How to Recruit a Consistent Stream of Great Sales People

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Sales Team Development

This is probably the most common conversation I have with clients. How to recruit the right sales people and then how to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. I have put a brief summary of the model we recommend below, along with some links to a few webinars we have done on the subject.

Recruiting the right sales people for your business or product really can mean the difference between success and failure, which is why it is so important to go about the task in the correct way. Remember, if you cannot scale, you cannot grow. In this article, we look at some of the strategies you should be using to ensure that you find the right sales people with the right experience, drive and expertise. This is just a brief take on some our thoughts and for more information feel free to reach out.

Finding Your Candidates

There are a number of useful techniques that can be used to identify and attract sales people with the ‘right stuff’, with some being more proactive than others.

Internal Referrals

Not so much of a technique as an avenue, as you will, from time to time have candidates recommended to your internally. The important thing to remember is to treat every potential recruit the same, putting each through their paces, regardless of how familiar they are to you.

Also, you should consider an active model of recruiting using your teams and their contacts. This is complicated to set up, does take time and effort but pays dividends.

LinkedIn Posts & Other search engines

Social media is the vogue these days and the same goes for the business world, with LinkedIn proving a very useful tool in the field of recruitment. Job posts on the platform can be very effective, as can searching the database for people in similar industries and then reaching out to those who fit the bill.

The main issue with LinkedIn is regarding how to filter the volume of contacts through. This is down to your interview model, which we will discuss later.

It’s also a good idea to post your jobs to 3rd party online recruitment sites like and These are examples of popular sites in use in the UK, which will vary depending where you are in the world. This will include a bit of work to get all the details loaded, but then you can sit back and wait for the responses to come flooding in.

My advice is to keep your advert generic. This is critical and allows people you might not think are suitable, to engage with you. Ie degree required. This is not a critical requirement and is not a signifier of a great sales person.

Making Your Interviews Work

Just as important as an effective candidate generation strategy is a comprehensive interview framework that will identify the professional and personal characteristics you’re looking for. There are quite a few important variables that must be considered, so that you can be sure that you’re getting the right people.

You should also consider the value of how you do interviews especially the qualification ones. We prefer a telephone filter method for 10 minutes, followed by a 20 minute Skype call, finally progressing to a ‘face to face’ if they are successful. The main goal here is to save you time.

Here is an example of how the process should flow:

  1. 50 CVs come in
  2. These are filtered to 12 CVs
  3. These 12 are given 10 minute telephone interviews, totalling 120 minutes
  4. 4 successful candidates are interviewed via Skype for 20 minutes, (80 minutes)
  5. Face to face interviews with 2 final candidates, each taking 90 minutes for total of 180 minutes

Usual Time Spent on 20 interviews = At least 30 hours including preparation.

Time spent on our model = 10 hours, including preparation

These ratios change but the principle is here and comparing time spent, this model allows you to be time efficient and you’re not left feeling that you don’t want to spend any more time doing it. The reduced work involved allows you to approach it fresher and able to do a better job. Again, see our methods for doing a telephone interview, a skype interview and a face to face interview on video.

The Interview Itself

When putting your interview questions together, it pays to think laterally, as the things you ask need to be geared exactly to what you’re trying to achieve. First of all, you need to tailor your approach to whether you’re targeting;

•        People new to sales

•         Experienced sales people

•         Elite sales people

Each of these types of salespeople will likely give a very different set of responses to the questions you ask, so they need to reflect that. You don’t want to be covering the basics with a hugely experienced person or tackling complex problems with someone who’s just started.

What makes a great sales person is at the core of how you should interview.

A great sales person should have the following traits and there is no point recruiting a sales person who does not have them, when there are plenty out there that do. This issue then comes back to how you find them and how they’re interviewed.

Your ideal sales candidate should have:

  • Curiosity
  • Intelligence
  • Ability to take feedback
  • Track record of success
  • Motivation

Playing Your Part

An interview is a 2-way process and you should understand that you have to play your part. First off, it’s important to understand what makes a good salesperson from the list above, as this will guide the questions you ask. A cardinal sin when interviewing, is to spend too much time talking and not enough time listening, also giving the candidate enough time to reply in full.

Your approach must also be geared to allow your interviewee to shine. Asking questions is at the core of interviewing and you must have a clear model for interviewing your candidates to establish if they have the above traits. For more information on this, refer to our video sessions.

Interviews can be as individual as each person and consistent success in recruitment will involve a fluid process of adapting many of the methods described above to each candidate. What’s important is that you employ structure and thought to how you select and test potential recruits that come your way.

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About the author

Fraser Morrison

As the CEO and co-founder of 1000Steps, I apply my 33+ years of sales experience to help professionals excel. Specializing in sales process optimization, I'm committed to driving client success and achieving outstanding outcomes.