Sales Support: 5 Qualities to Look For When Interviewing Sales Staff

Shane Decker, a retail consultant for jewelry stores, has grown weary of retailers complaining about staff who don’t perform well on the sales floor after displaying consummate interview skills.

“I ask them, ‘how often do you have sales meetings?’ And they say, ‘Never,” says Decker. “And really, that’s setting your people up to fail. You have to train, train, train. And after that, train again.”

Still, there are some key ways to see if your sales candidates have what it takes to close deals during the interview process. Here are the personal and professional qualities he looks for when sussing out great sales talent.

People skills

“A whole lot of people hire based on college degrees,” says Decker. “But a whole lot of people have college degrees that don’t have common sense or communication skills. People skills boil down to your ability to have people come in and ask for you again.”

Closing skills

“Hire people who really know how to close,” says Decker. “People can talk and talk about something, but can they close? Hand them a pencil and tell them to sell it to you. Ask them, ‘Why should I buy this pencil?’ Have them roll play with you.”

Personal Professionalism

“When someone comes in for an interview and they’re wearing fashionable jeans with holes in them, they’re not coming to work for me,” says Decker. “If they come in in wearing a beautiful suit with nice hair and nails, it shows professionalism.”


“Look for people who have been in sales before,” says Decker. “I love to hire people with GIA skills. And see where they’ve worked. If they’ve been at five jewelry stores in five years, you don’t want them. If there’ve been somewhere for ten years, you know they’re loyal employees.”

A Good Attitude

“You want to make sure they’re a good team player and not a customer pig,” says Decker. “You want them to have an awesome attitude. Watch their body language when they sit in the chair. And make sure they answer questions with speed and accuracy and have some self-confidence.”

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