Finding the Real Deal - How to Evaluate Sales Candidates

Here are great insights from a number of Hirewell's clients
Mar 24, 2020
evaluating candidates

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Sales candidates tend to be commanders of the room, great speakers and can take charge of the conversation. This in itself creates a challenge: how do you dig a level deeper to uncover who not only talks a big game but can actually walk the walk? We asked some of the sales leaders at our clients what sorts of techniques they use to peel back the layers during the interview process.



When interviewing candidates, I need them to put their stats/numbers into actionable examples. Depending on the role they are applying for on my team, they need to prove what they can do. I accomplish this by asking them to complete communication exercises (written/verbal), mock calls or sales pitches, and more. Sure, numbers are great, but numbers can also be faked. I want to see you in action! Do you have a natural talent to sell or do you require a little coaching to be that rockstar? It all gives me an indication of your confidence and your capabilities.

Stephanie Benavidez | Senior Director of Sales Enablement 




There's a few things I'm looking for in a discussion with a candidate.  First, I want to understand their past performances in other sales roles but more importantly, I want to understand how they did it.  How did you hit 130% of your year- what was your game plan, what worked, what didn't, etc. It's the preparation that I'm more interested in.  Here, details really matter.


Also, I want to understand how well they know themselves. Does the candidate clearly understand what they do extremely well and do they understand their own flaws or shortcomings?  And can they be honest about it? Candidates that are not prepared to talk about their own situations that were mishandled or areas that they need to work on probably won't be a fit.  We all suck at something.


Finally, I'm looking for someone who is prepared for the discussion. In this day and age, there's literally no excuse to not to know about our business, recent news, my background and experiences, etc.  I look at it as a reflection of how well they'll be prepared when selling on my team.

Mike Renderman | Regional Vice President  




We are always looking for sales candidates that are always learning and curious. Curious on finding out what works/what does not work. 


"What's a sales skill you have learned in your career that has changed you? Tell me a time when you have implemented it." 


If they aren't learning they probably don't care. In a startup environment focused on high growth, it is imperative we keep learning. 

Alex Chillow | Director of Growth




In my experience someone that is going to be fantastic in Customer Success can come from just about anywhere.  While previous CSM experience is great, someone that shows a real passion for the customer is always going to win out.  To find the right people I always ask one question: What's your customer philosophy?  


In their answer, I'm looking for three things:

- Customer advocacy

- A focus on transparency 

- Someone that sees themselves as a translator between their customers and their organization


By being open and honest with their Customers, focusing on their true goals and building mutual respect your CS hire will quickly become a trusted advisor to your Customers.

Andrew Thiermann | Director of Customer Success




If you have any further questions on vetting salespeople, feel free to contact me at or find me on LinkedIn

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