One of the most rewarding parts of working in recruitment is knowing just how much of a difference a great new hire can make. You hope to find the perfect candidate who will succeed for themselves and your company.
Of course, some roles can make a bigger impact than others. For example, hiring a great salesperson can be a major win, helping you bring in new customers and scale your business.
So how do you find the best sales talent? Let’s take a look at some of the most important sales hiring tips.
Six sales hiring tips to help you hire the best talent
1. Set out your ideal candidate
You can’t hope to find your ideal candidate to fill an important role if you’re not sure what you are looking for. Take the time to think carefully about exactly what skills, experience, and expertise you are looking for.
Are you looking for a hard-sell salesperson? Or maybe you want someone more empathetic that your prospects will feel comfortable with? Think about the role your new hires need to fill in your company and build your profile from there.
Just be careful not to get too detailed. If you’re too rigid or focus on the wrong candidate qualities, you risk undermining your DEI efforts.
Instead, think about what you want a candidate to achieve rather than who they are. Once you know what you’re looking for, put all the relevant details in your job listing and let everyone on your recruitment team know what the ideal candidate looks like.
2. Write a great job description
Your job description should be a seamless extension of your employer branding. The tone should fit well with the rest of your communication strategy without sacrificing clarity. Quirky job titles, for example, should not detract from clarity about the role being offered.
A good job advert also needs to be inclusive. There are a wide variety of subtle signs that signal to potential applicants that they are (or are not) the kind of candidate you are looking for.
For example, consider how you’re wording your sales job descriptions so you’re not using language that may alienate female candidates. There are far fewer women in sales (especially in leadership roles) than men. Women can be put off by gendered language in sales job listings since they might not think that descriptions like “aggressive closer” apply to them.
You can even try running your ads through a tool like the Gender Decoder to see how your descriptions are shaping up. The same goes for language that might be off-putting to minorities or neurodivergent. Showing diverse candidates that there’s a place for them in your company will pay off in the end, so do your best to include them from the start.
You should also include everything a new hire needs to know about the role and your company. Salary transparency, for example, helps candidates decide whether a role is appropriate for them, but it also tells them about your corporate culture.
And for salespeople that work on a commission basis, it’s important to include details of your commission structure. You don’t have to go into fine detail in the job description, just make sure you set aside time in later recruitment stages to explain what kind of commission model you use so candidates have all the information they need.
3. Post to a variety of sites
Great candidates aren’t just going to fall into your lap. You need to make sure that your ideal candidates see your advert. Finding the right place to post your job advert is essential to getting the best applications.
For some sales roles, mainstream job sites will be an easy and effective tool, but posting to sales-specific job boards like Simply Sales, Sales Jobs, or Sales Roles, can help you better target your recruitment towards people specifically looking for new sales roles.
4. Develop sales-specific interview questions and techniques
Great sales recruitment relies on your ability to accurately assess a candidate’s sales-specific skills, so getting advice from your existing sales team is helpful.
Ask your sales team for interview questions that can test sales ability. These can include asking candidates to sell you something or to explain how they landed their biggest sale.
Be sure to ask about their failures as well as their successes. No-one wins all the time, especially in sales. Understanding how an applicant deals with and learns from failure can tell you a lot about their ability to succeed.
You could also create roleplay scenarios with your existing sales team to test their sales skills more directly. Consider the actual situations your new hire will find themselves in throughout their new role and try to recreate these in your roleplays.
5. Follow up with candidates quickly
In today’s job market, great candidates won’t be looking for a position for long. This is particularly important in sales, where hiring quickly to improve your company’s outreach can be vital — especially in tough economic times. A simple, streamlined recruitment strategy can help you secure great new hires while other companies are still interviewing.
There are loads of tools out there to help streamline your recruitment process (as well as your onboarding, which helps you retain great talent). Consider ways that you can automate sections of your recruitment process. Some types of automation can even help improve your DEI as well.
You could try having candidates complete a pre-hire sales assessment to help you quickly narrow down the best recruits. This allows everyone to show off their sales skills while giving you a standardised assessment system.
Remember that candidates who are unsuccessful for this job might be perfect for your next open sales position. Try to notify unsuccessful candidates promptly and politely, and ask to keep great CVs on file for your next recruitment opportunity. You’ll likely need more great salespeople in the future, and building a strong talent pool to draw from will only speed up your recruitment process.
6. Stay updated on industry trends and news
One of the best ways to stay on top of your sales hiring is to keep up to date with sales recruitment trends, news, and best practices.
You can find all of our previous blogs about sales recruitment here, and here are a few places we like to keep an eye on for all the best recruitment news, statistics, and more:
- HR Magazine
- Personnel Today
- HR Review
- HR World
- Office for National Statistics – Employment and labour market
Bonus tip: ask for some expert help
Your ideal sales candidate is out there, but sometimes you just can’t find who you need on your own. If you’d like help finding the best sales staff or want help filling any other roles, get in touch with the team at crooton today. We’re ready to help you find all the best sales talent at a simple, fixed rate so you can hire as many salespeople as you need!