Our clients rely on us to find all sorts of sales professionals from sales support to reps and managers, to executives and sales VP’s, and a significant portion of the positions we work on are the hard to find top producing and reliable hunters. Reps who are able to develop territories will make or break a business.

When we first engage with new customers, we dig into their sales hiring processes and understand how they evaluate and select candidates. When it comes to hiring sales reps for hunter positions, companies are often under so much pressure to fill vacant positions that they cut corners and bend their own hiring rules to see candidates in a positive light. We understand the urgency, but settling on under-performers or hiring non-hunters into hunter roles is a recipe for disaster.

Here are the rules that can’t be broken when hiring hunters for sales reps:

1. Where to Look – As we have said repeatedly, you can’t post ads and expect to attract top producing sales reps and the same goes for top performing hunters. They won’t see your ads. You need to find wherever they spend their time and you will need a compelling reason why they should hear about your opportunity.

2. What to Look For – While requisite domain knowledge varies by industry, hunters are, by nature, confident, ambitious, persistent and optimistic. These are the traits you need to be scanning for when screening potential candidates. When you find these characteristics, key in on the the other traits that mean they will fit with your company and sales team cultures.

3. How to Interview – Hunters are trained to sell in high pressure situations and they are cold blooded calm. They can think on their feet and provide great answers when required, so don’t give them an opportunity to concoct perfect answers. Don’t ask them where they would look for business with you, ask them where they find business with their current employer. Find out how they deal with constant rejection of calling on new customers. Ask them how they compete, how they deal with losses, how they get in front of big decision makers, and what kind of sacrifices they are prepared to make to be successful.

4. How to Reel Them In – They will be leaving a pipeline that they fought hard to develop. Even if their current position is not perfect for them, it is the devil they know and you are the devil they don’t know. They are risk oriented but they are also money motivated and joining you presents a risk to their income; your job is to mitigate their fears. You will need to show them how other reps are doing in your company and why they will earn as much or more with you as they are currently. Another of our posts details five ways you can attract great reps.

Good luck!


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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