How to Hire Entry Level Salespeople

by Staffer Team

Hiring salespeople and need to execute the perfect sales hiring process? Follow this detailed plan.

Your organization needs an effective sales hiring strategy to survive. The average annual turnover for sales teams is around 27%, meaning that if you have 10 reps, you could lose three of them within the year.

The only way to maintain — and, ideally, to increase — sales performance is to hire often and well.

In this guide, you’ll learn the ins and outs of a successful sales hiring process.


  1. Build a Hiring Profile
  • Identify the type of reps who have the ideal skills, experience, and background for your company — and pursue them aggressively.
  • To figure out what your optimal salesperson looks like, study the top-performing ones on your team. Which traits do they have in common? Which industries do they come from? What are their trademark selling styles? What motivates them?
  • Mark Roberge, SVP of Hubspot, prioritizes these traits in potential sales candidates:
  • Coachability
  • Curiosity
  • Intelligence
  • Hard-working
  • Previous Success

2. Write a Job Description

  • Take the time to craft an engaging, well-written job description that accurately describes the role and sells your company.
  • Your job descriptions influence both the quantity and quality of your applicants.
  • Common mistakes include: being misleading about responsibilities and using vague terms or jargon

3. Build your sales candidate pipeline

  • Post on various job boards
  • Engage your social media team to post about the open position
  • Consider referrals

4. Screen applicants

  • The pre-interview screen can save you a great deal of time later in the interview process. You can do a phone or virtual screening interview, which will last around 10 minutes, or a written screen, i.e. an assignment that lets you gauge the candidate’s skills.
  • Written screens test candidates’ written communication skills (also important in sales), as well as their commitment to being hired.

5. Develop Interview Questions and Techniques

  • Come up with interview strategies to measure each trait in your candidates.
  • Consider a role play with the prospective hire, ask them to assess their performance, give them some recommendations, and then do the role play again
  • Additionally, consider references and the candidate's resume
  • Prepare behavioral questions such as:
  • “What would you do if …?”
  • “Imagine you’re in X situation. How do you react?”
  • Questions that cover the candidate's selling skills, behavior and personality as well as motivation

6. Interview

  • Research shows the validity of a typical unstructured interview is approximately 20%. In other words, only one in five interviews actually help employers identify candidates that will be successful.
  • Standardize the process; this may include a scorecard to 'grade' candidates

7. Make an Offer

  • After you’ve progressed several candidates to the final stage, hold a roundtable discussion with every member of the interview process.
  • Most employers extend the offer over the phone first. If the candidate verbally accepts, they send a formal offer letter. This saves you from spending time writing the offer only to have the candidate say they don’t want the job.
  • Of course, the ability to negotiate is a key part of a salesperson’s job … so it may be a positive sign when a candidate comes back with several offer requests.

Master Your Sales Hiring Process

Master the sales hiring process, and you'll have a competitive advantage. Follow these tips to get top candidates that stick around and help your business grow.