Your SDR Doesn’t Have to Be a Unicorn (But They Do Have to be these 5 Things)

Your SDR Doesn’t Have to Be a Unicorn (But They Do Have to be these 5 Things)

When your sales team needs new SDRs, it can seem like a never-ending quest for “the perfect fit.” Managers want the world: a self-starter with many years of experience in your industry with a vast network to call on day one. Yet you really only have the budget for a college graduate.

Have no fear- you don’t need to find a unicorn in your applicants. A great SDR doesn’t need tons of experience; they need to be committed to your sales process and have the drive to always improve their pitch.

We’ve helped many companies search for this oh-so-important role, and we can honestly say it’s not easy. Not because it’s a complex skillset or rare profile, but because it will come down to aptitude, which isn’t always apparent on a resume. In many cases,finding the right SDR is more about a candidate's interpersonal skills than their experience. 

Here is our list of the top 5 qualities that make a rockstar SDR:


Sales is a tough field, and SDRs get the brunt of the pain from angry leads and aggressive gatekeepers. InsideSales reported that an SDR accomplishes an average of 93.8 tasks per day, and almost 80% of those tasks were good, old-fashioned calls and emails. You want to find someone who considers these menial tasks a challenge and is  motivated to keep making the next call and sending the next email. Finding people with an ambitious spirit will help you foster healthy competition among your staff.

Some easy ways to look for a competitive nature in an applicants background:

  1. Did they play sports? Former athletes can easily transfer their competitive nature to work

  2. Have they worked in high-pressure roles? Even fry cooks at busy restaurants show that they are cool under pressure and able to work through any scary situation to attain a goal.


Even the most competitive salespeople need to put the needs of the team first. Your SDRs need to be willing to give and take criticism to help the whole team succeed. You want to hire people who have proven that they are team players, and you don’t need work experience to do it.

Ask questions in the interview about:

  1. Leadership positions in clubs and sports in college

  2. Times that they helped a team succeed

  3. Their idea of a good sales process and how they would implement yours.


SDR is an entry-level position, and it’s unrealistic to assume that your best applicants will have 5+ years of experience. To get a rockstar SDR, you need someone who is ready and willing to learn from your veteran reps and sales managers.

It can be challenging to find someone who can accept and apply criticism well, but it’s a relatively easy thing to test for in an interview: Offer a piece of criticism during your first round of interview and see if they act on it as they move through the process.


This might seem to run counter from your experience with salespeople- they can talk your ear off- but the best SDRs don’t like wasting time. They don’t mince words in presentations; they don't craft long pitches and emails. They reach target customers the most because they understand the most efficient ways to connect.

Test this skill by:

  1. Taking note of their linguistic choices in email correspondence. Are they wordy and proverbial, or concise?

  2. Ask applicants to come to the interview prepared with a phone pitch for your product/service. Give feedback as necessary.

Not Arrogant

A good SDR is eager to roll up their sleeves and make the sales magic happen. Many SDRs drag their feet when it comes to menial (but necessary) activities like prospecting and cold calling, but a rockstar SDR knows that these tasks are what makes the sales team succeed. Your SDR candidates shouldn’t feel like any sales activities are above or below their pay grade, and they should be eager to get involved wherever they are needed to help the team succeed.

Test for arrogance by:

  1. Asking about a time when they were a member of a team that succeeded and how their role contributed to the success.

  2. Talk openly about your company’s need/process for prospecting and cold calling. Take note of any positive or negative reactions.

So, there you have it. The SDR/BDR role is of growing importance in the technology space. Designing your search criteria and your interview process with these qualities in mind is going to make you successful. Otherwise, you could risk spinning your wheels.

If you want to go beyond posting the job and praying for good candidates, consider using a recruiting solution like 1H. We can reach these types of people proactively, and then screen for the right qualities. It will save you time, and save you a headache in hiring.

Best of luck!

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