Red Flags to Look for in Sales Interviews

Sales Interview

In the metals industry, the quality of your sales team can make or break you. Having an underperforming sales professional on your team can lose your customers and impede your company’s growth. Here are some red flags to look for during sales interviews.


Confidence is a great skill to have in sales. Customers are more likely to trust a salesperson if they appear confident and seem like they know what they’re talking about. Overconfidence, however, is a major red flag. The best salespeople know their limits and aren’t afraid to ask questions when they have all the answers. Arrogant employers are also unlikely to be receptive to feedback, preventing them from improving their skills over time.

Lack of Research

If a candidate walks into an interview and seems to have little knowledge about your company, this is a major red flag. How a candidate prepares for an interview can tell you how they will qualify for a meeting with a prospective client. Do you want an employee who’s just going to wing a pitch without making an effort to learn about the client? From this, you can also predict that the candidate won’t do due diligence when evaluating leads.

Poor Listening Skills

 Most salespeople are great talkers, but they aren’t all great listeners. The best sales professionals actively listen when they are in a conversation because they know how important it is to understand what the client wants and to validate their feelings and thoughts. You don’t want an employer who talks at leads and customers without listening because your clients will feel like they aren’t valued.

 Job Hopping

It’s normal for candidates to have a couple of short-term jobs in their employment background, but this is a big red flag if they have a long pattern of job-hopping. While this doesn’t mean the candidate will be a bad employee, it could be a sign that they are challenging to work with or cannot successfully assess whether a job is a good fit for them. In addition, you want people on your team who will foster long-term relationships with clients, which isn’t a possibility if the new hire only stays for six months.

Bad Pitch

As a sales professional, you need to be able to make a compelling pitch. If a candidate seems to struggle to pitch themselves to you, think twice before hiring them. Candidates are likely to give some elevator pitches during the interview process, so it is essential to take the time to evaluate their pitch. Does their pitch demonstrate who they are as a professional, tell you what they want, and showcase how they can add value to your company?

Having a sales team you trust to find leads and sell your products is crucial for companies in the metals industry, yet it isn’t always easy to assess whether a candidate will be a good fit for your company. Some red flags you should look out for are arrogance, a lack of preparation, poor listening skills, job-hopping, and an inability to deliver a solid elevator pitch.

How can we help you?

Are you hiring a manager for a plastic producer or distributor looking for top sales talent in the industry? Submit a search request today.

Are you a top producing salesperson considering a new role in the plastics industry? Contact us to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.