An SDR interviewer’s cheatsheet

Jun 9, 2021
View full case study here

“It’s really important that an SDR wants
to master the role of the SDR and they’re not
just looking for a promotion to AE. It’s a nuanced
but important distinction between average and

There you were. Desperate for an experienced SDR. And lo and behold,  one applied to work with your company.  

Amazing. Let’s sign them up as fast as possible – we can’t lose them!  Slow down. 

Given the primary goal of most SDRs is to get promoted to a more senior role, it’s important to be more diligent than ever at the interview process. This will save you from the fallout of hiring the wrong person. An expensive and emotionally-draining experience.

At SaaSLeads, both our Co-founders have built successful SDR teams for some of the UK’s fastest-growing start-ups – Perkbox, Peakon, Tessian – and have both been privy to this fallout.

In response, we’ve identified three areas an experienced SDR should be an absolute expert in at interview level. If they can’t convincingly nail your questions in each area, you shouldn’t hire them. Simple as that.

1. Experience – 6 questions to ask:

  • How often did you hit target? 
  • Why weren’t you promoted to AE/Sales in your last role? 
  • What are you going to do to master the role of the SDR? 
  • What’s your meeting-to-opportunity conversion rate? 
  • How much of your pipeline converted into revenue? 
  • What was the number of touch points needed to convert a lead? 

2. Skills – they need to demonstrate these: 

  • Time management: To demonstrate how they structure their day. Outbound calling: Not calling inhibits SDR success.  
  • Writing personalised emails: Invaluable.  
  • Video messaging: Quickly becoming a prerequisite. It simply delivers.  Ideal customer understanding: To be able to explain a previous ideal  customer even better, yours. 
  • Cadence: To know how to build a sales sequence and why they’re  important. 
  • Personal brand: Social media and old-fashioned networks are an  ace-up-the-sleeve.  
  • Qualification: It’s a broad and varying spectrum, but it’s important to  know how your future salespeople qualify their leads. 
  • SDR to AE: How do they plan to progress? What’s their handover plan?  

3. Behaviours –  here’s what to look for: 

  • Resilience 
  • Grit 
  • Curiosity 
  • Coachability 
  • Hunger to learn  
  • Emotional awareness 
  • Humility/Honesty 
  • Responding to pressure 

A good way to test for all of these is to ask  situational questions…

“Your teammate asks for help on a  deal in which you have expertise. If  you help them it might save them  this job, but it will mean you missing  target for the quarter. What do you  do?” 

” Tell me your three favourite discovery questions and why they are  your favourite?” 

“You implement a new strategy to  target a new industry vertical. 2  months in still no results, although  your gut feel is that you can definitely  crack it – what do you do?” 

These types of questions won’t only get you  insights beyond the typically rehearsed answers;  they’ll also test for the behaviours you want to  drive in your business, ensuring a culture fit. 

It’s worthwhile having 8-10 of these questions  prepared. Not only are they good for SDR’s –  they’re great for hiring across the business. 

Overall, it’s really important that an SDR wants  to master the role of the SDR and they’re not  just looking for a promotion to AE. It’s a nuanced  but important distinction between average and  great. 

If you need any further assistance on what to look for in  a great SDR, reach out to our co-founders, CEO Will  Koning or COO Chris Ritson 

Good luck with your interviewing!  

The SaaSLeads Team 

Chris Ritson

Hey, I’m Chris, COO and Co-Founder of I joined this business because I deeply care about people and making a difference in their lives, that’s my purpose and simply put its where I get my kicks in life. I also deeply care about sales so the opportunity to build a business that combines both people and sales is a win:win for me. 
I truly believe all people in work need both training and support to make them successful. I also believe it takes longer than a 2 hour, 3 stage interview process to fall in love with a business and know you’ll be there for a long time. This is a challenge candidates and in turn companies face consistently and it hurts them both in different ways. 
Training and learning can change how people do their roles but support is what will get them through the ups and downs of a career so if you are ready to be better tomorrow than you are today, come onboard! 

You can find Chris on LinkedIn here

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