Sales recruiters have some pretty specific challenges. There are a lot of sales people out there, but sales recruiters must identify the top sales candidates who love sales and will work tenaciously to close sales a large percentage of the time. They must know where to look for top sales candidates, identify top seller traits, quantify sales success, and ask the right questions of sales candidates.
Where to Look for Top Sales Candidates
Sales recruiters have sourcing challenges just like any other type of recruiters. Knowing where to look for top sales candidates can mean the difference between a well-stocked candidate pool or scrambling for qualified leads.
Networking really works for sales recruiters. Going to as many networking events as possible such as local Chamber of Commerce meetings, seminars or workshops on sales, and sales industry events and conferences exposes them to highly motivated sales personalities.
Sales recruiters must ask clients for referrals. Customers are in a position to know how sales people perform. Client referrals can reveal outstanding sales people who demonstrate professionalism, attention to detail, extreme confidence, and outstanding salesmanship. Referrals can be a rich source of top sales candidates.
As with most other areas of recruiting, LinkedIn should be a go-to resource. With over 200 million profiles, LinkedIn is the premier place for sales recruiters to hunt for talent. There are dozens of sales related groups to join and participate in, and from which to engage and solicit prospective candidates.
Identify Top Seller Traits
When hiring sales candidates, sales recruiters have the challenge of identifying high achievers from mediocre sales candidates. Many employers and sales recruiters focus on sales candidates’ experience in and knowledge of their particular industry when they should spend more time on individual sales success traits.
Product lines and industry specifics can be learned but a sales personality is what sales recruiters should look for, including:
- Intense goal-orientation
- High customer empathy
- Strong ambition and desire to succeed
- Ability to approach strangers and stay composed in uncomfortable situations
- Ability to handle rejection and “no” without taking it personally
- 100 percent acceptance of responsibility for results
- Willpower, determination, and self-discipline
These can be difficult traits for sales recruiters to identify in an interview. Sales personality tests can help identify the strong work ethics and strong desires to succeed that characterize top sales candidates.
Quantify Sales Success
Don’t just take sales candidates’ word about their success. They talk for a living, and any experienced sales person will have stories to tell about their work and accomplishments.
But the proof that helps sales recruiters quantify sales success is in the numbers. Review each candidate’s total compensation and quota achievement in each position. High performance will show in commissions and quota attainment.
Best Questions for Sales Recruiters to Ask
The right questions will get the information recruiters look for, identify the best sales talent, and allow sales recruiters to move forward in the recruiting process. Employers and sales recruiters can’t wait until after they hire someone to figure out if the sales person they just hired is in the top 10 percent of sales performance or is just an average performer.
Sales recruiters should ask these questions to identify sales skills and attitude to uncover top candidates:
- Who was the best manager you ever had and what made that person the best?
- Tell me about the most challenging rejections or objections you’ve experienced during a sale and how you handled them.
- Describe your process for qualifying and closing a prospect from initial call to sale.
Looking for sales candidates in the right places, identifying top seller traits, quantifying sales success, and asking the right questions are top methods that sales recruiters can use to meet the challenges of finding the right sales candidates.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.