Talent Acquisition

How to Hire a Sales Development Representative

SDR closing a deal on a laptop

Your business goal number one has been successfully achieved: you’ve created a great product. The next step? Hire a Sales Development Representative (SDR) to pitch it & sell it.

Naturally, the most effective way to get your product out there is to hire an exceptional sales development representative. A great SDR person will generate leads, keep an engaged funnel of prospects, and represent your business in an authentic way.

But how do you go about hiring a sales development representative?

Here are all our tips when it comes to hiring a sales development representative!

  1. Step 1: Identify Your Ideal SDR & Tailor Your Job Ad 
  2. Step 2: Screening & Skills Test
  3. Step 3: In-Depth Interview
  4. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Step 1: Identify Your Ideal SDR & Tailor Your Job Ad

While SDRs are often entry-level positions, they play a large role within your startup – after all, an SDR is the first point of contact between your business and the customer.

Before you go out there and hire, here are a few things your ideal SDR should absolutely know how to do:

  • Communicate effectively via email, phone, and video
  • Establish a highly customized outreach process (knowing how to balance quantity and quality)
  • Hone down on leads with effective follow-up emails or calls
  • Qualify leads to know if they’re the right fit for the company
  • Use a CRM system (customer relationship management) in an organised way
  • Represent your company’s values in a warm and professional manner

Of course, your job ad needs to be tailored to these requirements specifically. Be as clear as possible. When reading the job ad, your candidate should know straight away:

  • What products you’re selling & where you stand on the market. This may sound obvious, but in SaaS sales, or any tech sales jobs, the quality of the product is huge, so if you can demonstrate to potential SDRs that it’ll be easier to sell your product, they’ll more likely want to join. 
  • What you can offer them in terms of benefits, career progression, and challenges (this is why employer branding is so important)
  • What person they’ll report to (e.g., the Sales Development Manager) and what level of responsibility they’ll carry
  • What skills and qualifications they should have (remember that it is more about skills and personality traits than diplomas as far as SDRs are concerned)
  • Salary & whether the job is remote, hybrid, or at a specific location
  • How long the recruitment process will take

Here are just a few sales-related job boards you can post on:

As you’re identifying your ideal candidate and crafting job ads, don’t forget to keep your employer brand up to shape. Stay active on LinkedIn, customize your Careers Page, and create a culture deck that portrays what you’re all about. From a talent pool perspective, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) are particularly prevalent in the business-to-business (B2B) domain and they’re often selling software, referred as ‘SaaS sales’ or ‘tech sales’ so this is good to keep in mind if your product doesn’t fit this category. 

Step 2: Screening & Skills Test

Postponing interviews is one of the primary frustrations job seekers have. No one wants to go through a long hiring process, especially when there are other opportunities on the line.

Make things short and sweet. Don’t spend too long on the screening process – CVs often don’t portray reality accurately, not to mention that candidates with less impressive backgrounds might still outperform others – and move on to the skills test as soon as possible.

And what’s the reason a skills test comes before an in-depth interview, we hear you ask?

When searching for amazing SDRs, their personality and soft skills are among the primary factors to consider. This means the interview stage is the longest and most complex one – you want to make sure your new team member is a cultural fit and suits your company's needs in face-to-face interactions.

Consider using a skills test

A skills test is easier, not to mention that it helps you identify a shortlist of candidates very effectively. What better way to gauge someone’s sales performance than to actually see them sell?

You can have your candidate write an email, leave a voicemail, or do a quick roleplay scenario on camera.

Careful, though – you’ve got to make sure you optimize your hiring for DE&I and mitigate any bias. The easiest way to do that is through having set criteria for measuring each candidate’s performance, such as:

  • Does their approach represent your company’s values and demonstrate their knowledge about who you are?
  • Are they hooking the prospect from the get-go in a way that’s enthusiastic and authentic but not over the top?
  • Do they use the right terminology and show confidence in their abilities?

Finally, determine if your candidate’s using clear and effective language. Brandon Kirsch, Inbound Growth Specialist at HubSpot, unpacks some of the phrases that salespeople ought to use when in doubt:

"Got it, so it sounds like...",

"To confirm, it seems like...",

"Alright, let me take a swing at what I'm hearing. Correct me if I'm wrong..."

Step 3: In-Depth Interview

Alright, let’s jump into the last – and most important – part of the hiring process!

This is where you really get to feel out your candidate’s energy, probe the corners of their mind, and see how they perform on a deeper level.

Some of the questions you can ask include:

  • Why do you want to sell our product? (demonstrates their knowledge about your company & their passion for your mission)
  • Walk me through your work process. How do you research prospects and generate leads? (shows what they’ve learned from past experience and whether they have any fresh insights on the sales process)
  • Do you have any strategy for handling rejection? (60% of customers say “no” four times before saying “yes”, so SDRs need to be very resilient)
  • Tell me about a previous sales experience that’s changed you. How has it helped you grow? (demonstrates self-awareness and self-reflection)

Finally, don’t forget to ask if your candidate has any questions for you. After all, the interview goes both ways – as you’re gauging the candidate’s skills, they’re also gauging what kind of an employer you are.

And again, we recommend you use structured interviews (with set questions and a standard evaluation procedure) to mitigate any unconscious bias.

Final Words

Hiring an amazing sales development representative might be challenging, but once you get to the interview stage, you should have a pretty clear sense of who is best.

Our final advice is to let your team in on the hiring process, listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to give a younger person a chance. Their spark and enthusiasm might be exactly what you need to skyrocket your success.


Move's embedded talent service ensures you get it right when you most need to. We’re experts at securing top talent that thrives in early-stage tech businesses. And, we’ll set you up for hiring success so you can do it without us in the future 🚀 Work with your own dedicated, expert talent team on a subscription basis during periods of growth. No long contracts. Guaranteed hires.

We’ll make the hires, you keep the playbooks 🛠🤝 Don't take our word for it, check out our testimonials page 👀🚀🚀

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What does a sales development representative do?

An SDR (Sales Development Representative) is in charge of generating new leads, getting in touch with potential prospects, and qualifying which buyers are the right fit for your company. They manage the sales pipeline, often through a CRM tool.

What’s the difference between a sales development representative and a sales executive?

While sales development representatives reach out to new prospects and qualify leads, sales executives take over further down the road when they negotiate and close deals.

How much should an SDR make?

The average salary of a sales development representative (SDR) in London is £33,992 per year as reported by Glassdoor.

Share on :
vector 4 svgvector 3 svg

Related Blogs