Graduates are the future of our workforce, particularly those graduates who come from the younger generation. With millennials due to comprise half of the global workforce by next year, organisations can no longer afford to neglect this demographic from their teams. Sales managers may not think of graduates as ideal sales people due to a perceived lack of commercial experience, but with a skills shortage and upcoming exit of baby boomers from the workplace, now is the time to hire and train this demographic to become sales stars of the future. Prepare now and successfully hire a new graduate by avoiding these mistakes:

Mistake one: Offering zero flexibility

Flexible working is high on the list of graduate’s requirements when looking for a new job. In fact, the millennial demographic are the most likely to want the option to work flexibly, with 70% of them saying they’d like such an opportunity. Nearly half of workers say they don’t have enough time in the week for hobbies or spending time with loved ones, so those companies that offer flexible hours and conditions stand to give themselves a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting top talent – particularly graduates.

As technology bounds ahead, we’re seeing very few roles which require employees to come into the office at the same set of hours every day of every week. Graduates are digital natives, making them technologically-savvy and capable of working remotely. Give them the option of flexible working and you’ll create a trusting relationship where your new sales person feels valued and ultimately works harder.

Mistake two: Throwing cash at them

While salary and bonus are always drivers for new sales people joining your team, research shows that non-financial incentives also help keep team members happy and productive. This is particularly true of graduates and millennials, who would rather make less money working in a job they love than earning big bucks in a role that isn’t satisfying. Fresh graduates are also incredibly driven and ambitious, which means they’re often more interested in the training and development opportunities you can offer them than the immediate financial rewards. Make sure potential candidates know about any progression plans, opportunities to learn and grow and where this role could take them into the future.

Mistake three: Getting the experience level wrong

Sales managers often look for salespeople who have at least two years’ experience, but this simply can’t happen when hiring graduates. When you’re preparing to fill future skills gaps and ensure your workforce is healthy and robust after the older generation exits, you’ll need to compromise on the experience levels you expect from your new starters. Graduates may have never worked before, and if they have, it likely won’t be in a sales or commercial environment.

Instead of demanding set levels of experience, look for a genuine interest in the company and passion for sales and their career. Enthusiastic graduates may have a fresh approach and can inject new energy into your sales team, so be prepared to sacrifice some experience for eagerness and drive.

Mistake four: Rarely challenging them

Graduates look for many things from an employer, one of which is to be challenged and kept motivated. Millennials are known for being impatient and looking for rapid career progression, which can be seen as both a strength and a weakness, depending on how this drive is harnessed by sales managers. Nearly half of millennials plan on leaving a job within 2.8 years, which means it’s up to you to keep them motivated, interested and committed to their work. Set tasks that push graduates out of their comfort zone and increase their levels of responsibility as they become more confident in their role. Most importantly, communicate with them to find out what they want from you and the business.

Mistake four: Assuming that they always want to leave

We know that fresh graduates and millennials enjoy change and want to try different things to find out what they enjoy. And while it’s true that some in this demographic do change jobs more regularly than older people, nearly 30% of millennials have plans to stay in their jobs beyond five years. Not all graduates are created equally, and for many, you’ll find that if you offer a structured development plan that fits with their career goals and challenges them, they’ll stick around.

We can help!

Finding new sales people isn’t always easy, but by avoiding these mistakes you can successfully hire new graduates. Through our graduate sales recruitment service, we can help you identify and assess the best emerging sales talent on the market. Speak to us about how we can help you to attract the best graduate talent to your sales team. Upload your vacancy today to see how we can find your next employee!