News & Events for Employment & Skills

What should businesses be looking for in a new sales candidate?

A good salesperson is worth a lot to a company because such an individual has the ability to generate new business, support and encourage current customers, and drive future growth.

Candidates from sales jobs may come from a number of different work backgrounds, but whatever that background, they will usually be "good with people." That's a bit of an off phrase because it can mean any number of things, but essentially a quality salesperson will have an outward-facing personality. This means being comfortable both on the phone and in person when dealing with customers in the workplace and at other locations, and keeping senior managers in touch with what is being done and achieved.

When you're hiring for a sales role, here are a few tips to keep in mind.


Good personality

When you look at an application for a sales job, you need to go for candidates whose language skills are good. A sound written application, with no spelling or grammatical errors, should give you confidence that the candidate is worth an interview. It's not a bad plan to phone a potential interviewee up, ask a few simple questions, and get a sense of what his or her phone manner is like.

If the sales position is customer facing, then candidates need to display an ease of manner and confidence at the outset, and though these things can be taught, they don't come easily to everyone.


Good with the tech

Serious candidates will either have had experience of particular sales programmes, but if they haven't, they should make an effort prior to interview to find out what your business uses and become at least basically familiar with it.

You should explore a candidate's familiarity with various types of technology, but also take into account whether he or she has the right attitude and other skills that point toward an ability to learn on the job.


Experience or not?

This is always a difficult one. Sales candidates that have experience in the field, though in another sector, often have the tools to make an excellent contribution to your business. However, there may be occasions when they think they know best, even though they are not necessarily that familiar with the new business, how it operates and what it produces. Most people in this situation adapt.

Training up someone new can be time-consuming, but it can bring candidates closely into the ethos of your business, and you can set guidelines and provide support that will engender loyalty from new employees. What you need to establish from the outset, through interview, is if your potential employee is a fast learner and can deliver on the promise suggested through interview.

Sales staff can be employed to help with invoicing customers as well as act as a public face to clients and customers, and is a simple way in which they can be part of additional income generation for your business.

Taking on new staff shows your business is in a position to grow, and a good sales appointment will play an important role in that growth and development.

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