Sales hiring is crucial for any business

Taking on board Sales talent: how to recruit top-performing candidates

Best HR strategies to approach Sales hiring

Good sales professionals are always on high demand: companies need great performers in order to expand and reach new profitability benchmarks. That is why the ability to attract, hire and onboard outstanding sales managers and representatives is a fundamental competitive advantage for any business.

It is important to remember that sales hiring is not a one-time activity but rather a continuous process, since salespeople’s retention rates are usually low. According to Bridge Group research cited in Forbes, “there is a minimum 20% annual turnover in Sales”, due to the fact that salespeople under high pressure burn out faster than other employees.

As a result, HR managers must adopt a versatile, proactive approach to continuously engage and recruit the best candidates with the advanced selling competencies. And even though there is no “silver bullet approach”, this can be done by developing comprehensive sales hiring strategies. Here are some best tips to enhance your sales talent sourcing, screening, and interviewing:

Never stop searching for great salespeople

The market is extremely competitive, so don’t wait until the moment you desperately need to fill a position. Instead, stay proactive and always be on the lookout for effective sales talent.

Look for sales-specific qualities

CVs and sales track records usually speak for themselves, but they cannot be the only factors that count. According to Business News Daily, sometimes it is “all about raw smarts, hunger and the ability to get things done”. As a recruiter, you should assess the candidates’ sales-focused skillsets and their market knowledge. The Harvard Business School conducted a research and discovered that the best-performing sellers had in common certain character traits:

  • Advanced communication skills, meaning the ability to clearly convey the message at the client’s communication level.
  • Achievement oriented personality: this stands foran above-average willingness to succeed. It also means that great sellers have a strong willpower in conjunction with a well-trained self-discipline.
  • Situational dominance: “a personal interaction strategy by which the customer accepts the salesperson’s recommendations and follows his advice”.

In addition, great salespeople usually have a “does-not-take-no” mindset, competitive personality, resourcefulness, persistence, empathy, attention to detail, and propensity to take initiative.

Ask effective interview questions: reveal the Sales DNA

A right interviewing process is half the battle in sales hiring. Focus on behavioural and situational questions. Here are some examples: “Tell me about a sales opportunity you lost. What would you do differently now?”, “Give me an example of a creative way you closed a sale”, “How do you prepare for presentations?”, etc.

Incorporate a sales assessment in your hiring process

Combining screening and interviews with assessment sessions is the best way to evaluate the candidates’ selling skills. There are many test options: the TriMetrix sales assessment, the Objective Management Group (OMG) sales assessment, or simply a test sales pitch presented to you.

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