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How you qualify your candidates when you hire SDRs

How do you pick the best SDRs from a group of fresh young grads? Here are a few tips for hiring success.


As the country begins to finally emerge from the Coronavirus crisis, companies are hiring again. A lot of the organisations I speak to are expanding their sales development teams, looking for knowledge and enthusiasm at the top of their funnel, as well as a strong bench of talent for the future. 

However, hiring SDRs can be tricky for several reasons. In this article, we’re going to look at why this is and put forward the most effective ways to overcome the challenges. 

Why hiring SDRs is hard

The problem with hiring SDRs is that most of the people who answer your ad, or your recruitment consultant sends to you, have no sales track record to speak of. You’ll have a group of fresh-faced young grads, all ready to take their first steps in the world of sales, but you have no idea which ones will be any good, let alone who is the best. You want to see raw talent, attitude and aptitude, but those are really hard to test for.

Also, and this is something that hiring managers don’t always realise, that your candidates are evaluating you too. Hiring salespeople is a competitive environment, and it’s competitive both ways. You need to find out who is the best, while promoting your company as the kind of place that the best people want to work, with progression opportunities, excellent rewards and a positive workplace culture. It’s not easy!

How to win at hiring SDRs

At SalesWorks, we help high-performing SaaS companies build their SDR teams. As a result, we’ve developed a few tricks to qualifying potential SDRs at the assessment stage.

What I’m looking for in a new SDR isn’t knowledge of sales techniques. You can coach sales skills into SDRs. What I want to see is an interest in the company they are applying to work for. I also want to see some things you can’t coach – passion and communication skills, both written and verbal.

So firstly, we put them to work. You can ask a candidate all the competency questions in the world; there is much more value in getting them to do complete a project or exercise.

I often ask candidates to draft an email to one of our customer personas. What I look for is evidence that the prospective SDRs have looked at the company’s website and attempted to analyse it and formulate a sensible approach. I don’t necessarily need to see the right answers, just that they’ve tried – you’d be amazed how many people skim over the company research.

How to create the best exercise

Here are some tips to help you come up with an effective exercise that will help you separate the best potential SDRs from the rest:

  • Tell your candidates how long the exercise will take - set expectations
  • Make sure your exercise allows your candidates to demonstrate skills that are actually important to the role
  • Don’t chase up people who haven’t submitted their project – it helps you eliminate people who are lazy or don’t have the passion

Find out more from SalesWorks

Processes like this help you take the guesswork out of hiring SDRs.

To find out more about how SalesWorks can help you recruit only the most accomplished sales professionals with the best fit possible for your objectives and your culture, get in touch.