Five Tactics for Recruiting Great Sales Talent

By Sabrina Balmick

Revenue and recruitment often go hand in hand: you can’t drive sales without having the right people in place. Posting a job online and hoping for applications may be the easiest sourcing strategy, but it’s not often the most effective, especially if it’s the only method a manager is using to recruit. To drive immediate interest and build a robust candidate pipeline, companies are best served by deploying a variety of sourcing strategies.

Here are five resources and tactics for recruiting great sales talent.

1) LinkedIn

LinkedIn has 250 million users in more than 200 countries, which means that well-connected managers may be able to hire qualified talent without posting a single job, all thanks to the power of referrals and LinkedIn’s messaging system. If you’ve neglected the care and feeding of your network, it’s not too late to start. Join groups to add fresh blood to your network, as well as publicize jobs for free. Not sure where to start? Case your competitors and see where the action is, or search for keywords related to your industry. If you’re a member of any professional associations, search for a corresponding LinkedIn group. To maximize your reach, target groups with high activity (look for how often members post to the bulletin board, for instance) and strong membership numbers. As a member of a LinkedIn group, you can send free messages to fellow group members, which allows you to quickly expand your network. You can also use the jobs tab to post a job announcement for free.

2) College and Alumni Networks

For companies that regularly recruit entry- to midlevel talent, educational networks are an excellent candidate source. To make the most of this resource, start building relationships with local colleges and trade schools. Reach out to the career-services liaison at each school to build a recruitment program. To drive excitement and interest in your current open positions, consider contacting individual academic departments, such as the school’s sales, marketing, or business-administration programs. If you’re in the local marketplace, you may be able to set up a meet-and-greet with students in the career services office, submit a flyer, or search the college’s resume database. Many schools also offer such free resources as access to alumni networks, resume books, on-campus presentations, and job postings. For a fee, you may also be able to attend on-campus recruitment events.

3) Private Recruitment Events

Instead of competing with other companies at public recruiting events, consider hosting your own open house. For companies that need to hire many candidates but lack time or resources to interview over several weeks, this tactic allows you to interview several candidates in one day and possibly even make offers (depending on your internal recruitment process). While this can be a time-intensive undertaking, the tradeoff is that you end up interviewing only candidates specifically interested in working for your organization. If you’re already using resources such as job postings, social media, and an internal resume database, you can direct that traffic to a single event. Many companies run these events on-site, saving the cost of renting a venue and giving candidates a preview of the work environment. To execute a smooth event, work with your human resources or recruitment team to schedule interviews and coordinate offers and candidate follow-up.

4) Internal Candidate Databases

If your company has an internal applicant-tracking system (ATS), you’re sitting on a treasure chest of potential candidates and referrals. Just as you’d continuously mine your CRM for customer data and routinely send out warm emails, you’d also reach out to previous applicants through your ATS. Candidates who might not have fit previous opportunities may fit others. If a candidate turned down a job offer, he or she may still have referrals for you.

5) Recruitment Partners

To supplement your recruiting effort and ramp up hiring, consider working with a search firm that specializes in filling positions within your industry. Well-networked recruiters are able to quickly connect with top candidates and promote the opportunity efficiently. Before selecting a partner, ask questions not only about pricing but also about recruitment processes, technology capabilities, and overall track record.

Adding a few of these tactics to your recruitment mix will not only help strengthen your current sourcing strategy but will also expand and diversify your candidate pool as you ramp up recruitment.