Are You Turning Away Good Candidates? What to Look for When Hiring Sales Reps

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines


jobsWhen your company posts job listings for inbound sales reps, what does it include for the qualifications and requirements? Are you missing out on highly qualified sales reps by asking for the wrong things?

I've analyzed some of the common denominators in sales job listings lately, and found a few important things that we are, in fact, missing. In this post, let's look at what those things are and how they can help you find inbound sales reps that can get the job done.


If you limit your potential candidates for sales reps because of their educational background, you might be losing someone with years of great sales experience. And let's face it -- the likelihood that someone's degree is still current after a certain point, especially when it comes to digital marketing and technology, is slim.

While some companies will substitute years of experience in place of a degree, others stand firm that candidates will not be considered if they do not have a four-year degree. Some even specifically state that it must be a business degree.

If you're going to require a college education, at least be open to other fields of study that are applicable in sales beyond just business. A few to consider:

  • Psychology - A sales rep with a degree in Psychology knows how the mind works, and may be better equipped to relate to prospects and uncover their needs.
  • English - When it comes to sales, half of the battle will be written communication through social networks, emails, and proposals. An English degree, perhaps with a focus on professional writing, would be perfect for this side of sales.
  • Communications - Those with Communications degrees will likely have learned the art of persuasion, managing conflict, preparing strong presentations, public speaking, and many other skills needed to sell.

 You also have to consider degrees that are related to the products and services you sell. If you sell pharmaceuticals, for instance, someone with a medical or science background would of course be a good candidate to consider, as they will be able to really dig into the research and benefits around your product. These are all key considerations to take in before you limit your sales reps based on the type of degree they received.


Experience can tell you a lot about your potential candidates. There are lots of ways to interpret the experience a sales rep has beyond just a total of five to ten years in sales.

First off, how long did the rep stay with the companies he or she worked for? You might automatically want to toss the rep's resume in the ignore pile simply because they may not have been committed to the same company for a number of years. At the same time, that could be because the sales rep decided to work with startups or companies with emerging technology that just didn't work out in the end. That doesn't make them a commitment-phobe -- rather, someone who is willing to take risks because they believe in a product or service.

Second, what kind of results did the sales rep achieve for the companies they worked for? They should be able to tell you that either the product or service they sold turned out to be a lemon -- and why -- or, they should be able to tell you about their successful performance. After all, you're looking to hire someone to make sales, not just spend a long time with your company performing mediocre at best.

Active Online Presence

Because inbound sales requires time spent prospecting and communicating through email and social networks, someone who has already established an active online presence would be a bonus. Have your candidates send you a link to their top preferred social network -- if your company is B2B and your candidate sends you a strong LinkedIn profile, then you'll know if you have the right person for the job before they walk in for the interview.

Be sure to review your job listing template for sales reps today to ensure you require the right qualifications and are not turning the best candidates away right off the bat.

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Topics: Sales Hiring

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