8 important characteristics to observe when hiring a salesperson

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Growing the operation of any company brings a series of challenges for those who are in charge of the business. Those challenges are generally divided into optimizing processes, guaranteeing the raw material to scale and, perhaps the most difficult and relevant of all, hiring the right people to fill the new positions that will be generated with that growth.

Here at RD Station it is no different. We face daily the difficult task of filling job positions with trained professionals who can quickly absorb all the necessary knowledge to perform the functions still little known in the job market such as Customer Success Manager, SEO analyst, Inbound Sales Representative and many others that, despite being very similar to existing positions, require very specific skills.

And even a bit contradictory to say that it is difficult to hire a salesperson at a time when job opportunities tend to be scarce and the volume of available professionals is greater. But it is precisely at this point that the problem lies.

When we stop to do a quick analysis of the companies that are hiring en masse, they are mostly startups / scaleups, who need a highly qualified profile for their operations:

  • Professional with good curricular bases.
  • Advanced in handling English.
  • Technology expertise.
  • Knowledge of tools and methodologies.
  • Important soft skills such as resilience and self-management.

Regardless of the size of your challenge and the difficulty of filling your house with good talent, the main advice we have to give you is never to lower the bar.

We say this because doing a bad hiring will give double the work, hiring and firing, without counting all the work and effort to try to make the person perform the first months. For this reason we brought some tips based on our experience of mistakes and successes to increase the number of high-performing salespeople.

To help you with this challenge, this post brings some tips based on our experience, the mistakes and also the successes that allowed the RD sales team to grow quickly. Get to know them!

How is the Sales selection process in RD Station

To help you in this step, we share below how we carry out the selection process here within RD Station

  1. Resume Analysis: we check all the documents received and separate the ones that best fit the appropriate profile for the vacancy.
  2. Motivational, social and reasoning test: to perform the sales function, it is important that the employee has some basic skills that will be analyzed in this process. The tests are designed and corrected by specialists in each area, to ensure a fair result.
  3. Video Conversation: we developed an informal conversation, to learn more about the possible collaborator and understand if their objectives are aligned with those of the company. We present a bit of our history, our purpose and what we look for in an employee. The “technical” fit is not enough, it is very important to be in tune with our culture and what we want to transmit to the market.
  4. Interview with the Talent team: our HR professionals ask more specific questions about the sales area and previous experiences, to validate that the candidate meets the requirements of the position.
  5. Sales simulation : We create a hypothetical sales situation and analyze how the candidate performs in the face of some challenges that we already face internally. This practice is called role play and is also used in our training.
  6. Interview with your superiors: A chat with all the people who will be in charge of your results, managers and even colleagues in some cases. This interview ensures that the leadership approves the candidate, attesting that he will be a good addition to the team.

After all the steps, the approved candidate receives a formalized job proposal. Those who are released from the process also receive feedback, always!

This process can easily be adapted to a small business, considering that all the steps will be performed by one person. You can unify steps if you prefer. For positions that involve remote work, such as Inside Sales, it is interesting to perform some or all of the steps of the process by phone or videoconference. Therefore, it already attests to the candidate’s ability to remotely sell himself!

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What are the most important characteristics to hire a salesperson?

1. Ability to listen

They say that selling is an art, but art consists of the ability to listen carefully to your client and use the information they are giving you to build your arguments.

It is common that, when hiring a salesperson, the recruiter looks for people who talk a lot and have the ability to sell a pen in 1 minute.

But what many people forget is that the new consumer is much more interested in someone who can have a consulting role than the traditional salesperson who barely talks about the benefits and qualities of the product or service they are selling.

For this reason, it is important that you evaluate during your process the capacity of the candidate to listen carefully and mainly what he does with the information that is made available.

Point of attention

Be careful not to go to the opposite point and hire a salesperson who apparently listens because he talks little, when in practice he is hardly paying attention to what is being said. Introspective people tend not to be very successful in sales.

How to observe during the screening process

Throughout the selection process, try to perceive how the candidate uses the information you are giving to give you the most accurate answers. Another interesting way is to structure a sales simulation in which it will be possible to see how much attention the candidate pays in your points, asks you questions and uses the data mentioned by you to assemble the necessary arguments for the sale.

2. Ability to teach

It is important to remember that the sales process is an educational process and that the more complex your product is or the more immature your target audience is, the greater the need to teach about the problem that it has.

A good part of this education can happen in an automated way by marketing, but without a doubt your salesperson will need to supplement a series of information.

Therefore, it is very important that you hire salespeople who have taste and teaching skills.

Point of attention

Be careful not to hire a teacher who instead of selling will spend hours with the Lead setting up projects, teaching techniques and talking about use cases. That competition must be closely connected with focus and productivity so that it is well used by your salesperson.

How to observe during the screening process

A good way to explore this point is to ask the candidate to explain details of the last product she sold and how that product is useful to the target audience in question. In case the candidate does not have previous experience in sales, you can ask her to explain the same points of a product that I know thoroughly and is of interest to her.

3. Proactive learning

If your company is growing fast, it is very likely that you still do not have a super structured training program with people focused on training and giving attention to new hires 100% of the day. Therefore, it is important that you hire salespeople who are able to seek knowledge on their own.

To facilitate that process, you can even have a list of resources for the candidate to read and learn about, but it will be necessary for them to get organized and display their own study plan.

It is also normal that on the scale the leaders still have a bit of difficulty identifying the improvement points of the new hires or how to attack them, so it is important that the hired does not wait for someone to bring him all the content processed.

Point of attention

Be careful not to hire a very theoretical and impractical salesperson. People who study hard are often excellent technical professionals, but it is important that the person has the ability to put technical content into practice. Therefore, it is important that you balance that point with the capacity of implementation.

How to observe during the screening process

A good way here is to send the candidate before the interview a simple test with one or two quite technical questions that will force him to seek knowledge on his own. Something about the company can be excellent. With the quality of the responses, you can already see how much the candidate is capable of searching and absorbing information.

4. Ability to work in a team

You’re probably going to want your sales team to be a bit competitive. This one is super healthy, but you are hardly going to want to have a bunch of self-centered salespeople incapable of doing anything for the common good for fear of losing the status of being the best.

That competition is important not only to avoid bad plays between sellers, but mainly helps you grow newer sellers through a more collaborative climate.

Having salespeople capable of working as a team will help all leaders to be less overloaded, since work and responsibilities are often much more shared.

Point of attention

Profiles that are too personal and too focused on making the team happy don’t work very well here. This basically happens because these people tend to be resistant to competition and take the firing processes or changes very personal that, at first, seem to affect the team in some way. Seeks to balance teamwork with aggressiveness.

How to observe during the screening process

Here it is worth using a situation question in the interview:

  • «Tell me what was the last team conflict you witnessed and what was your role in that story»
  • «What is your role in a team? Tell me about a situation in which you played that role »
  • «What do you think of the competition between people on the same team? Have you already participated in one? How did you feel? »

5. Connection with company values ​​

All the tips here will only be useful if they are allied with the culture and values ​​of your company. It may be that some will want someone more aggressive, others less. Therefore, balance the weight of the points presented here, according to what you expect from your team.

It is not worth wanting a very aggressive team and hiring salespeople whose characteristics to highlight are organization, the ability to listen and teamwork. In a case like that you probably need someone with good teaching skills, resilience, and goal focus.

Point of attention

This is a critical point. First of all, it ensures that the company’s values ​​are clear to the recruiter. Otherwise, it will evaluate according to its own interpretation and it may be that it is one that is not aligned with what you are looking for.

How to observe during the screening process

You must observe the presence of the values ​​throughout the selection process. In case your company has a Culture Code, it is worth sending it to the candidate so that it can be read before the interview and, during the process, bring questions such as:

  • «With which of our values ​​do you feel most identified?»
  • «How do you put it into practice in your day to day?»
  • «If you could add a value to what we have in the company, what would it be and for what reason?»

6. Ethics

Perhaps the most difficult to be evaluated and the most important of all the points presented here.

Unfortunately there is an almost historical connection between sales and lack of ethics. Sellers who cheat customers, sellers who step over other sellers to earn more, sellers who cheat on processes and change results, and so on.

If you want to have a healthy team and a sustainable company, that is a fundamental point. It is necessary to be almost an extremist here, without letting a minimum pass in this type of attitude.

Point of attention

Unlike other points, which can be learned as skills, ethics is closely related to personal values ​​and will hardly be changed. If there is a question about this specific point, the suggestion is to remove the person from the process. It’s not worth that risk.

How to observe during the screening process

The best way would be to search for previous references of the person who worked with the person, although it is possible that this way you will not be able to get that information.

For this reason, you can use situation questions that show you the behavior, such as:

  • «You need to reach your goal and the team is counting on you to do it. A less qualified Lead emerges, who does not meet all the ideal customer criteria, but is ready to buy. What are you doing? »

7. Resilience

Although it is a prostituted word in the sales environment, it represents a fundamental skill for a salesperson.

Resilience is the ability to find new paths after failure and remain motivated to deliver good results. It is not simply doing it again, over and over again, in the same way, but the high point here is in the learnings and the evolution through mistakes.

Any salesperson who listens a lot, even if he or she is not able to sit down and evaluate where they are going wrong, will hardly be able to evolve.

Point of attention

Don’t confuse resilience with persistence. Pushy salespeople are often seen as annoying by a customer. Resilient people tend to be more creative and come up with innovative solutions to solve repetitive problems, such as a “no” for example.

How to observe during the screening process

It is worth bringing in the interview situations in which the candidate made a mistake and seek to understand with this how he avoided making mistakes again on the same point. Another interesting way to measure this capacity is through sales simulations in which many objections need to be answered.

8. Organization

This may be the secret of a salesperson with high performance in a company that works with a high volume of leads or information.

The organization is present in almost the entire day of the seller, as in the pipeline of accounts, in the information history, in the payment processes, etc.

Being able to keep all the information centralized and organized will also help you in case that salesperson needs to be absent or leaves the company.

Point of attention

Remember that you are hiring a salesperson and not a project manager. It is normal for the most expansive and dynamic profiles to be more disorganized, so worry more about providing tools to facilitate that part of the job than about hiring very meticulous people. Too much organization and highly process-focused people can have difficulty negotiating when necessary. It is not the rule, but it is a common occurrence.

How to observe during the screening process

There is a simple question that helps you at this point:

  • «How do you organize your day? Do you use any tool to do it? »

If your company has a test or any delivery before or after the interviews, you can also see how the person organizes the process itself, meeting the deadlines and how they deliver what was requested.

Why all this?

You may be wondering why to require or analyze so many points during a selection process. The answer is very simple: hiring the wrong one is expensive. Very expensive!

Hiring a salesperson wrongly has a bovine cost, which is generally where it stays in the vision of some companies: it is the cost of firing someone who, if done quickly, before the first 90 days will not seem so expensive. However, the biggest problem is related to other aspects.

The first of these is the productive time you lost, in the end, when your company hires a salesperson there is an expectation of production that will not happen or will take much longer than planned.

The second is related to team morale, as people want to see their side motivated by being in a team of excellence and not being left behind.

The third is the burnout with training someone who is never going to sell effectively.

The fourth and last, it is about the opportunity cost of investing in someone who will not produce to the detriment of someone excellent, since the manager must divide his time and someone less qualified tends to take a long time.

That being the case, invest time in recruiting, since otherwise you tend to have three jobs: hire, train and fire.


  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • CRM and Sales
8 important characteristics to observe when hiring a salesperson

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