3 years ago
January 7, 2015

It’s Hard to Fill Sales Jobs‏

To fill sales jobs it takes hiring a sales rep with a certain mix of skills and drive, a combination that not all prospective sales reps possess.

Rhys Metler

it's hard to fill sales jobsSales jobs are among the hardest to fill for any organization. It takes a certain mix of skills and drive to be successful in sales, a combination that not all prospective sales reps possess. This makes it more difficult for hiring managers to fill sales jobs. There are, however, other factors that make recruiting for sales difficult, and being aware of these can actually make it easier to fill sales jobs.

Lack of Soft Skills Reduces the Candidate Base to Fill Sales Jobs

In many industries soft skills, like communication, empathy, and goal-setting, take a backseat to hard skills like technical competence. In sales, the opposite is true; well developed soft skills are the best indicator of sales success, and are the foundation for a sales rep to learn any hard skills necessary to the job. Still, organizations are finding it difficult to fill sales jobs with candidates already possessing soft skills, primarily because hiring managers might not always know how to assess these skills.

Implementing rigorous sales skill assessments as part of the sales recruiting process makes it more likely that the effort to fill sales jobs with candidates possessing the requisite soft and hard skills will be successful. Such assessments also make it possible to more directly compare candidates. By defining the scope of what goes into successful selling at your organization within the scope of soft skills vs. hard skills, you will be more likely to reduce turnover and find qualified candidates to reduce your need for last minute recruitment with hard to fill sales jobs. 

High Turnover Rates Impact the Ability to Fill Sales Jobs

Competitive salary offers and opportunities for advancement offered elsewhere are two of the most common reasons for voluntary turnover in a sales department. Even the best positioned organization will have relatively high turnover in its sales department compared to other departments due to the nature of sales.

While compensation is part of the answer to combating high turnover and reducing the need to fill sales jobs, it is not the only solution. To reduce turnover rates for your organization, consider other actions you can take to staunch the outflow of carefully recruited candidates. More one on one coaching, non-monetary recognition, and additional training opportunities commonly lead to a more satisfied and stable sales force. Note, too, that these efforts also make an organization looking to fill sales jobs more attractive to potential candidates.

Applicant Perception Can Make It Difficult to Fill Sales Jobs

Mistaken though it may be many recent business school graduates highly qualified for sales view a sales career as being stigmatized due to stereotypes in popular media. That many colleges and universities do not teach courses in selling only reinforces the notion that a sales career, despite its potentially lucrative returns, is something of a “Plan B” for graduates. So what can your organization do to combat this perception when trying to fill sales jobs?

  • Tailor job descriptions to match the interests and likely viewpoints of recent graduates
  • Recruit in-person at campus events with successful sales reps who can rebut popular stereotypes
  • Showcase the benefits of a selling career over alternatives, such as the higher salary potential and your organization’s overall benefits package

Today’s job market seems custom built to make it more difficult for organizations to fill sales jobs. Yet today more than ever, organizations have the resources at their disposal to separate well qualified sales candidates from those who are better positioned for other careers. An experienced recruiting agency is just one of those resources, but it is the one resource that can help your organization with all aspects of the competition to fill sales jobs. Consider using a recruiting firm for your sales staffing needs, and make filling sales jobs an easier process for your organization and for your candidates.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.