It’s an unfortunate fact of professional life that the new year brings with it a surge of resignations, with the fresh start providing many with the incentive to embark on new career adventures. With January now over and budgets typically set for the year ahead, you should have a clearer idea of the roles you need filled within your team – which means it’s time to set the recruitment wheels into motion. But how much do you really know about how sales candidates job search and what they look for from a sales role? Here’s what you need to know when you’re looking for your next sales star.

Many candidates – and indeed, some of the best – are passive

Passive candidates are defined as those who aren’t actively on the market seeking new jobs, but can still be identified by recruiters and sales managers as potential candidates. While they can take more time and effort to find and attract, they represent a huge untapped market just waiting to be snapped up by savvy sales managers. In fact, almost 85% of the global workforce is made up of passive candidates, according to Recruitment Buzz, with just 15% of those satisfied in their current jobs. These candidates present a great opportunity for sales managers as they won’t be interviewing with anyone else, meaning less competition for you, and they are often long-term, loyal employees.

It’s not always about the money

Money matters for sales people, but it’s not always the most important thing candidates are looking for in a new role. The top three criteria for sales candidates when choosing a new job are actually company culture, career progression and training and development, with sales people most interested in what they can do and how they’ll feel within a sales team, as opposed to how much money they can gain from it. However, it’s still important to ensure you’re offering a competitive salary that can match – if not beat – others on the market.

Training and career progression matters

Career development and progression is one of the most compelling non-financial incentives for jobseekers looking for new sales positions. This is particularly true of millennials, with 87% of the younger generation saying development is important in a job. Make your company’s development potential obvious from the moment you start recruiting. If candidates can’t see a clear progression pathway when they interview for a sales role, they will typically be less inclined to pursue the position. While not everyone can be promoted into more senior roles, corporate training, conferences and industry events can help sales people feel like they are growing in their role.

Flexibility is important

One in three British employees anticipate an increased level of workplace flexibility over the next decade, and 31% of people would rather have a more flexible working approach than a 3% pay rise. With such attention on flexibility in the workplace, it’s no surprise that sales people are demanding enhanced work-life balance and greater flexibility in their work. New technologies make it easier than ever to work from different locations, so ensure you offer the right tools to your team to allow them to communicate on the move.

Candidates search in many different places

Sales candidates are not only confident when they conduct job searches, but they cast a wide net: 66% search on at least three job boards to find roles they’re interested in. Nearly 80% of job seekers use social media in their job search, while more traditional job search approaches such as job boards, company websites, networking, referrals, and of course recruitment agencies, all remain popular. Expect job seekers to be looking in different places for roles and ensure you’re doing all you can to be competitive.

Social media is used as a job search tool

Social channels are being used more than ever by both sales candidates and employees, yet many employers aren’t actively managing their social profiles and reviewing what’s being said about them online. Social media should be part of your employer brand strategy year-round – with 94% of jobseekers likely to apply to a job if an employer actively manages their online brand, maintaining your social networks could pay dividends when it comes to attracting sales talent.

Candidates read lots of reviews

If you’ve noticed sales candidates becoming savvier about researching your company, you’re not alone. New research reveals that job seekers are increasingly checking employer reviews and treating job searching like booking a holiday, with many keen to have different offers on the table before committing to a new role. We’ve said before that Glassdoor is a powerful sales recruitment tool, and now is the time to harness the potential that it holds.

Sales people don’t stay on the market for long

While the average time to fill sales vacancies stands at 47 days, our sales index shows that 58% of candidates will have had at least one interview after being on the market for two weeks. By the time it gets to weeks 3-4, 76% of candidates will have had between one and five interviews. This means the longer your recruitment process, the more competition you face in attracting and securing the top sales talent – all the more reason to shorten your sales recruitment process.

Candidates want to keep in touch

While the recruitment process can involve multiple stages with many different touchpoints, there is no excuse for leaving your potential sales people in the dark about where they stand. CareerBuilder research shows that candidates expect ongoing communication from hiring companies throughout the recruitment process, but many companies are falling short of this by not offering updates at key stages of the process. Avoid this by implementing a communications policy within your team that ensures sales candidates receive follow up communications throughout recruitment stages.

You’re not the only opportunity on the market

In a candidate-driven market where many companies may be competing for the top sales talent, it’s no surprise that nearly half of UK workers admit to accepting multiple job offers in order to negotiate with employers. Sales superstars are incredibly valuable assets to any company, and will be actively pursued by competitors no matter how attractive your package is. Navigate this by acting quickly and positively – if you wait too long to make an offer, you may miss out on the best talent.

We can help

While the modern sales job seeker is technologically-savvy, aware of their options and eager to research your company before accepting an offer, there are many things you can do to help attract them to your business. At BMS, we have industry insight to help you identify and secure top sales people. Contact us here to find out how we can work together.