It's critical in today's uncertain business climate to make no mistakes in interviewing and hiring new sales representatives for your company. Hiring managers are under more pressure than ever before to make the right decision the first time. Beyond the basics of conducting a great interview and communicating with candidates in a timely manner, it's important to keep an objective, balanced perspective. Here are the top 5 things you need to know to make a great decision and avoid costly hiring mistakes:

1. Use a results-based decision-making process. What does this mean? Look at your current reps (most importantly, look at the high performers). What are their characteristics in common? Similar backgrounds? Similar degrees? What works for their success will likely be what makes a good current candidate. They will "fit."

2. Talk to your top candidates several times. Make sure you're getting a full picture of the candidate, not on just one really spectacular day. Also, have others speak to them. See if others on your team are getting the same impression you are.

3. Watch the "tells." If you play poker, you know about "tells." It's just body language and behavior. Read the book: Reading People. It's excellent. And pay attention to things like:

· how they follow up with you after the interview

· what the thank you note looks like, how it is written, and when it came

· how the candidate dressed, and what kind of behavior you noticed

4. Use an assessment tool: DISC, Caliper, OPQ, or whatever- but use this on your current team first. It's like the background. If you know what kind of personality characteristics make for a great sales rep in your company, look for those kinds of things in new candidates.

5. CHECK REFERENCES. I'm amazed at how some hiring managers don't check for references or pay close attention to the ones they call. There are definite signs to look for that will give you solid clues about your candidate. You will find them by interviewing references, not just settling for "He's a great guy" kinds of comments.

These tips will give you critical information on your prospects and solidify your reputation as a great hiring manager when you bring in candidates who are assets to the company.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is the owner and chief recruiter for PHC Consulting, a recruiting firm providing top sales talent, sales management, marketing and service / support personnel to some of the most prominent high growth companies in the medical and laboratory products industry for over 9 years! We provide top talent (usually the top 10% of sales force rankings) and reduce turnover (through exceptional client knowledge and candidate screening). This in combination with our reputation for smoothly facilitating the hiring process makes us the search firm of choice in this arena. For more information, see