What to look out for when recruiting sales talent

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The ability to spot talent is an essential skill all recruiters should possess. When you’re fighting off competitors and other industries trying to lure away your talent, it can be easy to lose sight of exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate. However, clues to finding the sales person for your team start as soon as you receive their CV, which makes it vital to pay close attention to what candidates are putting forward.

Finding the right person for your team can be a daunting process, but we can help you to discover what to look out when recruiting sales talent. Here’s where to start:

A good candidate will sell themselves to you

A sales person should be skilled in not only selling products and services, but also their own abilities and attributes. Good candidates will be showcasing how they fit into the role and your company right from the moment they hit apply. They do this in several ways. Firstly, their CV should be tailored to the role you’re advertising. This includes highlighting the experience and skills they think are most relevant to your organisation, which can be demonstrated further through their cover letter. This is where you can let your enthusiasm for the position shine through, and where you can demonstrate your understanding of the advertised role and how you can add value. Strong cover letters will portray not only a sales person’s abilities, but also their character. A good sales person will be confident and present themselves in a way that is relevant to the role and your company. If they can’t sell themselves to you, they may not be able to sell your products.

Look out for achievements on their CV

It’s not enough for a sales person to simply say what their work experience entailed – they should also be able to demonstrate specific achievements within that experience. For example, rather than simply saying they assisted the sales manager with weekly sales of their core product, they might say they ran email campaigns, contacted lapsed clients and generated new business that resulted in a 20% sales uplift year on year. Sales people should demonstrate their specific responsibilities and how they achieved their goals and objectives, showing rather than telling.

Communication is key

Never underestimate the importance of strong communication within your business. Research shows that substandard communications cost businesses around 8,000 per employee every year, and with communication such a major role in any sales person’s job, anyone who isn’t a strong communicator could mean trouble for your business down the line.

Watch out for a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively throughout the recruitment process, from responding to any email and phone messages through to how they communicate during the interview. A good sales person will articulate their ideas, be clear in what they’re saying and remain polite and professional. They will also take opportunities to practice active listening, making eye contact and repeating summaries of your discussion points. This shows a willingness to listen to and understand their team members, managers and ultimately customers if you are to hire them.

A good sales person will have done their research

A good sales candidate will go beyond reading the job description and taking a cursory look at your website. They’ll try to get under the skin of your business and find out everything from the company’s values and aims through to how the advertised position can have the most impact. Job seekers use an average of 16 resources in their job search, and today’s digital era means there should be a wealth of information available for candidates to use to gain more information about your business.

If a candidate references your company’s careers page, social media profiles, history and even news articles that mention your business, they’re clearly interested in your vacancy and prepared to put some work in to demonstrate their enthusiasm. This can also be shown through the types of questions candidates ask during the interview process.

Pay attention to referrals

A good candidate can describe their achievements and position themselves as a great fit for your sales team, but a great candidate will be able to back that up with endorsements and testimonials. If someone from within your business or network refers a sales candidate on to you, pay attention! Research shows that referral hires are quicker and stay longer in the role, and the fact that they have been vetted as strong and reliable candidates by a trusted source certainly helps too. You can help to gather more referrals by implementing an employee referral programme in your team.

Recruit your next sales talent with BMS

People are at the heart of everything we do. Whether you’re looking to build up your sales team or train your existing talent, we can deliver a smarter, faster and more effective experience for you. Get in touch with us to see how we can help.


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