Eight Recruiting Mistakes You MUST Avoid When Hiring Salespeople

By: Courtney Keene

The competitive world of hiring means that there is little room for error when it comes to attracting and retaining talented salespeople. In fact, some experts describe today’s hiring landscape as constant matchmaking.

If your recruiting process isn’t streamlined and producing quality results, chances are good that your hiring department or recruiting firm is making one or more of the following mistakes:

1. Expecting A+ talent to respond to a B- compensation and benefits package
Take a good look at the total compensation package you are offering potential sales hires. Is it competitive with other industry companies which are looking for the same A+ candidates? If not, you cannot realistically expect to attract and retain top talent. However, if you cannot offer more in terms of money, you can get creative and offer outstanding PTO, 401k benefits, profit sharing, and uncapped commissions.

2. Posting vague or outdated job listings
We get it; hiring is a marathon, and it is sometimes tempting to recycle job postings or change out a few words or lines and move on to the next task. However, the job posting is where some hires are either found or lost to the competition. It is worth the investment of time and effort to revisit and revise the job posting each time so that anyone reading the description will come away knowing what they will be selling, and to whom. The more specific you can be, the higher the chances that you will find a salesperson with expertise or experience in that area, which will mean higher qualified candidates and less time sifting through unqualified resumes.

3. Partnering with the wrong search firm
There are a couple of ways a search firm could be unsuitable for your needs. First, a firm might be too quick to throw your job posting online and begin fielding resumes before asking deep questions about your needs or getting a feel for the role and the culture of your company. The second type of mistake is partnering with the wrong firm, contingent or retained. A retained search firm, while it would be an investment up front, may cost less overall by finding and presenting you a few high-quality candidates. A retained search firm dedicates itself to filling your need with the best candidate they can find, they enthusiastically sell the job as though they work for your company and help make this process less stressful from the start of the search all the way through to the candidate’s start date. Whereas a contingent firm may be cycling the same candidates to all of their clients. A contingent firm practices a numbers game, which may get you an influx of candidates, but will quickly die down if the right hire isn’t in that initial wave.

4. Practicing bad communication with recruiters or candidates
Bad communication is destructive across the board. Make it someone’s job to keep candidates in the loop if there may be a delay between steps. The last thing you want to do is to let top talent get away because they thought you’d forgotten about them.
Where recruiters are concerned, two-way communication is essential to both sides of the equation. Provide detailed feedback after candidate interviews, good or bad. The more information you can give your recruiter, the better they can serve you and the more they can help their candidates. If you’re dealing with an industry specific recruiter, giving the feedback not only helps them give their candidates constructive criticism (which they appreciate) but it can also come back around down the road. A lot of times candidates will respond with referrals for industry candidates they know who may be a fit in the future. They remember if you ended things professionally and are more willing to help you with future openings.

5. Allowing too many chefs in the kitchen
Particularly if you’re working with a third-party recruiting firm, don’t have more people than is necessary working on the project. Too many points of contact send a negative message to top talent; they may begin wondering why your company is so desperate to fill the position, or they may assume that the job has been open for too long. A higher risk is that one of the “chefs” may not be selling the role as accurately or favorably as you want.

6. Being inflexible for top talent
Let your recruiters know what boundaries they can push for the right candidates and empower them to flex those muscles when necessary. Know what you can get creative with for top talent: can you start benefits sooner than is usual? Can you offer guaranteed commissions, bonuses, or a higher car package? A skilled recruiter who’s done their research and is aware of what’s in your arsenal (or make suggestions) can make the negotiations at the offer stage go astoundingly smooth.

7. Not closing out all candidates
A big part of the negative connotation that people have with recruiters and job-hunting, in general, is being left hanging and having no idea why. Closing out all candidates and letting them know why it wasn’t a good fit can not only help job-seekers improve their skills for the next go-round, it may also help attract better candidates in the future.

8. Expecting “ASAP” to mean “tomorrow”
While it’s understandable to want to fill a position right away, you must keep in mind that rarely, if ever, do recruiting firms have fantastic candidates waiting in the wings. Quality recruiters are not conducting a “meet you today, hire you tomorrow” type of operation. In general, about six weeks is the expected time frame to land top talent. If that seems excessive, you can mitigate the wait by giving your HR department or recruiting firm a heads up on add’s for the year, or any expected turnover so that they can begin the process, or look into a bench of qualified candidates that didn’t quite make the cut last time around.

When you see an A+ candidate, you know it. By staying mindful of these common pitfalls, you can attract, hire, and keep the best talent out there.

Give us a call today for more information on how Grapevine Recruiting can help you.