Non-compete Agreements and Sales Hiring: An Overview

Dont break the rules.When it comes to hiring a new top performing, sales representative or a new sales manager for your business, one of the obstacles that can arise involves the desired candidate’s non-compete status.   However, if you’ve targeted a highly talented sales professional, or a top performing sales manager who has signed a non-compete agreement with their current employer, you shouldn’t necessarily let that deter you. In many cases, this may not be a deal-breaker, although your attorney should always review the details of the agreement in place prior to hiring the candidate.

Non-compete agreements will typically range from 2-10 pages, and they can contain all sorts of incredibly detailed information. When it comes to sales recruiting though, there are 3 major items that are almost unanimously addressed:

  1. The sales representative or sales manager cannot “steal” customers or employees after leaving their position with their existing company. That means that a manager cannot bring a top sales producer from their current company to your company. It also means that sales representatives cannot bring their existing book of clients to their new company.
  1. The sales professional (rep or manager) is prohibited from stealing proprietary information of any kind.
  1. The sales rep or manager cannot take a position with a competing company in the same geographic area. In some cases the non-compete clause may actually extend nationwide. In other cases, specific companies or competitors may even be named in the non-compete agreement.

While the first two clauses in a non-compete agreement are reasonable, and likely enforceable by law, the third clause is a little more nebulous, so to speak. To that end, it is advisable that you seek the legal counsel of your attorney when deciding whether or not to hire a top sales rep or sales manager who has signed a non-compete clause which includes this restriction.

In any case, it is worth noting that if you’re working with a top sales recruiting company, who has identified a particular candidate for your company who has signed a non-compete, you can offer to protect the candidate (should a legal issue arise) within your offer letter. Incidentally, you can also include a written notification that you will not protect the candidate if they are found to be in violation of their non-compete agreement. We can’t say it enough: at Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting we strongly suggest that when working with a sales representative or a sales manager who has a non-compete agreement in place, legal advice should be sought from your attorney.

Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting is a highly regarded and reputable targeted sales recruiting company known for identifying and bringing top sales professionals to small, medium and large companies in a variety of industries, and from coast to coast. If your business is in need of a top sales representative, or a sales manager with a proven track record of success, contact us today to get started.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting.  Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or email