Learn how to attract and recruit top sales candidates successfully. Check out our step-by-step guide on the sales recruitment process.
March 12, 2023
A perfect sales hiring process will attract the most talented salespeople to your organization. This typically involves sourcing, interviewing, vetting, and onboarding candidates with the best skills and experience for a specific sales role.
Creating a sales recruitment process will improve consistency in your hiring workflows. However, there are steps you need to follow to make this process effective. Learn more about salesperson recruitment below and the different ways to place top talent in your organization.
Recruiters from a sales recruitment agency have different roles and responsibilities when attracting talented sales teams to your organization. The best ones work closely with hiring managers and communicate with them throughout the hiring process. Below are some of the skills a professional sales recruiter will bring to the table.
Each enterprise has different requirements when filling sales roles. Recruiters must understand these needs when identifying talent and moving candidates through sales recruitment workflows. The most successful recruiters do more than just read your job description and look for suitable salespeople. They should know what a hiring manager is looking for by asking questions, researching existing employees, and understanding your company's culture and values.
The best recruiters go above and beyond to fulfill your hiring needs. That might include searching social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn for hiring salespeople with the relevant skills and experience for your company’s opening. Some recruiters might even 'poach' talent from one of your competitors when a salesperson is a good fit for a role. Whatever talent acquisition techniques they use, expect your recruiter to go the extra mile when achieving your hiring objectives.
Using the right technology, a skilled recruiter will attract talent to fill available roles in your enterprise. For example, an applicant tracking system (ATS) automates recruitment tasks by organizing information about candidates and making it searchable, freeing up time and resources. Digital analytics tools, on the other hand, collect data from different systems and generate insights that optimize sales staff recruitment. While technology like this requires an outlay for a recruiter, it can provide a return on their investment by streamlining recruitment processes for your organization.
One of the most valuable skills for a sales recruiter is to be an effective salesperson as well. While a salesperson sells products and services, a recruiter 'sells' a relevant candidate to your company. A recruiter must convince a hiring manager that someone is the right person for the job, which demands several of the following sub-skills also required for sales.
Communicating timely information to clients and candidates is a critical sales skill for recruiters. They will exchange information from your company about a sales role, such as job requirements, company values, and salary details. A recruiter's strong written and verbal communication skills will go a long way when placing talent in your organization.
Listening is just as critical as communicating information. Recruiters who are active listeners understand what you are looking for and move the recruitment process in the right direction. While being an assertive communicator can speed up the hiring workflow, listening to the needs of everyone involved in the recruitment life cycle will improve your employment outcomes.
Problem-solving is another sales skill that proves valuable for recruiters since it provides solutions to pain points in your recruitment process. Say a qualified candidate is perfect for a sales role in your organization but has a long-term contract with another company. A recruiter can use their problem-solving skills to legally break the employment contract and place the candidate in your organization.
You will undertake several steps when recruiting sales reps and other professionals for your organization, and a recruiter can help you achieve these goals. The specific steps will depend on your needs, the role, and the candidates you are trying to attract.
Your in-house HR team is usually responsible for coming up with the sequence of steps for recruiting sales staff. So an external recruiter's job is to work closely with this team and use innovative methods to streamline the sales hiring process. They will also communicate extensively with the hiring manager about the most qualified and experienced candidates for a role.
Learn more about the most vital steps for selecting suitable sales candidates below.
Different businesses will have different needs when searching for sales candidates. For example, an organization might want to recruit sales reps for the holiday season, when sales are higher than at any other time of the year. You must understand these requirements when sourcing candidates for your clients. That means communicating to job seekers that you are looking to fill temporary positions and adjusting your workflows to meet this need.
Setting up a face-to-face meeting between your recruiter and a hiring manager is the best way to meet your recruitment needs. This meeting typically takes place before sourcing or interviewing candidates. It helps a recruiter understand the manager's expectations for the rest of the sales recruitment process.
Intake meetings provide an opportunity for hiring managers to convey information about their preferred recruitment strategies. These meetings also let recruiters ask a hiring manager about their goals and discuss the best ways to source candidates.
Designing a persona with a recruiter is a great way to narrow down what is important for a specific role. It's a fictional profile of the ideal candidate for your job position. Create a persona based on the sales recruitment needs of your organization and the skills, employment history, and educational experience the hiring manager expects from a new hire.
For example, your ideal salesperson might be a senior sales representative with more than ten years of experience working for a medium-sized company. This person possesses a bachelor's degree and knows social selling, cross-selling, and other modern sales techniques. Their soft skills include time management, problem-solving, and attention to detail.
The professional eventually chosen for your team might not replicate your sales persona exactly. However, creating a persona will guide your recruitment process and help you find qualified candidates for eventual revenue growth. Refer to your persona during every workflow stage, including interviews and screening.
Job descriptions introduce your organization to prospective sales candidates, making them a crucial component of your recruitment process. It is important to provide a clear job description with the following elements:
Here is a simple example of a job description from a company looking for a junior sales representative:
Benefits and Compensation
You should post your description in places that attract the most talented job seekers. These places might include:
Posting your description on several channels will increase the visibility of the job you need to fill and encourage talented professionals to work for you.
After enough potential candidates have responded to your job description, it's time for the next stage of the sales recruitment process. Your recruiter and in-house HR team will painstakingly review each resume received and select the best candidates based on their experience, accomplishments, and other factors. Using an applicant tracking system can speed up this task and reduce applicant selection errors.
Whittle down this list of potential candidates further by screening each applicant extensively. There are numerous ways you can do this, listed below.
Asking candidates to complete a short online skills test can result in better hires. Your test might include some basic questions that assess a candidate's ability to carry out the responsibilities listed in your job description. Use the results of these tests to determine whether candidates will make it to the next stage of your recruitment process.
Asking candidates a few questions over the phone to determine their competencies will also help you ascertain the most suitable candidates who applied to your job description. These questions might include:
You can ask candidates similar questions if they make it to the formal interview stage. The purpose of phone screening is to cut down your list of job applicants and ensure everyone who completes the screening process is a good fit for your open position.
You might ask candidates who applied to your job to complete a short written assignment that tests their sales skills. The assignment might involve solving a fictional situation that can happen in a sales environment, such as managing a customer's expectations.
You might want to carry out background checks at this stage or later in the recruitment process — for example, after formal interviews. Whatever you choose, background checks can provide more information about a candidate's past and verify claims made in their resumes and cover letters.
Background checking can be a laborious process that involves several stages:
Background checks will confirm whether a candidate could pose a significant risk to your business, making it one of the most critical steps of the recruitment process. For example, you can uncover whether an applicant was investigated for workplace harassment in a previous job or has a criminal conviction for theft. Reviewing information from background checks will help you decide on the best candidates for your open position.
Next comes the formal interview stage. This step of the sales recruitment workflow involves asking candidates that have come this far in the hiring process questions about their experience, skills, ambitions, motivations, and other information. You might want to conduct interviews over the phone or via video conference. However, face-to-face interviews will help you better identify nonverbal behavioral cues, such as dissatisfaction with your questions, which might indicate that a candidate isn't the right fit.
There are various interview techniques you can use to find the best candidate for a job:
Now that you have conducted interviews, reconvene with your recruiter and go through all the information gathered during the recruitment process. Using their experience and skills, your recruiter will guide the hiring manager toward the best candidate or candidates for the job. If the hiring manager still can't decide, repeat some of the steps listed above, such as reposting the job opening to widen your talent pool.
As a hiring manager, you may want to rank your top candidates and reach out to the second person on the list if the number one choice rejects a job offer. That can improve time-to-fill and prevent you from having to repeat steps in your recruitment process.
The recruitment process isn't over yet! The next steps are hiring and onboarding the right person for your client's open position. Both of these stages involve various tasks.
Hiring sales team members is more than telling chosen candidates they have the job over the phone. You need to explain why your hiring manager picked these professionals over everyone else and the next steps of the sales recruitment process.
Follow up after that phone call by sending a written offer of employment by mail or email. You might want to give your selected candidate a few days to accept the job before offering it to the next person on your list.
Onboarding a new hire involves subsequent work. If you continue to work with your recruiter during the onboarding process, you will both be involved in the following tasks:
There are different ways you can attract top candidates during your sales recruitment process, as follows.
Finding the best candidate that meets your needs isn't an overnight process. The job boards will source multiple candidates from several channels before even reaching the selection and screening stages. Then you will fine-tune recruitment strategies as you move through the hiring process.
Working with a sales recruiter can also be challenging. However, a rewarding relationship can develop that leaves a lasting impression on your business. Keeping calm at every stage of the recruitment process results in better outcomes for everyone involved and will help you find the perfect person for your job.
The recruiter-hiring manager relationship can be strenuous at times, especially if each party has a different idea of the perfect candidate for a job. While it's important to maintain a healthy relationship with a recruiter, don't be afraid to communicate your expertise when you think they are making a wrong decision about a job applicant. If a candidate isn't a good fit for a role, that will reflect negatively on your company. So stick to your values and remember that you have the final say in any recruitment decisions. Remaining confident in your abilities will help you find top sales talent.
One of the best ways to attract top talent to your client's organization is by making the sales recruiting experience as seamless as possible for applicants. That means creating accurate job descriptions, communicating with candidates, and providing them with the right resources. If your recruitment workflow runs smoothly, the most talented applicants are less likely to drop out of the process.
Learning how to hire salespeople? The sales recruitment process differs depending on the recruiter you work with, the job advertised, and the resources available to you. However, you can improve hiring outcomes by following the relevant tips listed above. Creating a successful process will improve consistency in your workflows and result in better hiring outcomes for your organization when attracting top talent.
Are you still struggling to find talented salespeople? The Sales Connection can help. Filter out 98.7% of sales talent, and find the most qualified and experienced team members that will grow your organization. Schedule your sales recruitment strategy session now!
Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.