Reference Checks: Still Valuable and Viable in Hiring Sales Professionals

Checklist on whiteboard with businessman hand drawing win-win and a check mark in both checkbox

In recent years, there’s been a great deal of speculation as to whether reference checks are still valid and/or viable tools to use when recruiting top sales performers and managers. At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that reference checks are far from obsolete, in terms of usefulness. In fact, they may be more important than ever.

Here’s a look at just a few of the reasons that reference checks-such as those conducted by Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting-are still incredibly valuable when it comes to hiring the best of the best in sales reps or sales managers:

*Establishes Patterns

Speaking with the previous supervisor of a sales candidate will help you to identify any potentially useful or challenging patterns. For example, you may confirm that a potential hire is indeed a top producer, but is habitually late for sales meetings. (For some companies, this may be a deal breaker). You may also learn of beneficial patterns which are not easily conveyed via an interview or resume, including an ability to motivate, inspire and bring out the best in their fellow sales professionals. Speaking with someone who worked in close and direct proximity (read: not necessarily an HR department) with a candidate should help you to develop a broader view of a candidate’s patterns.

*Supports Hard Data

A reference check is crucial in order to confirm hard data or statistics provided by a potential sales professional. In fact, it is often the only way a company, or their sales recruiting partner can confirm that the numbers provided in a CV or resume are accurate. It can be risky to take a resume at face value, without doing a little digging to ensure that all numbers add up.

*Opens the Door for Additional Insight

When conducted most effectively, reference checks serve to illuminate a plethora of potential strengths that a new hire can bring to your business. Rather than asking simple “yes” or “no” questions, top sales rep recruiters know to ask open-ended questions that enable the supervisor to offer additional helpful information about a potential candidate.

When it comes to recruiting top sales professionals and sales managers for your business, Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting has the experience and expertise you need to create a customized recruiting campaign that will yield the results you crave. Based just outside of the Twin Cities, our expertise spans inside and outside sales and sales management without limitation to specific industries. We are proud to work on a nationwide basis with companies ranging in size and scope.

Contact us today to learn why so many companies rave about the results Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting provides.


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