1. Steady Background
The first year in sales is a lot of learning and training. Year two should be success and comfort. Year three could be looking for new opportunities. If a candidate has been in a steady role for at least 3 years, they hit the mark. If they haven’t, I always ask why? Did they not succeed in year one and therefore, decided to job hop? A steady background tells me that candidate is reliable, loyal and has had success.
2. Record of Success
I always look at a candidate’s quota attainment: did they hit their revenue goal every month, quarter, and year? If not, what percent did they hit? Year to date, how much have they generated in sales? If they were 130% above quota, were they supported or was it all on their own? These are important questions to discover how they hit goals or why they couldn’t cut it.
Being coach-able is a necessary skill, because a sales role is TEAM-based. A new hire needs to be trained on the product or service, processes, clients, and how to communicate with different people. If a resume shows an athletic background, I assume the candidate is coach-able. Athletes have discipline, are competitive, don’t need hand-holding, and can work on their own. Those are all skills a salesperson needs. If they don’t have an athletic background, they need to give examples of how they were coached through a specific situation.
In the first few minutes on a phone call, I can tell if someone is confident. It shows in how they communicate successes/achievements, and if they’re comfortable answering unconventional questions. During an in-person interview, I look at their body language to determine confidence. Are their palms sweaty when they shake my hand? Crossed arms while they talk? Quivering voice? I want an interviewee to be engaged, leaning in towards me during the conversation. If they aren’t confident talking to me, it’s easy to assume they also won’t be when making cold calls and meeting potential clients.
Job seekers don’t have to have exactly every quality on the list above… but when they do, I know I’ve found a rock-star salesperson.