7 years ago
February 21, 2017

Top 3 Things to Consider When Recruiting Sales Staff

As the economy improves, it is time to begin recruiting sales staff after what for many companies was a sluggish hiring period.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

recruiting sales staffRecruiting sales staff is one of the most important functions facing organizations today. As firms begin to enjoy improvements in the economy, it is time to begin recruiting sales staff after what for many companies was a sluggish hiring period. There are more top candidates on the market for positions today than there were just a few years ago, meaning there are great hiring opportunities – as long as you keep in mind the top three things to consider when recruiting sales staff.

Know the Cost of a Bad Hire

The bad hire is the fear of managers responsible for recruiting sales staff in all industries. Bad hires can destroy team morale, reflect poorly on those responsible for the hiring decision, and have a heavy impact on the bottom line. How much does a bad hire cost? Taking into account base costs like search and advertising fees, time and administration expenses for interviewing and vetting, assessment fees, training, and compensation paid to the hire, you could be looking at a wasted expense many times the salary of your average employee.

Knowing the cost of a bad hire puts the cost of a continuing effort for recruiting sales staff in perspective. Longer processes for recruiting sales staff do cost more than hiring the earliest promising candidate, but in the long run, they cost much less than making a bad hire.

Look for Cultural Fit

Once you’ve found a top sales candidate who has a demonstrated history of sales success in a variety of situations, it’s tempting to reach out with an offer quickly. However, even the most successful sales people need to be comfortable in their environment to really drive sales, and need the support of the sales team and sales managers to do so. When recruiting sales staff, consider whether the candidate: 

  • Has a personality that is likely to work well with the personalities on the existing sales team;
  • Exhibits characteristics that will allow him or her to fully support your company’s overall goals and vision;
  • Will fit in with your company’s existing culture and business norms, including the reporting structure.

This isn’t to say that if you think there might be minor elbowing between the candidate and one or two current sales team members, the candidate should be taken out of consideration. Rather, you should do your best to make sure that the candidate is truly a fit not just for sales, but for your company as a whole.

Search for Growth Potential

Even a star candidate has the potential to do better: To achieve more sales from existing accounts, to sign up new clients, and to grow his or her own career. If your goal in recruiting sales staff is to build a high caliber sales team, you need individuals who are equipped to scale the career ladder. These individuals will fill leadership roles on your sales team and eventually work their way to positions in sales management and beyond. The sales people who will fulfill these roles typically have major characteristics in common:

  • A desire to see others succeed
  • The ability to train, coach, motivate, and lead others
  • A focus on positive reinforcement and reward
  • Strong personal accountability and a willingness to take responsibility for actions


As it is less costly and disruptive to promote leaders from within, searching for growth potential in the first steps of recruiting sales staff will allow you to follow a plan for recruiting sales staff at all levels, ultimately reducing costs and encouraging a cohesive sales team.

Don’t be hesitant to reach for candidates above the caliber of current applicants and continue your search, even if you believe current applicants can do the job. After all, sales success relies on more than sales people who can just do the job – it relies on sales people who are constantly improving in order to drive revenue and personal success.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.