The 4 R’s of an Effective Sales Hiring Process

Written by: Will Brooks
The 4 R’s of an Effective Sales Hiring Process

Oftentimes, individuals charged with hiring a sales team will make a decision based on a gut instinct alone.

Maybe they have a good feeling about a sales candidate—or maybe they’re just too busy to give the decision careful attention. Either way, hiring based on guesswork, luck, or a gut feeling isn’t the most effective way to build a high-performing sales team.

A well-established sales hiring process is key to bringing top sales talent onto your team and avoiding the costly sales hiring mistakes that many organizations make.

When you’re developing your sales hiring process, be sure to include these 4 R’s:

1. Resume

A resume is a reliable standard that can tell you a lot about how a candidate regards him or herself. It’s basically a window into how they’ll present themselves to others—which is critical in a sales role.

Once you’ve established exactly what your open sales position requires for success, you can scan resumes to ensure the candidate has the hard skills necessary to do the job well.

You may want to check if a sales candidate has experience in your particular industry, and a resume can reveal that. But remember, past performance at one company doesn’t necessarily translate into the same performance at a new company. You’ll want to take into consideration your company culture and selling environment vs the previous employer’s.

2. Rapport

The interview process is where your gut instinct can come into play.

What kind of connection does the candidate make with you and other interviewers? Use the in-person interview or phone interview to gauge whether the candidate will mesh well with your company culture and team dynamic.

Go through your list of behavioral interview questions to uncover the “human aspect” of the candidate. This information will give you a better idea of how the sales candidate will come across to the prospects and customers they’ll be working with closely if you end up bringing them on board.

3. Report

Forward-thinking organizations validate their hiring decisions with scientifically proven hiring assessments. While we don’t recommend basing a hiring decision solely on assessment results, the technology used in today’s top personal assessments can bring objectivity to an otherwise subjective decision.

Assessment reports reveal what’s “under the surface” of an applicant, and the concrete results allow you to quickly compare candidates to the job’s key accountabilities.

Remember, not all personality tests can be legally used for hiring decisions. When choosing an assessment, look for a tool that is both scientifically validated and approved for use by federal hiring laws.

4. References

References and background checks are a must before making a sales hiring decision. Salespeople are by nature going to be skilled at selling themselves, so you’ll want to check up on the information they provide.

According to recent research, 85% of employers caught applicants being untruthful on their resumes or applications –up from just 66% five years ago.

Make it a point to check the references the sales candidate has provided. Since these contacts have likely been prepped to say complimentary things, consider seeking out other people who may have been exposed to the salesperson as well.


There never seems to be a convenient time to hire a new salesperson to your team. Still, it’s very important that you make hiring a priority, and take time to deliberately go through each step of your sales hiring process.

The key is not to lean too heavily on any of the 4 R’s listed above. Balance them all when you’re making your next sales hiring decision, and you’ll fill your team with quality sales talent that can take your organization into the future.

If you’re looking to optimize your sales hiring strategy, the Brooks Talent Index Assessment System is a powerful tool to help you find the best match for your open position. Brooks Talent Index combines three assessments into one to reveal a candidate’s behavior style, motivators, and personal skills. Experience the system firsthand with a complimentary assessment. Learn more.


The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Quota-Smashing Sales Reps

Written By

Will Brooks

As the CEO of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management, and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Having been in the human capital development industry his entire career, helping organizations reach their full potential through transformational change is a part of Will’s DNA. By putting his name on every single engagement, Will assumes a personal commitment to the success of every client.

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