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Avoid These Red Flags When Hiring New SDRs and Inside Sales Reps

Revenue Blog  > Avoid These Red Flags When Hiring New SDRs and Inside Sales Reps
3 min readSeptember 8, 2020

If you’re like many sales leaders, you’re feeling the pressure to onboard and ramp up a sales team quickly. It can be tempting to hire any rep who seems reasonably intelligent and likable. And sure, the right sales coaching and sales tools can help most reps perform better. But that doesn’t mean you should hire every rep you interview.

I’m all for giving salespeople a chance to prove themselves, but some hires are just a waste of time. Some reps just won’t work out for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Some people just aren’t suited for a job in sales. Sales isn’t for everyone. Salespeople need a ton of self-discipline, amazing communications skills (verbal and written) and tons of hustle!
  2. Not everyone is a cultural fit. Every sales culture is different. One rep that might make the president’s club at one organization will strike out at another.
  3. Some reps just aren’t team players. Just because a rep has past record of success, it doesn’t mean that they will have a net-positive effect on your sales organization. There are a lot of ways to be successful in sales, and not all of them are ethical. As an example, I’ve heard horror stories about account executives bribing SDRs to route them leads that should be going to other AEs.

Hiring the wrong rep is costly. Think of all the time that goes into training a single sales rep. That’s why it’s so important to do your best to hire reps that will succeed in your sales organization.

In order to help you hire the right reps, we asked some sales experts we trust to reveal some red flags that you should avoid when hiring salespeople.

“When evaluating sales candidates, the three red flags which cause me to rule out an otherwise strong candidate are: a lack of attention to detail, a mediocre understanding of the value proposition of the solution we are selling and poor alignment with the desired results of a sales personality profile test. Of these variables, the most important ones are the ability to demonstrate great attention to detail as well as a personality profile that is tightly aligned with traits we typically seek. We utilize an interview process that allows us to adequately assess all of these variables and use data to more objectively assess candidates.”

matt tortora-Matt Tortora
Vice President of Sales, Goby



“Three red flags that cause me to rule out an otherwise good sales candidate:

1. Inability to be specific about how they have achieved success (What I look for: past W2s, names of specific strategic deals, process for closing specific deals, how he/she leverages other team members)

2. Unable to persevere (What I look for: examples of past challenges and how they overcame them)

3. Lack of skepticism (What I look for: questions about company vision, strategy and roadmap, desire to meet potential peers).”

-Alana Kadden Ballon
Principal, Inqune


“When hiring, everything a candidate does or says should be observed very closely. They are at their best to impress and secure the job. There are many red flags that are often ignored, or worse, excused away that are indicators of how they will behave and perform after hire.

There are several universal red flags we look for when we help our clients hire: untimely follow-up, lateness, low energy, bad attitude about previous employers, lack of research on the company, lack of asking questions or being curious about more than pay, schedule, and benefits. We also look for their ability to communicate effectively in writing and on the phone.

There are also different red flags depending on the role. After you have identified the attitude and behaviors needed for the specific sales role, there are red flags when they don’t exhibit the right attitudes, skills, and behaviors in those areas. For example: if the sales process is long and has many months of follow-through and the candidate doesn’t follow-up with you in a timely manner, red flag. If the job involves a lot of emailing, then poor writing in messages to you is a red flag. If the job involves detailed proposals and calculations, typos in any correspondence are a red flag.

Candidates let us know who they are throughout the process. Focus on the actions, words, and attitude.”

Nancy BleekeNancy Bleeke,
President and Chief Sales Officer, Sales Pro Insider



For more hiring and coaching tips from top sales experts download our eBook for free!