A Step-by-Step Guide to Interviewing and Hiring Top SDRs

Picture of Aimée Rosenstein

Aimée Rosenstein

Senior Brand Manager at Whistle, with over 8 years of experience in marketing and digital advertising.


Table of Contents

When it comes to hiring top notch talent, our recruitment team possesses an extraordinary touch – a touch we fondly call “magic.” Committed to the pursuit of excellence, our team excels in uncovering the diamonds in the rough. Their keen eye for talent extends beyond conventional assessments, identifying individuals who exude potential and promise. This magic sets us apart, enabling us to assemble a team of Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) eager to win . With a blend of expertise, intuition, and dedication, our recruitment team ensures each candidate considered has that Whistle spark. 


At Whistle, we understand that exceptional SDRs are the backbone of successful sales campaigns. In this guide, we spill the secret sauce that makes Whistle SDRs stand out from the crowd and how our vetting process ensures we bring only the best into our fold.


The Vetting Process Overview:


First Interview: Criteria Verification and Skills Assessment

Criteria Verification: Initiating the process by ensuring candidates meet fundamental requirements like time availability, previous training, and the essential skill set.

Quality and Skills Assessment: Evaluating candidates’ competence, experience, and sales aptitude to ensure they possess the necessary qualities for success.

Competency Assessment: Exposing candidates to real-life scenarios, revealing their ability to navigate sales challenges and effectively communicate with potential clients.


Our incredibly talented SDRs are confident, resilient, have active listening skills, effective communication skills mixed with a touch of humor and a sprinkle of sales magic.” 

Cashandra Chetty, Recruitment Manager 


First Interview Questions

We believe in not just evaluating skills but understanding the essence of our candidates. Here are our top 5  questions posed during this pivotal stage:

  • What typical problems do you encounter in your position? How do you solve them?

This question looks at problem-solving abilities, giving us insights into a candidate’s approach to challenges and their problem-solving capabilities .

  • Give me an example of when you had to work under pressure. What made the situation pressurized? How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome? 

Stress is inevitable, especially in sales. This question helps us understand how candidates thrive under pressure while also showing their resilience and ability to navigate challenging scenarios.

  • We all make changes when the way we have been doing things is no longer effective. Tell me about a time when you have had to try a new approach to a task/project/assignment. What did you do? What were the results?  

Adaptability is key. This question explores a candidate’s openness to change, innovation, and their ability to drive positive results through a flexible and dynamic approach.

  • What do you think are the 2 main traits that a salesperson should have?

Understanding the fundamental traits deemed essential for a salesperson provides insights into a candidate’s perception of successful sales characteristics.

  • How do you remain self-motivated in your work environment?

Sales requires self-motivation. This question unravels a candidate’s ability to stay driven and focused, shedding light on their commitment to personal and professional growth.


Through these questions, we not only assess skills but understand the stories and attributes that make each candidate unique. Thus ensuring every Whistle SDR embodies the qualities needed to make a success in our fast-paced environment.


Second Interview: Simulation Call and Email Grading

Communication Skills: Assessing accents, minimizing filler words, and conveying messages confidently and professionally.

Introduction: Evaluating candidates’ ability to make a positive impression and engage prospects effectively.

Conversation Skills: Scrutinizing active listening, relevant questioning, and adaptation to different customer preferences.

Research Abilities: Assessing candidates’ research skills, including their use of LinkedIn and social media.

Overcoming Objections:  Evaluating their ability to address objections confidently and provide persuasive responses.

Outro: Measuring the candidate’s ability to smoothly transition into booking a meeting and verifying relevant information.

Tech and CRM Proficiency: Assessing proficiency in technology and CRM systems for efficient sales operations.


Pass Rate and Academy Rate

We only accept excellence. That’s why we set a benchmark with an 85% pass rate for the simulation call and email grading. For those candidates who show true promise or that “Whistle Magic” but fall slightly below this threshold, we provide an opportunity for further upskilling and refinement at our Whistle Academy. Here, our comprehensive training program ensures that candidates not only meet but exceed our elevated standards, culminating in a 90% pass rate to emerge as distinguished Whistle-Certified SDRs. This approach guarantees that every member of our team possesses the skills and acumen needed to navigate the complexities of the sales landscape, ensuring success for both them and the clients they serve.  


Reference Checks

Through our commitment to thorough vetting, we conduct a meticulous reference check for candidates who successfully pass the simulation grading. These comprehensive checks go beyond validating just the candidates’ technical capabilities but also looks at their performance dynamics. By speaking with previous employers or colleagues, we get the full picture  of the candidate’s professional journey. This ensures that our selection process goes beyond qualifications to encompass a genuine measure of their expertise, work ethic, and ability to contribute effectively. This approach solidifies our commitment to building a team whose excellence is not only validated by us but backed by a strong professional track record.


Security Verification

At Whistle, security is a top priority. , and we go to great lengths to safeguard our operations. With a dedicated team of highly professional independent security consultants working tirelessly around the clock, our commitment extends beyond the onboarding of new hires. We prioritize the  protection of our entire team, ensuring that both our internal information and client data remain securely locked up. Our rigorous security verification process includes stringent standards on laptop specifications, storage capabilities, and the assurance that our SDRs have access to backup power, top-tier headsets, and reliable, high-speed internet. This approach not only strengthens  our defenses but also emphasizes our pledge to uphold the highest standards of data protection in all aspects of our operations.


One of the most important aspects of recruiting is knowing the magic is in the people, not the paper. Your CV will only get you so far. Anyone can be an SDR; but not everyone can become a Whistler. That’s the recipe for success that we have seen here, and the proof is in the pudding.” – Bianca McGuire, HR Manager 



The success of our clients and the Whistle community hinges on onboarding new SDRs in the right way. A well-structured onboarding process not only speeds up  the integration of new team members but also sets the stage for their long-term success. By providing thorough training and support, we empower our SDRs to hit the ground running, fostering a culture of achievement and collaboration that resonates throughout our community.


Whistle’s Onboarding Process

The onboarding process here at Whistle is more than a formality but is an undertaking that shapes the trajectory of our SDRs. Our onboarding program serves as the foundation for their success, and incorporates key elements such as comprehensive training, access to resources and tools, and continuous learning opportunities. Fostering a positive company culture fortifies this foundation. By prioritizing these essential onboarding elements, we equip our SDRs with the necessary tools for success and foster a motivated and engaged team ready to make meaningful contributions to their campaigns and the company as a whole.



At Whistle, we take pride in the efficient onboarding and training process of our SDRs. Our streamlined approach swiftly integrates new team members without compromising the quality of training. On average, our onboarding process typically takes 10 days, ensuring a smooth transition for SDRs.

The benefits of our quick onboarding process extend to our team but also to our clients. By minimizing the onboarding timeline, we enable SDRs to swiftly grasp essential skills and product knowledge, allowing them to start contributing to client campaigns sooner. This accelerated onboarding translates into quicker results for our clients, as our SDRs are adept at navigating the intricacies of sales and prospecting in a shorter time frame. Ultimately, our commitment to a rapid but thorough onboarding process ensures that our clients experience the benefits of having highly skilled and productive SDRs efficiently integrated into their teams.


Company Culture = SDR Success

The Whistle company culture, characterized by encouragement, praise, and steady support, plays a pivotal role in the success of our SDRs. We believe in fostering an environment where individuals are not just team members but valued contributors to our collective success. The positive and motivating atmosphere at Whistle empowers our SDRs to excel, innovate, and consistently exceed expectations. It’s more than just results. We aim to create a culture of success that propels both our team and clients toward greater heights. 


You don’t build the business, you build the people and the people will build the business” 

Lynne Cummings, HR Director 


Our recruitment team’s magic, combined with a meticulous vetting process and a supportive company culture, ensures that every SDR in our ranks is a catalyst for unparalleled success. The impact of onboarding new SDRs the right way extends beyond our clients to enrich the entire Whistle community. 

Join us on this journey where potential transforms into prowess, and witness firsthand the impact of Whistle SDRs. Together, let’s redefine success and level up your sales campaigns. Welcome to the era of Whistle excellence.