Common Sales Hiring Mistakes

hiring mistakesIt’s no secret that hiring a sales representative is a difficult task, but oftentimes the sales hiring managers make this task even harder by committing detrimental mistakes during the hiring process. Through years of experience, Kathleen Steffey, CEO of Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, narrowed down the top 3 sales hiring mistakes she witnesses on a daily basis. Hiring a job hopper, hiring based on personality, and hiring solely on industry experience are common misjudgments that will likely leave you disappointed in your placement and back to trolling the job boards.

Hiring a Job Hopper

One of the first things Kathleen does when considering a likely candidate is search their resume for tenure. If a sales rep has a track record of changing jobs from year to year, it’s a strong indicator that they aren’t meeting or exceeding their quota. Successful sales reps will stay at a job where they are performing and attaining their goals.

Hiring Based on Personality

Many hiring managers fall into the trap of hiring people based solely on personality versus core discipline and skill set. Hiring someone who is upbeat and energetic is great, however, if they don’t have a solid track record of sales, you have no way of knowing if they will be successful in your organization. A candidate who fits into your company culture and has advanced interpersonal skills will not be successful if they do not have a strong background of success.

Hiring Based on Industry Experience Only

One of the most common mistakes made by sales hiring managers is hiring someone with industry knowledge, but with no real track record of revenue achievement. A lot of people are convinced that they need someone within their industry who knows the product, but this is not the strongest indicator of success.

To learn more about these common sales hiring mistakes, watch this video where Kathleen Steffey describes the top 3 sales hiring mistakes in full detail.

3 thoughts on “Common Sales Hiring Mistakes”

  1. I truly agree with the last one. More often than not we assume no one outside our industry could understand ours. We limit our exposure to other industry best practices when we do that.

  2. I think you need a good mix of personality and expertise. If someone interviews and they come across as flat and boring, even if they know their stuff, that personality can be a turnoff to prospects. People respond to the tone and attitude of the sales person so it does count for something!

  3. Hey Caitlin – It’s classic to see people with 1-2 years experience in sales at each prior company. Particularly for products with long sales cycles. They basically get fat off their salary, produce mediocre results, then move on to their next host.


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