You may be better off aiming for candidates with a track record of success in a company more similar to yours in size.

A bad salesperson is like a stubborn weed in your garden. It insists on stealing valuable time and resources that could be spent on more vital and productive plants.

The first step to weeding out the bad seeds during the hiring process is conducting a strong resume review. Your first job is to get as many pretenders out of the recruiting pipeline as early as possible so that they do not waste any more of your time and money in the next steps. Here are three resume red flags to look out for:

Serial Job Hopping

Many salespeople will have one or two short-lived positions when they are fresh out of school.

We can allow this as a natural part of building early experience and finding one’s sea legs in the world of sales. However, past the first few positions, a pattern of moving to a new job every few years can be cause for concern.

The job hopper may have an issue with loyalty, discernment (vetting their opportunities carefully) or poor performance.

As we know, the best predictor of future behavior is previous behavior, so be sure to carefully clarify the reasons for these moves if you wish to consider the candidate further.

A Big Fish in a Small Pond

A common mistake many growing companies make is falling in love with a candidate with substantial experience at a large firm with national or global name recognition. No doubt, the candidate may have a great resume and history of success.

But, be sure to clarify the reasons for the candidate’s previous success . . . did it result mainly from the candidate’s own initiative and perseverance? Or did the brand name and heaps of collateral material provided by the large firm do the heavy lifting, opening doors and allowing the candidate to close more easily?

If so, consider whether he will be ready to move into a “hunter” role for a growing company without that same level of brand recognition. You may be better off aiming for candidates with a track record of success in a company more similar to yours in size.


This seems like a no-brainer, but in the age of Twitter, it can be easy to get accustomed to spelling and grammar mistakes in our communication. However, the resume is a document that warrants substantial review and proofreading.

This is the candidate’s opportunity to make a strong first impression. If the candidate’s “best foot forward” is a document with several typos, rest assured that once they have the job, this pattern will not improve. Candidates high in Drive, particularly Need for Achievement, will proofread their resumes carefully.

Download our FREE Ultimate Sales Interview Guide and get tips, tactics, and interview questions that will help you hire better salespeople fast!

About the author

Christopher Croner, Ph.D.

Christopher Croner, Ph.D.

Dr. Christopher Croner received his BA in Psychology from DePaul University, and his Masters…

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