In this article, we’ll discuss five things we’ve learned about the sales recruitment industry.
The sales recruitment industry may be one of the toughest industries for a beginner to understand. All hiring industries have gone through massive changes in the last few years, with the rise of social networking sites, advanced human resource software, and other technologies altering the bedrock of ‘hiring’, but the sales recruitment industry must also contend with the inherent difficulties of hiring sales personnel. There’s no pedigree that can guarantee success, or even suggest more than a baseline understanding of sales concepts. Understanding the industry requires years of experience and many a hard-earned lesson. Fortunately, we can share a few of those lessons learned with you–in this article, we’ll discuss five things we’ve learned about the sales recruitment industry in the past five years, and in doing so hopefully give you a boost in your understanding.
It doesn’t matter how advanced your recruiting methods become, in the sales recruitment industry or any other references still matter. The nature of personal references has certainly changed–social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook play as much a role as face-to-face networking at Chamber of Commerce meetings and industry conventions–but the baseline importance of knowing someone who knows somebody remains unchanged. On average, an employee vouched for by faces you trust will be superior to who looks good on paper but has no firm references. Of course, not every hiring strategy in the sales recruitment industry allows for an emphasis on references–if you’re looking to recruit fresh graduates and turn them into perfect employees, references won’t be as useful.
In the sales recruitment industry, customers matter. It’s sometimes easy to forget the basic fact that sales personnel’s primary duty is ‘customer interaction’ when you get bogged down in credentials and theories of sales, but at the core you can view sales people as the first ‘product’ delivered to a customer. That means tailoring employees to the customers’ needs as much as anything else. Companies that forget that end up with a bunch of sales people who know their stuff, get along with their coworkers, and can’t sell a thing. Learn from the sales recruitment industry and remember your customers.
Whether you’re a small business owner or the head recruiter of a massive agency, here’s a lesson to take from the sales recruitment industry: Pay attention to your candidates! Leaving a potential hire hanging may be your prerogative as an employer in an employer’s market, but that only really works for low-end talent. If you want to keep the best talent’s attention, they need to know they have yours. Otherwise, they won’t think twice before taking a job with a competitor–you might not even get the chance to compete.
“I won’t hire someone who doesn’t know our CRM”, “I don’t hire new graduates”, and “I don’t hire people with gaps in their resume”. Dealing in absolutes is a terrible idea if you want to secure the best talent. The sales recruitment industry teaches this lesson very quickly: Every pro brings a con, every con brings a pro. New graduates need to learn more, but can be shaped to fit the company better–and bring superior talent per dollar. Someone who doesn’t know that one key piece of software might be able to pick it up in a week or less–ignoring a perfect candidate over something like that’s business suicide. Keep your mind open, consider the possibilities for a candidate, and only deal in absolutes when you must.
All those tools we mentioned in the first paragraph? There’s a reason the sales recruitment industry utilizes them so ubiquitously. Hiring CRM, application-screening software, social media sites, and every new tool exists for a reason. If you’re not using it, you’re not competing with the top recruiters. If you’re not competing with top recruiters, you won’t find top talent. It’s that simple.
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.