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5 Critical Sales Personality Traits You Need to Assess When Recruiting

Posted by Thao La on Jul 22, 2015 2:30:00 PM

What makes a great salesman? Which personality traits does a great salesman need? These are the basic questions you need to know the answer to before starting your sales recruitment process. What do you need from a salesperson, so you can choose the best candidate? Let’s learn what a salesperson should look like to save your some time and money and to help you identify that great salesperson.


According to the “Big Five” written by J.M.Digman 1990, the majority of human behaviours can be classified into five main categories: Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Openness to Experience, and Agreeableness. So if you want to know how these big five traits affect sales performance, then first let’s test and find out within your existing team. Ask the sales reps who you consider have the best performance so far to take the assessment. Finally, you can base your recruitment on their results to choose the candidates who have similar results with them

1. Conscientiousness

85% of the top sales people have high levels of conscientiousness and this trait also has the highest correlation to sales performance. Conscientious people are usually described as responsible, reliable, and organised and achievement oriented. Because of high responsibility and achievement orientation, sales people will take their job seriously and be deeply responsible for their results, so they try their best to reach the KPIs that you set for them. Furthermore, they like and intend to measure their results continuously over time.

They do research and seek information to meet the key decision-makers. They think of what key decision-makers need, instead of focusing on what their products’ features and functionalities are.
Through this behaviour analysis, you should customise your recruitment with questions and scenarios to find out who are the conscientious.

2. Extraversion and Introversion

The second highest correlation with sales performance is extraversion. The related personality traits are energetic, sociable, assertive and talkative. However, through our webinar “Jobfit 2015: Perception and reality”, Mr. Huy pointed out that some of the top sales people in the world are introverted people. An introverted person doesn’t mean they are afraid of being surrounded by others and talking to others, but they generally dislike it as it’s typically energy draining for them. However if they want to be top salesmen, they can appear to hide this side of their personality and appear extrovert. In contrast extroverts can find it energy boosting to be surrounded by others and interacting with them constantly. Thus, sometimes you may be surprised by how a talented salesman is a lot more introverted than you thought they were.

If you are hiring for telesales, the case can be interchangeable. An introverted person is more detail-oriented and calm, thus their understanding about potential customers can be better. They also think carefully before talking, their words are more condensed and thus more valuable to customers, some create greater trust in customers.

As a result, this personality trait (like others) should depend on the position you are hiring for, so you can choose how introverted or extroverted your sales people need to be.

3. Emotional Stability

Among all of the personality traits, emotional stability has the lowest connection with sales performance. Typically, people will not close a deal with someone who looks nervous and is always pushing to close the deal, they may feel that they are being pressured to buy. So wouldn’t you look for sales people who are calm, and neither nervous nor anxious?   

4. Openness to Experience

Openness to experience here means that they are willing to learn, are curious and creative. A curious person has a high level of seeking out more information. Adding in a willing to learn personality, then we have a person who is always moving forward. This salesman will actively ask questions and find customers’ difficulties, so he/she can help them to close the gap between the product and customers’ needs. Additionally, asking the right questions of customers contribute to their positive feeling towards your salesman, as if your business actually cares for customers.
As a result, you need to customise your questions of the assessment to find a person who are curious and willing to learn. This could be found in their working style, hobbies and etc.

5. Agreeableness

This personality trait is associated with cooperation and trust. If you want to find salesmen who are good at building relationships, then this is your guy. However, you should be careful too, because agreeable sales people usually lack closing .
A recruitment assessment will help you identify these 5 traits in your candidates. This assessment will add up to 30% of the information you need from a candidate, your next job is to confirm and dig deeper in the interview round. Each of the above five traits are all important for a great salesman, you should focus the most on the conscientious score due to its effect on most of the top sales people in the world. From the above personality analysis, you will find your team and business needs to find sales people with a specific mix of the above traits.

After understanding which sales personality traits you need to look for in sales candidates, you may wonder which hiring techniques you need to avoid when recruiting salesmen. Download the Whitepaper below to find out:

hiring mistakes, sales hiring,

Topics: recruiting sales people, Effective Hiring, sales personalitites

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