Keys to Hiring the Best Sales Reps

July 30, 2020

Are you having difficulty finding quality sales reps at your company? Are you looking to expand your company, but don’t know where to look? Are you unsure of what questions to ask candidates in an interview?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this article is for you! We sat down with Mike Manzi from MM Sales Consulting to discuss best practices in his sales recruiting process. Mike shared a lot of great insight, and by the end of this post you will learn how to acquire top talent to elevate your company and enhance your sales success.

First, Identity Staff Priorities 

Before recruiting externally, you must identify the priorities of your existing staff. How many reps on the team are performing? Which reps are not the right fit for your sales process? Do you have any flight risks? Once you identify staff priorities, assess the potential and performance of each employee and see where they land.

The tables below break down potential and performance from low to high, which will help you to determine whether to train, retain, or remove an employee. 

High Potential

Moderate Potential

Low Potential

Note: Depending on your company’s sale cycle, perform an assessment on your current reps every month or quarter. Write down their qualities in one column and their likelihood to advance in another. 

Performing an assessment can help you focus on your high performing reps and see if they may be leaving. It’s ideal to run this analysis every month or quarter so you can take quick action, and avoid any unwanted team churn. You want to make sure to retain your high performing reps and find replacements for those with low performance. 

Second, Determine Candidate Qualities

Each company has its own unique qualities that matter during the interview process, so make sure to determine and have consensus on the requirements before seeking new employees. 

Some of the qualities you may be looking for in a candidate are the following: 

  • Goal oriented: Are you hard-working or do you need a push to accomplish tasks? 
  • Skillful: Do you have the skills we’re looking for or are you willing to acquire new skills?
  • Emotional Intelligence: Can you take control of your emotions or do you crumble under pressure?
  • Culture: Will you fit in the culture of the company or will you be uncomfortable?

When sourcing for candidates, HR does the majority of the recruiting, but you can research your candidates and find qualities you’re looking for?

Some of these qualities can be found in their accomplishments, such as the following:

  • Were involved in the President’s Club
  • Lists performance metrics on their LinkedIn profile
  • Wrote professional articles 
  • Worked in multiple industries and was successful in each one
  • Worked at companies more than a couple years 
  • Previously  a Co-Founder, or held a leadership position at previous jobs 

More than likely, these candidates will have the skills/traits you’re looking for.

Lastly, the Interview

When interviewing candidates, make sure to sell them on the role and show them your company is different. You can do so by talking about the company, your team, and yourself. More than likely, the candidate will be nervous, so telling your story will make them comfortable. After your candidate is comfortable, you can proceed with the interview.

Below are some recommended questions to ask candidates: 

  1. In your own words, can you tell me why you joined and left each company on your resume?

This question will help you understand the candidate’s decision-making process. Some examples you may hear are: “I didn’t like the place, I didn’t like my boss,” etc. You will hear things that they don’t even recognize they’re saying; it’s the truth from a big, long story that will tell you if they make good decisions or not.

  1. Can you tell me a situation that you were in which would demonstrate to me how goal oriented you are? 

This is a classic interview question and always a great one to ask.

  1. What motivates you deep down? (Why did you work hard in middle school, high school, college?)

For this question, first tell your story of what motivates you and then let the candidate answer. This way you will be able to see if they have a real answer, if not, they’re probably not truly motivated.

  1. When was your first job at how old were you? 

This question will help you understand the candidate and their job experiences more.

  1. What is your unique reason for being good at sales and describe/explain a time you’ve demonstrated this? 

This is a great question to ask because it allows you to see what is truly unique about them. You don’t want them to say “rapport,” this is a canned answer and something that most candidates usually say. The ideal answer is controlling the sales process, negotiating a sale, or closing a sale. You want to hear something unique about them that makes them stand out from other candidates.

  1. What percent to quota were you at your previous company and what percent are you now? *Make sure to ask*

This a straightforward question that will tell you about the candidate’s success at their previous companies.

  1. Why not more?

This question is an addition to the sixth question and can uncover if they can handle a blunt question or not. This question will also point out their weaknesses. If they get mad, it could become an obstacle later if they receive the job. You want them to say they were proud of their percent to quota, but if they could have  focused more on a certain aspect, like negotiation, it would have increased their win rate. This will also help you see where they can improve and if they are coachable.

  1. Tell me what part of the funnel you make the biggest impact on.

The ideal question for the eighth answer is closing. If they say they like the beginning process because they like building rapport, they probably aren’t the best fit.

  1. Can you tell me a situation you were in that would demonstrate to me how you stay organized?

Organization is key in any organization, whether you’re dealing with a small number of clients and you need to know a lot about them or a large amount of clients that you don’t need to know much about. Staying organized is a difficult behavior, so this question will help you understand how the candidate stays organized. 

10. What types of things would you like coaching on if you started here?

This question serves as a weakness question alternative. What is your weakness/what are you working on are too obvious. You don’t want them to say product training, again, this is a canned answer and you want them to show how unique they are. This question will also help you avoid bad hires.

11. What do you think a sales rep here needs to be good at in order to be successful? 

This is an opinion question based on the candidate.

12. What are some examples of things that are okay and not okay to mess up on?

This is an opinion question based on the candidate.

13. Tell me how your team, family, and friends describe you.

This question is a great way of getting a real look at the candidate. This answer will be more honest than if you asked them to describe themselves.

14. Role play question 

Lastly, a role play question. Create a scenario where you, the interviewer, pretends to be a prospect, and the candidate pretends to be at the current company trying to sell you a product or service.

You don’t have to ask all these questions, but have at least 10 in mind that you think are best in acquiring the best candidates.


Hopefully you now have a greater understanding of the process to acquire the best sales reps. If you incorporate these keys in your recruiting and hiring process, you will obtain top talent and will elevate within the sales industry.

If you would like to learn more about how to build a strong pipeline of sales talent, let’s talk. If you would like more help with your sales strategy, you can reach Mike Manzi at

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