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Reference Check Questions for Sales Positions

Reference checks are one of the few ways to accurately verify and assess candidate soft skills, employment history, and other important factors that go into hiring. 

And in 2023, digital reference checks have made the process easier than ever. With advanced automated solutions, like Crosschq’s hiring platform, you can gather candidate reports in a matter of days and streamline the entire reference check process directly from your ATS.

But what questions should you ask to get the most out of your reference checks? If your goal is to identify any pre-hire red flags, ensure the candidate’s resume and employment history is accurate, verify skill sets, learn about a candidate’s work ethic, and more, you need to know what to ask.

Below is everything you need to know about reference check questions for sales positions. 

The Importance of Reference Check Questions for Sales Positions

Reference checks are your opportunity to ensure that the amazing candidate you’ve come across is as amazing as they seem to be. They help verify information you gather from interviews, resumes, and interactions with the candidate in question, and they give you insight on the impact the applicant has had in previous organizations. 

For sales reps in particular, you also want to ensure they have the right skill set needed for your position. These include:

  • Soft skills
  • Communication skills
  • A strong initiative to proactively seek new clients
  • Negotiation skills
  • Client relationship management skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Closing sales

Reference Check Questions for Sales Positions

Here are a few essential reference check questions for sales positions.

Would you hire your candidate again? Why or why not?

This is one of the most important questions you could ask anyone for a reference check, regardless of what position. It’s a polarizing question that asks the former employer/manager to identify any red (or green) flags. It also allows them to expand on their reasoning, which can help you learn more about their efficacy as a salesperson.

How was the candidate’s relationship with their peers and leaders?

This is another essential question that will tell you what kind of contribution this individual made to the workplace and company culture. You want individuals who work well with peers, respond well to managers, and contribute to your team in a positive way. 

What are the candidate's greatest strengths as a sales rep?

The best questions are the ones that give the former manager or peer an opportunity to expand and build on your questions. Open-ended questions and questions that allow them to refer to their experiences with the candidate, like a question about the candidate’s strengths, will often yield the most thorough and helpful answers.

What are the candidate's weaknesses as a sales rep?

This “trick question” is often seen in interviews, but it’s also really helpful for reference checks. Rather than getting a clever or well-thought response, you’ll often get an accurate assessment of the candidate’s weaknesses. You also create another opportunity for your reference to bring up any red flags or additional concerns, which is a big part of reference checks in general. 

Rate the candidate’s ability to display the following characteristics from 1-10

This is a good way to gauge the most important skills and characteristics that an employee needs for a sales position. A rating scale also gives you some flexibility to come up with characteristics that are important to the specific role you’re filling. Your questionnaire might include skills like level of:

  • Confidence
  • Ambition
  • Social skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Work ethic
  • Coachability

For this particular position, we need the candidate to excel at [insert the important quality/skillset you’re seeking]. How well do they fit that description? 

This is a great question to help you tailor the reference question to your specific needs. Some positions require your representative to travel often to meet clients in person, others might ask them to focus on cold calls and cold emailing. Whatever skill set you’re looking for, you can highlight it here.

Automating the Reference Check Process for Sales Positions

Traditionally, reference checks involved team leaders and HR managers contacting references one by one in a long, manual process that wasn’t great at identifying future success. Today, advanced hiring platforms, like Crosschq, can gather automated candidate reports within 48 hours and provide your team with a new source of qualified and active talent. 

Crosschq’s reference checking technology is backed with IO Psychologist vetted surveys, aggregate data on candidate skills and strengths, and a seamless integration that reduces turnaround time by 85 percent. When top talent is off the market within 10 days of job searching, it’s important that you have the tools to make quick and smart hiring decisions. 

The Importance of Reference Checking Sales Positions and Quality of Hire

Determining quality of hire has to do with calculating factors like performance, hiring manager satisfaction, culture fit, promotability, and re-hireability. Although measuring month-over-month performance is important to get a real pulse on quality of hire, you can still gather aggregate data and measure soft skills that correlate to performance. 

Crosschq’s 360 digital reference check technology can help you measure candidate impact, soft skills, hard skills, strengths and weaknesses, and other key inputs that determine quality of hire. Want to learn more about how to measure quality of hire with reference checks? Download Crosschq’s Quality of Hire “Q” Report

Our “Q” Report looked at 24+ million pre-hire and post-hire decisions we’ve helped leaders make, along with the radical insights from those data points that can help you hire, retain, and develop talent. And if you want to learn more about how Crosschq can help leaders and hiring teams attract, retain, and measure the performance of top talent, sign up for a demo today.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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