Sometimes, it can be very difficult for hiring managers to distinguish between good and bad sales representatives. Since most sales reps are well versed in creating pitches that are meant to convince people to buy their products, recruiters have to look out for major red flags during the hiring process. It might be time to hit the brakes and consider other candidates if you see any of these warning signs.

  1. Badmouthing previous employers – Look out for candidates that harshly criticize former employers because it shows a lack of professional integrity. If a candidate blames former managers for not meeting their goals, it’s usually because they weren’t motivated enough to get promoted. Also, beware of any candidate that discloses the secrets of former employers.
  2. History of job-hopping – Even though the average person changes jobs about 12 times during their lifetime, that number is usually spread out over 40 years. Look out for resumes that list several short terms at other companies or with very limited references.
  3. A lack of shared industry connections – Lookout for incomplete networking profiles, multiple profiles and lack of shared industry connections. Although a vast number of LinkedIn profiles may be exaggerated, it can still provide valuable insight concerning relevant interests and a strong network.
  4. Unable to share previous sales numbers – Any successful software sales rep should always have a portfolio with statistics, accolades, etc., available upon request.
  5. They fail the BS test – An effective way to prove that a sales rep has excelled in the past is to ask them about funnels and lead generation. Candidates should be able to share tactics they used to increase conversions and the steps they took to make funnels more efficient.
  6. They want to negotiate salary right away – If you’re going to build a loyal customer base, then your sales strategy should be about quality, not quantity. Look out for sales reps that only seem to be motivated by salary and bonus talk, because they could ruin your reputation by pressuring clients too much.

Once you know what to look out for, then you can focus on hiring great software sales representatives using disciplined interview techniques and simulations. One effective strategy is to connect related sales tasks to your hiring criteria. It’s important to separate relevant from non-relevant sales experience too.

These are just some of the red flags that can help you separate bad sales reps from extraordinary salespeople. Instead of settling for a candidate because they’ve worked in sales before, hire people based on their assessments, exceptional background and references, structured interview performance, and company culture fit.



At Sales Search International, we are in the business of knowing our clients’ needs, their sales cultures, where they are in the market—and where they want to be. Through expert software sales recruiting, we provide access to the passionate software salespeople who are a vehicle for business development.

Building World-Class Software Sales Teams

Want to find out how we can help you hire top software sales professionals?

Building World-Class Software Sales Teams

I agree to recieve updates from Sales Search International

Building World-Class Software Sales Teams

Need help finding the top software sales professionals for your organization?

Building World-Class Software Sales Teams