Strategies for a World-Class SDR Program

Why You Should Create an Interview Scorecard Before Hiring SDRs

interview scorecardIf you’re new to the SDR game and hiring your first few reps, you can get away with hiring by the seat of your pants. As your team grows, the subjectivity that you could get away with early on will cost you big. You need two things to consistently hire great reps and build a successful team:

  • A clear definition of what “good” means to you.
  • A system that allows you to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

What is an Interview Scorecard?

An interview scorecard is a document that high-performance sales teams use to apply numerical ratings to traits that they are looking for in candidates. You and the other interviewers are only grading the traits that matter to you, which makes this comparison system effective.

Each candidate is scored against the criteria that you put in your scorecard. We use the 1-5 scale (5 being the best), which has worked well for years now.

At the end of each interview, the interviewer adds up their ratings to get a final score for each candidate. This will help you quickly stack-rank candidates and, in some cases, make a decision based on the score alone.

The Traits You Should Use

The first step in building an effective process is deciding how you define a “good” candidate. No two teams are the same, so it is important to decide which traits are most likely to lead to a high-performing rep.

For example, if your sales team is transactional (high volume of leads and low ticket price), you may want to focus on a candidate’s conversational skills. Alternatively, if you are prospecting into executives at Fortune 100 companies, business acumen should be part of your scorecard.

Check out this article for a deeper dive into some traits that might help you decide what goes into your scorecard: 10 Traits of Great Sales Development Hires.

Chris and I limit our scorecards to 5 traits, often choosing just 4.

ScoreCard Format

The size of your team and number of candidates will dictate which format is best. If your team is small and only hiring two reps, a spreadsheet should work just fine. The key is to keep the scorecard simple and make it easy to calculate and share the data.

As you grow, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will come in handy. Because we work at SmartRecruiters, where we eat our own dogfood, we are biased toward our own product. The free version of SmartRecruiters, SmartStart, offers the same features as the paid version.

If you want to be sure about the SDR candidates you hire, then an interview scorecard is a must have. Arbitrary notes are almost impossible to compare with other interviewers. A scorecard gives you real numbers you can use to rate candidates and find the rockstars who will generate pipe and help you scale quickly.


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Taft Love

Taft Love

Taft Love is an experienced sales development and sales operations professional who has worked with dozens of startups in and around San Francisco in recent years. He now leads teams of SDRs and Sales Operations analysts for SmartRecruiters in San Francisco.

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