Hiring Sales Executive

How To Assess And Hire Sales Executive?

Published on December 2nd, 2022


A significant portion of the worldwide workforce is made up of sales employees. From necessities like food and housing to opulent offerings like massages and spa treatments, there is always something to sell.

Hiring and assessing a sales executive who can carry out successful sales can be a daunting task. Here we have listed some tips and strategies that you can use to hire the best sales executive for your organization.

But first comes the question….

What is a Sales Executive?

In plain words, a sales executive is a person who brings new business prospects by selling your products or services to them. They are people who maintain relationships with existing and new clients to help the business prosper.

A sales executive is the heart of a company because no sales, no business. They strategize the company's annual sales targets and goals and work towards the achievement of those objectives.

Their main role is to attract customers with potential discounts and offers and present the product in such a way that the client is taken aback and becomes curious to buy your product.

Skills to look for in a Sales Executive

Every job requires sales ability, be it marketing, finance, engineering, or human resources. But does your candidate have those extra special skills or what it takes to directly connect with prospective customers and sell your product?

Not sure!

We have narrowed down the top skills that you can look for in your candidate while assessing a sales executive.

Interpersonal Skills

This skill goes without even saying for a top-performing sales executive. Communication is the key for a sales executive, it includes things like reaching out to the customer, listening to their needs, and even chatting with your colleague or senior on the office premises.

Active listening is a crucial subskill to look for in your candidate. They should listen to the customer's requirements, and problems and then present them with the solution they are looking for.

A good storytelling skill can stand out from the rest of the pool. Presenting an engaging and research-oriented story to the client will keep them asking for more information about your product or service and land an organic sale for you.

As a sales executive, it is part of the job to maintain healthy and amicable relationships with your client and build connections with people in the same industry.

Lastly, a sales executive should not only have friendly ties with their customers but all their colleagues and managers to thrive in the sales sector.

Product Knowledge

A sales executive should have a thorough knowledge of your products or services such that they can answer any questions that a customer may have.

The candidate should be able to tailor the product according to the customer's requirements and provide the best solution possible.

Technical knowledge of the product that your business sells and some prior experience in the same industry for a candidate works well while hiring a suitable sales executive for your organization.

Apart from the product, a hands-on experience with the CRM software, a tool that makes the life of a sales representative easy and manageable is a skill that most hiring managers look out for. They should also have a basic understanding of social media platforms and email marketing.

Leadership Skills

Good leadership skill is significant for a sales executive to make important decisions quickly and to also motivate the sales team working below you to work efficiently.

A good sales executive should be able to lead a team and also take directions within a team. A leader is much more than just telling their team what to do, they should manage the entire team with fairness and motivate them to accomplish their targets.

A hiring manager should look for leadership qualities in the candidate who can manage a team and also complete their targets at the same time.


This skill tops the list when hiring a sales executive. A sales representative should exude confidence to sell their product to a customer.

Confidence comes in a crossover with technical knowledge of the product, the more a candidate knows about the product, the more confidence they exhibit.

A confident sales executive can redirect a customer into buying the product with their sure-shot attitude and enigmatic personality.

Time Management

The job of a sales executive is a hectic one and requires rigorous time management to achieve targets. A candidate who is good at prioritizing their tasks and planning their day accordingly can be a good catch for your organization.

A sales executive juggles myriad tasks and is often at different stages with different clients. Knowing how to reshuffle their tasks with good time management is directly important for a successful sales executive.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to perceive other people's moods and act accordingly in the situation.

A sales executive should have the ability to gauge the emotions of their customers and provide them with the best solution possible.

An emotionally intelligent sales executive can perceive the emotion of the customer through their voice, face, or picture and can then capitalize on their mood to make the sale at the right moment.

How to Assess a Sales Executive?

Almost 50% of organizations claim that they do not have the right sales talent in place.

This is because there are no proper pre-employment assessments carried out before hiring candidates. Assessing a candidate from top to bottom is important to make the best hire for your organization.

Initially, setting up a few sales-related questions will sieve out the top candidates from the large pool. These top candidates can then be minutely assessed to hire the right fit for your organization.

Hiring managers or recruitment teams can assess a sales executive candidate on the following criteria:

Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability Tests

A basic logical reasoning test tells whether a candidate is able to make logical arguments and what is their thought process during the entire hiring process.

An analytical ability test measures the critical thinking and problem-solving abilities of the candidate. These assessments help the hiring manager to gauge the candidate based on their soft skills.

Communication Skill Assessment Test

As already talked about in the skills section, communication is crucial for a sales executive. Assessing the candidates for excellent verbal and written communication skills can give you an insight into the overall personality of the applicant.

An applicant with good communication skills along with a command of the language can persuade the customer easily. Basic email etiquette is also necessary to check as sales executives have to interact or follow up with their customers over email frequently.

Psychometric Test and Sales Skill Test

Psychometric tests help in quantifying the soft skills and the sales skills of the candidate. These tests reveal the actual strengths and weaknesses of the applicant.

Artificial intelligence is creeping into our lives slowly but making a deep impact every day. All these pre-employment assessments are now available on the web and can be customized according to your needs and help you to pick the best sales executive for your organization.

Tips for Hiring a Sales Executive

Setting up a strategy to hire a sales executive will weed out the mediocre applicants from the large candidate pool and bring to you the best and top applicants to assess for the job opening.

Here are a few tips to build a full-proof sales executive hiring strategy:

Scan the Resume for Keywords

You should go through the applicant's resume closely to find the keywords that match your job description. Always make sure to scan the resumes before booking an interview with them.

Look out for their experience and achievements (if any), and ensure that it is backed by stats and numbers.

Obviously, there are softwares such as applicant tracking systems that can do this job for you and save all the manual labor.

Look for a Goal-oriented Candidate

Every candidate that appears for the interview will be fully prepared and try to paint themselves as the most focused and growth-minded person. But an innate passion and ambition for sales always stand out from the facade.

You can ask them sales-related questions and give them unique situation questions to gauge their sales ability and sift out the candidates that do not pass the bar for those questions.

Choose the Confident Candidate

Again, every sales executive candidate will exude confidence and show themselves as the most determined candidate. But, you cannot fall into the trap and hire the first candidate that appears to be confident.

You have to differentiate between confident and arrogant candidates. Present them with a series of objections and you will be easily able to distinguish the applicant that suits your organization.

Conduct Multiple Interviews

You might want to meet your candidate a few times before finally hiring them and perhaps also including other members of your organization. This will give different viewpoints on the candidate and you can judge if they are the right fit for your company.

Some organizations will have the department head, HR head, and director interview every candidate before making any job offers.

Know the Candidate

It is not necessary that only extroverts can form a good rapport with the clients, introverts or ambiverts can do so too. Try to know the personality of the candidate after office hours, what they like to do, their hobbies, and passions.

Try to connect with the candidate during the interview and analyze how they indulge in different situations and do they meet different people.

Look for a Problem-Solver

A good sales executive should not run away from problems but should be creative enough to come up with a solution. Ask questions about what challenges they faced at the previous organization and how they manage to rectify them.

Do not hold back to ask all sorts of questions from the candidate, because an applicant is not about the certifications or degrees but their adherence to discipline, optimism, perseverance, and commitment to growth.

Checklist for Hiring Managers to Recruit the Best Sales Executive

Yes, we have already talked about the skills to look for in a superstar sales executive. But we have created a checklist of both soft and hard skills that can give you an upper hand while hiring a sales executive.

Hard Skills

  • Thorough understanding of the products and services they are selling
  • Knowledge of competitor's products
  • Understanding of the latest industry-specific technologies
  • Ability to set short and long-term goals to achieve targets
  • Functional knowledge of standard business tools, techniques, and software
  • Information gathering skills
  • Research and planning skills
  • Ability to create sales presentations
  • Knowledge of business policies
  • Computer literacy that enables data collection
  • Working knowledge of CRM software that is used to collect and retrieve details of customers and other prospects
  • Ability to conduct market research

Soft Skills

  • Ability to build a rapport with customers
  • Simple, clear and customer-centric communication
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Excellent listening skills and ability to empathize with customers' needs
  • Work with the intention of benefiting the customer
  • Excellent business communication skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Time management skills
  • Storytelling skills
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment
  • Conflict resolution skills

Final Thoughts

We know that hiring the sales executive you need for your team can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you've hired people in the past who haven't matched up to your expectations.

As you structure your interviews, remember that competition for top sales talent is fierce. It's important to balance interview diligence with moving candidates through the process efficiently. Use these skill assessment exercises or our skill assessments, and you're sure to streamline your hiring process and attract top talent. Also, use an efficient talent-sourcing tool so that you can focus on more relevant aspects apart from the initial screening process.

What is your strategy to hire the best sales executive for your organization?

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Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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