business couple smiling and having an interview in an office.jpegWe all want to have a sales team full of top performers. When interviewing potential candidates the first thing we often tend to look at is the candidate’s talent. There is the notion that candidates with the most talent will become top performers. That notion couldn’t be more wrong. Talent isn’t the sole predictor of job performance. No matter how talented the individual is, they will need to be trained on how things work at your company. Trainability is an important trait that should not be overlooked in the hiring process. At the end of the day, sales skills can be taught, but the person learning must be trainable. You will be much better off finding a trainable person than a talented one. How can you tell if a candidate is trainable? There are four things to look for when evaluating a potential hire.

1. Positive Attitude

One of the first things you should examine is their attitude. If the candidate has a positive attitude, it will be a lot easier to train them. Candidates who are enthusiastic and display a positive attitude look forward to being trained. They will be eager to learn what it takes to be successful in your company. Attempting to train a candidate with a negative attitude is a complete waste of time. A negative candidate will see training as unnecessary and will completely dread it.

2. Problem Solver

During the hiring process, assess the candidate’s problem-solving ability. Every sales rep will face challenges and issues that they will need to overcome. A problem solver is not going to quit when they meet a challenge. They are going to do whatever it takes to solve problems even if that means having to learn something new.


3. Passion

It’s quite easy to determine if a candidate is passionate. They will come to the interview with their homework done on your company. Passionate candidates will be beyond excited about the opportunity. Passionate employees are not only trainable, but they follow through on their commitments, are always prompt, and complete their assignments on time. A passionate trainable employee is a very valuable asset to the success of your company.

4. Flexible

Flexibility is a great trait for every sales rep to have. A flexible employee is able to adjust on the fly when things don’t go according to plan. Being flexible means someone is willing to try something new. That willing attitude to adapt and adjust is perfect for training.


A talented employee could be great to have, but a trainable one will be better. Over time you can teach a trainable employee the skills to become a top performer.


Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.