Jump-Starting a Stalled Sales-Recruitment Program

By Sabrina Balmick

Every sales-recruiting effort needs revving up now and again. For companies facing recruiting challenges, this means rethinking not only who they hire but how they hire. After all, you can attract the best candidates, but if your hiring process isn’t efficient, you’ll lose more candidates than you ultimately hire.

While building an entirely new sales-recruiting process from start to finish is no easy task (and requires continuous adjustment), there are a few processes you can address in order to make the most of your candidate pool.

  1. Job Specifications: You can’t build a great sales team without understanding the strengths and skills that work best for your organization. A recruitment effort stalls partly because managers and their recruiting partners rely on stale job descriptions and rigid hiring requirements.Forget the bullet points and focus instead on your current team. What are its strengths and weaknesses, and where can you capitalize on opportunities? Venture into the field to observe your sales team’s day-to-day activities. This not only allows you to gauge your team’s skill sets in real time, but it also provides insight into any potential retention pitfalls, including why employees are staying with or leaving the company. With this information, you can better plan your hiring strategy to ensure that 1.) you aren’t churning and burning hires, and 2.) you’re providing them with the tools and training they need to sell and drive revenue.
  2. Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing: The best way to find salespeople isn’t by posting on job boards. Good salespeople are always looking for the next career opportunity, but they may not be actively applying for jobs. Still, they usually have their ear to the ground and are often open to chatting about a new job. To reach these folks, rally your professional and personal networks to spread the word about new opportunities, rather than simply post and hope someone applies. If you’re working with a recruitment partner, make the most of that connection to reach those candidates you otherwise wouldn’t have uncovered.
  3. Employer Branding: Employer branding reflects how others see your organization throughout the hiring process and employee lifecycle and ultimately affects your ability to attract candidates. With a strong brand proposal, you’ll be in a better position to hire and retain strong candidates.To build the strongest brand, start by asking tough questions about the hiring process. What’s your company’s reputation as an employer? Are employees providing a consistent stream of referrals? Are you an employer of choice or a last resort? How do candidates and competitors perceive your company? If your company’s reputation is less than stellar, is it fixable?Another key part of your employer brand is the hiring-manager interview, which is one of the best occasions to showcase your company’s strengths and unique selling points. Remember that interviews are not only an audition for the candidate but for the company also, so remember to sell the opportunity. Why would this candidate want to work for you? What does your company bring to the table that a competitor can’t? How can you help take your new hire to the next level?
  4. Resume Reviews: Keep an open mind while reviewing resumes. When revenue is on the line and you need a magic-bullet salesperson, it’s easy to become hampered by a checklist of attributes your next superstar must have. While there are some skills that may not be negotiable, you may miss out on hiring some otherwise great candidates simply because they didn’t meet all of your requirements.Consider what skills are necessary to do the job, and decide whether you’re willing to train on them. The answer might allow you to open up your candidate pool and hire faster – and the faster you hire, the sooner your new salesperson can begin selling.In addition, if you’re on the fence about a candidate, conduct a quick phone screening to see if he or she fits the bill and might be worth interviewing in person. The candidate may possess experience or skills that aren’t listed on the resume but may be valuable to your organization.

The hiring process shouldn’t be a static function that never changes. Like the sales process, recruitment must adapt to external and internal pressures in order to work efficiently. By making incremental adjustments, your sales-recruitment process could run more smoothly, and you’ll be able to recruit better talent.

Sabrina Balmick
Sabrina Balmick serves as marketing manager for ACA Talent, a recruitment-process outsourcing firm specializing in sales recruitment. She works closely with the company’s sales and operations teams to develop content and implement marketing programs that effectively reach and recruit qualified sales talent. Email her at marketing@acatalent.com.