How to Hire Amazing Sales Candidates

Today’s post from is by Jamie Crosbie, CEO and founder of ProActivate. ProActivate has a unique sales talent acquisition model that provides working and winning sales and leadership talent through an in-depth sales behavioral interview process.  

It’s a nail-bitingly tense moment. Everyone is holding their breath, focused on the drama of the launchpad. The countdown drones on. “10…9…8…”

Will the rocket shoot skyward? Or will it fail spectacularly? If you are a sales leader, you already know what pressure is. You live with it. Every. Single. Day.

One of the biggest sources of your stress is probably the performance of your sales team. You are accountable for everything that happens on your watch. Somehow, you have to hire them, pull everyone together, train them, and hold their hands if need be, to launch them into the sales stratosphere. To do that, you need to hire sales reps who burn brighter than the sun.

Where Are the Shining Sales Stars?

Let’s be honest here for a moment: top talent doesn’t respawn like a video game. It would be easier if they did. According to a recent infographic on Glassdoor, in which they asked 1,000 professionals about their plans to change jobs, 68 percent of the respondents stated that they plan to find a new job within the next year.

Only one in five said they had no plan to head for the exit sign anytime soon. Of course, this is a small study, but it dovetails nicely with a recent Bridge Group SaaS Inside Sales Survey that showed a massive 34 percent turnover rate in sales departments (20 percent of which was involuntary and not linked to internal promotions).

So, again, where do you locate talent?

Stop with the Job Boards

Here’s the deal. Hiring from job boards is like trying to find NASCAR drivers at the local  mini-golf course or go-cart racing track. The rocket man (or woman) you are looking for is not going to be skimming job boards. They are out there working (possibly for the competition).

To find and hire the real sales stars, you have to invest in sourcing and targeting them in a meaningful way. Skip the outdated recruiting methods and go into hyperdrive instead.

Step One: Figure out Who You’re Looking For 

First, you need to figure out what you are really looking for in a sales candidate.

What skills do your team members really need in order to succeed? Make sure to highlight those skills from the get-go. If you are advertising for a position, provide specific details about the qualifications. If you are not getting stellar results from a posting, do not simply keep re-running it. The results are likely to be more of the same.

Even though many companies want to slash training budgets, investing in your people should be a priority. Your team needs to be developed, but companies don’t always want to spend the time and energy required to grow their own. It may take a bit of convincing to prove the value of grooming your people to succeed.

Step Two: Go Forth and Find ’em

Next, go where qualified candidates are. There is no single silver bullet, but social media and niche market advertising are more likely to turn up those with “the right stuff” than a rehashed Craigslist ad. Your best bet is to create a flexible strategy rather than simply playing rinse-and-repeat with what doesn’t work.

Actively cultivate relationships by reaching into talent communities such as professional groups and education meetups. Millennials especially are more tuned in and, if you want them, you have to court them in the same way you seek to engage your clients – using market savvy to source and recruit them.