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State of Sales Hiring Survey Reveals 24 Surprising Sources for Recruiting Quality Sales Talent

Sales leaders are constantly pursuing only the best candidates to fill important seats in their company. But when those candidates aren’t already lined up in the lobby or are unaware that you’re looking to make some serious waves in the sales hiring game, what recruiting sources do you rely on to proactively seek them out?

This was one of several questions we asked in a joint survey with SellingPower® to identify challenges and best practices in sales hiring. Along with asking which sources are great for finding the best candidates, we also asked respondents to share non-traditional sources. After all, sales leaders face mounting pressure to hire fast and hire well. So having as many resources at their fingertips is a tremendous benefit.

To gain the most comprehensive insight possible, we surveyed sales leaders, recruiters, and sales reps to better understand their unique — and at times opposing — perceptions, expectations, and preferences.

What are your sources for BEST candidates?

According to the survey, sales recruiters believe LinkedIn is a tremendous recruiting resource and use it heavily alongside job boards. LinkedIn is also popular among sales hiring managers, though they also prefer employee referrals and leveraging their personal networks to find the best candidates. 

Clearly, seeing is believing in sales, which is why options such as using outside recruiting firms, campus recruiting, and social media platforms other than LinkedIn scored so low. Apart from role-playing, it is difficult for sales reps to provide a work sample like a programmer or marker could, so a hiring manager isn’t taking a risk by hiring an unknown candidate. In contrast, previous personal and professional experience with a sales rep gives recruiters and sales hiring managers an intimate understanding of the candidate’s ability and the confidence that they are making the right sales hire. 

What are your non-traditional sources for quality sales candidates?

With sales talent in short supply, we asked survey participants to share their non-traditional sources. As you will see, there are some excellent suggestions that should be examined closely to expand your candidate pool.

  1. Retain your top reps and develop mid-tier performers so that they stay and contribute
  2. Look at internal candidates, especially customer success, sales engineering, marketing, blue-collar
  3. Create a career progression model to promote reps from BDR and SDR to AE and Manager
  4. Look into employee referral programs and friends, and then bolster with “Day in the Life” videos from peers
  5. Look at referrals from vendors, prospective vendors, suppliers, and customers
  6. Utilize introductions to booth staff at industry trade shows
  7. Find a competitor’s reps with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  8. De-commissioning military veterans (www.qualled.com and www.lucasgroup.com
  9. Military MWR officer (Moral, Welfare, Recreation) to source military spouses
  10.  Sports: College athletes, retiring athletes, semi-pro athletes, season ticket sellers for sports teams, coaches
  11.  College programs with sales majors (https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/sales-major-5218)
  12.  Sales “Boot Camps” (https://www.coursereport.com/tracks/tech-sales)
  13.  Sales Associations (AA-ISP, SMA, SAMA, etc.)
  14.  Consider loosening job requirements – no 4-year degree, look at more candidates and disqualify them
  15.  Outplacement firms
  16.  Relocation companies (trailing spouse)
  17.  Off-shore: Instant Teams (https://instantteams.com/)
  18.  Copier and printer salespeople
  19.  Teachers … they want to make more money and are teachable
  20.  “Free” sales certification
  21.  Car salesmen … tired of hours and want a new identity
  22.  Hotel and accommodations industry people usually have excellent customer facing skills
  23.  Service industry – waiters and waitresses from Cheesecake Factory have great communication skills
  24.  Moms and dads returning to the workforce able to work from home – Facebook “Mom’s Groups,” PTA

Please check back with us as we share more about this insightful survey. Download the full survey report here!

What are you doing to improve your sales hiring process?

Sciolytix Sales Performance Predictor (S2P2) is an award-winning candidate assessment tool that utilizes 3D avatar-based simulations to measure and predict a candidate’s performance in an unbiased manner. Think of it as a video game — sales candidates play a video game that reflects the real-world selling situations they will face in their new sales role and, through artificial intelligence, predict their effectiveness. This groundbreaking technology helps sales leaders:

  1. Hire top-performing reps quickly
  2. Minimize the risk of bad hires
  3. Position themselves as an employer of choice with applicants 

Bottom line, we are revolutionizing the way organizations hire, onboard, develop talent, and create a fair hiring process for all. Predictive simulations are the latest enhancement we’re adding to that arsenal of products. 

Author: Dario Priolo

Dario brings over 20 years of experience in the sales enablement and talent development industry. He has led marketing and strategy as CMO for leading companies like the Hay Group, Miller Heiman and Profiles International and has been part of 4 successful exits, including his own start-up.


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