First sales hire: How to craft an ideal candidate profile

Making a first sales hire is a big step for any startup—and often one of the most important decisions you’ll be tasked with. This person is going to drive your sales for the next year or more and will be the face of your company to many of your early customers. So it’s important to think carefully about what kind of person you need to hire. This all starts with crafting the right candidate profile and job description, so you attract the right kinds of people to the job and so you’re able to recognize the right candidate when you meet him or her.

We recommend crafting a candidate profile by focusing on three elements: mission, outcomes, and competencies.


Before you start looking for a candidate, take some time to outline the mission for the position. In one to three sentences, state why this role exists and what high-level expectations you have of the person who fills it.

Here’s an example of a great mission for a sales hire:

The Sales Lead will help double revenue in 12 months by signing new customers for ACME Corp. He or she will set up a repeatable sales process, including an outbound lead campaign to generate conversations with leads that fit our ideal customer profile. Additionally, the Sales Lead will help scale our team by hiring and training our first SDR and any additional Account Executive hires.


Next, define outcomes that describe what success in this role looks like. You should list three to eight specific, actionable, and measurable objectives you want this person to accomplish in the first 12 months.

Some examples of potential outcomes to list include:

  • Double existing revenue
  • Help raise our annual contract value from $20,000 to $30,000
  • Implement new software for sending outbound email campaigns
  • Help design a sales presentation to share with customers
  • Upsell existing users on the free plan to convert them to paying customers


Core competencies describe the inherent qualities or experience you’re looking for in a great candidate. Take a minute to identify the most important behaviors, characteristics, and competencies this person should have to be successful.

A few examples we recommend thinking about include:

  • Previous comparable experience and success
  • Culture fit
  • Entrepreneurial instinct
  • Coachability
  • Ability to follow through on commitments
  • Grit and work ethic

After you’ve outlined the mission for the position, the outcomes you hope to achieve, and the competencies you seek, put them together to make a profile of your perfect candidate. Use all of these elements to craft a job description! That’s where the real work starts: Finding the right candidate who matches up with your expectations.

Need help turning your profile into a job description and sourcing candidates? Reach out to our team at