#6-step assessment for hiring top salespeople

For any business, hiring top salespeople is vital for success. They should be skilled in handling objections, closing deals, driven, passionate, strategic, and hardworking. Finding the right salesperson requires a structured hiring process with job descriptions, interview questions, and patience. This article from Aniday presents a 6-step assessment for hiring top salespeople.


What do salespeople do?

Salespeople are incharge of selling products or services and embodying the brand, which involves inquiring to identify the best solutions, providing demonstrations or presentations, and nurturing customer connections. They engage potential leads through diverse channels like email, phone, text, and social media.

Key Skills for Successful Salespeople

Strong candidates for sales representative roles possess excellent phone skills, effective time management, and an innate drive to acquire clients. They also display the ability to impress interviewers by asking insightful follow-up questions and clearly expressing their interest in the next steps of the hiring process.

Key Skills of a Sales position

  • Communication (both verbal and written): Vital for promoting the company's products.

  • Goal-setting: Demonstrates the ability to set and achieve sales targets.

  • Presentation: Particularly important for inbound sales roles where strong presentation skills are needed to pitch products.

  • Research: Strong research skills indicate a candidate's knowledge of potential clients and their ability to prospect effectively for a robust outbound sales strategy.

A 6-step assessment for hiring top salespeople

In this section, we will look into details of 6 steps assessment to find the best salespeople for your team

Step 1: Assess written communication in initial emails

When a potential candidate responds to your sourcing request or applies for a position on your website, they often engage in email correspondence during the early stages of the hiring process. Every interaction with a candidate presents an opportunity to assess their written communication skills. Seek candidates who respond with clarity and transform the email exchange into an opportunity. 

Step 2: Conduct a phone screen to assess verbal communication skills

Following the initial email exchange, a phone screen serves as a valuable method to gain insights into the candidate's communication abilities. Ideally, candidates should be capable of presenting their past experiences in selling products or services in a clear and succinct manner. 

You can also give them a sales case study, seeking candidates who adopt a consultative approach rather than a persuasive one when it comes to sales. Look for candidates who engage in a meaningful discussion about your needs and how the product they are offering can make a difference for you.


Step 3: On-site Assessment of Active Listening

Once a candidate advances to the next stage, whether it's an in-person or virtual "on-site" interview, it's beneficial to step out of the office environment for a coffee chat to evaluate their active listening skills.

Active listening is a crucial skill for uncovering specific words or challenges that reveal a prospect's needs. Exceptional salespeople use this skill to steer conversations effectively, encourage prospects to share more, and build trust and commitment.

Step 4: Assessment of Objection Handling and Negotiation Skills

Exceptional sales people excel at addressing objections, understanding that no product or service is flawless. This ability enables them to address customer concerns effectively and close deals.

This skill is a strong predictor of success, especially for specific business concepts. Overcoming objections and handling obstacles can be challenging for many, making it vital to evaluate this trait.

Conducting a roleplay exercise helps assess a person's potential for success in this area. Look for the following traits in their responses:

  • Openness to different perspectives and a willingness to learn from others' experiences.

  • A propensity to ask questions rather than make assumptions that could cost them sales.

  • The ability to devise creative solutions when confronted with obstacles, utilizing their drive and imagination to find alternative ways to overcome challenges.

  • This assessment becomes even more critical if your sales team will be working remotely or with limited in-person supervision in the future.


Step 5: Assessment of Social Selling and Storytelling Skills

While "social selling" is a recent sales concept, its underlying principles have existed for decades. Whether in B2B or B2C, it involves building a network and fostering valuable connections that can lead to new business.

Exceptional salespeople are forward-thinking individuals who employ their listening skills to craft relevant stories that drive home key points. They excel at understanding what matters to their customers and what ignites their interest. This ability enables them to translate these insights into value propositions by sharing common interests.

Once a customer has moved beyond the initial contact stage, compelling storytelling helps establish an emotional connection. The best salespeople leverage empathy, humor, and enthusiasm to narrate engaging stories.

Step 6: Assessment of Presentation Skills

If feasible, arranging a presentation assessment (mock pitch for example) for the candidate is a valuable step. During this exercise, the candidate should be ready to address in-depth questions about your product or service and how they intend to sell it.

This step assesses how well they comprehend what sets your company apart and their enthusiasm for it. While not suitable for all hiring situations, mock pitches are among the most effective ways to test sales skills when recruiting new salespeople.



Recruiting salespeople is a crucial decision for any business. Therefore, you should evaluate candidates for skills that align with your company's future goals. Streamlining your hiring process is vital to avoid setbacks and ensure a smoother transition for new salespeople. Aniday hopes this article has given you an overview about salespeople position and a 6-step assessment for hiring top salespeople.