04 May Hiring Sales Hunters: Is a Winning Resume Enough?

Unstopped Idea: Ask the right questions during an interview to identify sales hunters.

When looking to hire sales hunter, I am a strong believer in using (validated) assessments. Although not foolproof, they do give a good indication if the applicant has the mindset and the resilience needed to withstand rejection. Sales hunters are much more resilient and have a very positive mindset. That is the secret to their ability to keep on moving past obstacles, failure, and rejection. But most hiring managers don’t use assessment because they don’t understand their value. Instead, they rely solely on their instinct and on the candidate’s resume.

If you are not going to use assessments, it’s important to identify the traits which determine a sales hunter. A sales hunter is self-motivated, driven to compete and succeed, and has a strong desire to influence others. Hunters are optimistic when they fail. So they get back up quickly and try again. Since you will not find these traits listed on a resume, and it’s your obligation to identify them during the interview.

  1. Does she have an ability to sell herself?

A good sales hunter, is an effective communicator. If you’re interviewing a candidate who is unable to speak openly and clearly about herself or her job success, it’s a red flag. Ask questions about her past successes. Let her tell you about the awards she earned or the specific measurements by which she increased company revenue.

  1. Does she have good business sense?

A sales hunter has good business sense. Ask her about a time when she identified a poor selling opportunity. Was there a customer whose objections were insurmountable? Was there a situation where she was unable to provide a solution? Ask her how she handled it. A sales hunter knows that not every opportunity is a sales opportunity, and will know when to walk away.

  1. Is she trainable?

The pitfall of many sales managers is the thinking that an experienced salesperson is the best candidate. Unfortunately, that’s not always the truth. While the onboarding process is slightly easier with an experienced sales hire, ongoing training is critical for their success. Maybe your candidate was the top performer on her team. Does she have a sense of entitlement? If your candidate doesn’t demonstrate a desire to continually improve her skills and knowledge, she likely will neither success or bring in new business 

Identifying a hunter is only a small part of the big picture when interviewing sales representatives. It’s crucial that you ask the right questions to ensure that your candidate is not only ready to hit the ground running, but also willing and eager to continually learn.

And your job doesn’t end when you bring on a new hire. As you have identified the traits which make your new hire a hunter, also seek to find what motivates her. Their ability to sell in conjunction with your ongoing training can transform your new hire into a hunter (if they are not one already).
What questions do you ask in an interview to identify a sales hunter?