interview. A sales person may be better at projecting a confident image simply because she is skilled at communication and has a very natural style when speaking to customers. However, a good way to test a candidate’s confidence levels is to present them with a series of objections and see how they handle it.

    You want to separate the cocky from the confident. A cocky person may falter at facing challenges, while someone with real confidence will handle any challenge in a controlled manner.

  5. Look for a competitive attitude. A competitive spirit is integral to your success. The employees you hire should not only be in a healthy competition with his or her peers but also with themselves to achieve better results than they did the previous week, month or year.

  6. Conduct several interviews. To better judge the caliber of the candidate, you might want to consider meeting them a couple of times and perhaps include other team members in the interview. Different people will provide different insights on whether the candidate is a good fit for the company and the team. This is why some organizations will have the department head, HR head and director interview every candidate before making any job offers.

  7. Look for a natural talent. Interacting with their customers is a salesperson’s primary job. However, this doesn’t mean that a sales person needs to be an extrovert. While developing rapport with prospective customers is a trait commonly found in extroverts, at the same time, ambiverts and introverts can actually be very successful sales people.

    Find out what after-work activities the candidate indulges in. Someone playing sport is more likely to be an extrovert compared to someone who prefers drawing in their spare time.

    During an interview, you should also note how relaxed the candidate is when meeting different people and whether he/she is trying to make a genuine connection or trying too hard.

  8. Look for creative problem solvers. It is not a widely known fact but good sales people should be creative. They need creativity to handle customers and derive new ways to pursue and retain a client. Moreover, creativity and problem solving are integral to business growth and success. You need a salesperson who looks at problems as unique opportunities to learn something new. Therefore, a positive and can-do attitude is essential.

    Ask candidates about previous challenges they have faced and how they overcame them. The experiences can be personal or professional.

    Often, what differentiates an average sales person from a superstar is not certifications or degrees. It is an adherence to the golden principles of discipline, perseverance, optimism and a commitment to growth. A rigorous interview process that involves all of the above points will help the management get a good idea of a candidate’s aptitude, and find someone who would add value to their team.

  9. Conor McMahon is a writer for Zippia, with previous experience in the nonprofit, customer service, and technical support industries. He has a degree in Music Industry from Northeastern University and in his free time he plays guitar with his friends. Conor enjoys creative writing between his work doing professional content creation and technical documentation.

    Author

    Conor McMahon

    Conor McMahon is a writer for Zippia, with previous experience in the nonprofit, customer service, and technical support industries. He has a degree in Music Industry from Northeastern University and in his free time he plays guitar with his friends. Conor enjoys creative writing between his work doing professional content creation and technical documentation.

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Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

Get connected with quality candidates whose resumes on Zippia best fit your job description.