The Dos and Don’ts of Recruiting Sales Professionals

by Amy Bernstein, Senior Sales Recruiter, ACA Talent

For a recruiter, successfully placing talented sales candidates can be gratifying, both personally and professionally. The satisfaction of providing a potential career opportunity that enables an individual to earn a living, contribute to society, and advance, can be extremely rewarding.

Recruiting salespeople means matching the most qualified individual to the available position, rather than simply selling the candidate on the job. Because I firmly believe that salespeople are the hardest people to sell to, when I recruit for sales positions, my motto is, “Tell, don’t sell!”

While products may be bought and sold, jobs are not for sale. Instead, they are sought and earned, requiring candidates to be thoroughly qualified. This is where the recruiter plays an important role: ensuring that each candidate is a fit for the job.

To do that, there are some dos and don’ts that I live by as a sales recruiter.

Do be enthusiastic and upbeat about the job. You are speaking with candidates about their next job opportunity, and your optimism will capture their attention.

Do be honest. Give candidates the proper facts about the position, especially responsibilities, management expectations, earning potential, and any prior experience that may be required. Share the pros and cons about the position to help your candidate determine whether the job opportunity is a fit.

Do control the conversation. As the recruiter, your role is to qualify the candidate for the position, and the best way to do this is by guiding the interview.

Don’t do all the talking. People love to talk about themselves—especially salespeople, so let them intervene from time to time.

Don’t sell. The candidate should be the one selling himself/herself to you.

Don’t get discouraged. Keep a positive attitude at all times. You are dealing with people, not products or services; patience and understanding go a long way.

After you have qualified your candidate, and determined that this may be a match, here a few new more dos to help guide your candidate through the interview process with hiring managers.

Do provide specific information regarding the company, including history, structure, and mission.

Do give the candidate an overview of what the manager is looking for in a successful candidate.

Do coach your candidate through the interview process by providing positive, supporting guidance.

As the recruiter, you are a critical link between the employer and the candidate. Your job is to make sure that it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Work smart, communicate well, be honest, and have fun.