Hiring for Sales is a lot like working in Sales – it requires a defined prospecting process, having measurable goals, developing compelling messaging and most importantly –hustle and creativity.
Here are 5 actionable steps you and your recruitment team can take to identify and engage top qualified Sales candidates to work at your company.
1. Build Out the Ideal Candidate Profile
You might have a job description that defines the position, but does that tell your team about the profile of the individual needed to fill that role? Probably not.
To begin, pull the profiles of current Sales team members who excel in their role. What is it about their personality or approach that makes them a great fit? Learn about their background, where they went to school, what kind of extracurricular activities they enjoy, etc.
Not only will you use this as a benchmark for comparison – but you will use these profiles in your actual search – more on that shortly.
2. Set Expectations for Your Recruitment Strategy
Sales recruiting is metrics-driven. To recruit top talent, you can’t afford to approach the process without solid goals.
Leverage your knowledge of past recruitment efforts and set milestones. For example, if you post the job and begin your search on the 1st – you should know approximately how many candidates you’ll need to engage to have a hire made on the 30th.
Expand on your metrics with data you have available. Let's say If out of 10 candidates you message, 1 of them will respond. You can set objectives for how many responders will be screened, leading to an interview and ultimately the number of candidates interviewed, leading to your hire.
Setting expectations with the rest of the hiring team will ensure that everyone is on the same page, foster stronger working relationships and demonstrate to candidates that your internal teams and culture are aligned.
These types of metrics especially resonate with Sales leaders. When you’re looking for buy-in with Sales leadership – speaking their language goes a long way.
3. Identify Using LinkedIn Recruiter
One way recruiters separate themselves is the way they utilize LinkedIn to identify the talent they need. LinkedIn Recruiter offers 3 ways to do this.
Guided Search: This method allows you to search by job title, location, specific skills, and keywords. For example – keywords could be used if you know you want to target a candidate that goes above and beyond, you might use search terms like “overachieved” or “exceeded quota.”
Ideal Candidate Search: Use the profiles of the team members you pulled as the benchmark for the ideal candidate profile. Plug it in to the search to replicate those types of profiles. Additionally, once new hires are made – use those profiles, as they are the most recent examples of success.
Boolean Search: A quick and easy way to refine your search and find candidates that meet specific criteria. Boolean is a way to refine search further by using NOT, OR, AND modifiers. This can be modified in the Keywords filter.
You can save all searches in LinkedIn Recruiter rather than having to recreate them each time. This also allows you to set alerts on searches for updated profiles and new results that match your specs.
After you’ve run your search and have found candidates to target – confirm a few things on their profile to further qualify them:
Check out recommendations: References from a colleague or from a previous position can provide great insight and tell a great story.
LinkedIn is the go-to tool to identify candidates. However, you should be using a variety of ways outside of LinkedIn too. Here's a few ideas.
Handshake for Employers: Targeting entry-level talent for your BDR team? Handshake partners with over 700 U.S. universities, 14 million students and alumni and 300,000 employers. Leverage Handshake and get your position sent to all the universities you are in contact with.
Referrals: The average employee has over 150 professional connections. Think about how many employees you have and how quickly that pool can amass. Don’t have a referral program? Consider it! Here’s an article on how to get started.
Referrals don’t just have to come from current employees. In an active search you meet a lot of great people that might not be the right fit for this role – but they may know people that would be. You can ask for referrals after a phone screen when it makes sense (like if you mutually agree the job wouldn’t be a fit.) Or it could be a candidate you once worked closely with that had a good candidate experience.
Inbound Recruitment Marketing: Drive sales candidates to your Career page by posting employment brand content. The same way marketers post snippets of blog content to drive their audience to their blog – that’s how you should treat your career page.
Here's one way to to get started - interview the brand ambassadors of your sales team about why they love working at your company. Take a video of this interview. Edit video snippets of this conversations or pull stills from the video and overlay text on the image. You should be able to create multiple social media posts from this.
The "Call to Action" is a link to the Career Page to learn more. Make this a regular practice and you will see traffic to that page increase and ultimately - drive more more applicants.
Host a Meetup: Great Salespeople like to learn from one another. Meetups are a fantastic opportunity to network for recruitment purposes, support the community, share knowledge and build relationships.
You can get great candidates to step into your office by offering training on a topic that would interest them. Have your Sales leadership team run a panel discussion or a training that would appeal to them.
4. Deliver Compelling Messaging
Odds are, you’re not the only message in their inbox, so you have to cut through the noise. This is where recruiting teams have to think like marketers and make their messages intriguing! You’re not sending them a job description. What you’re trying to achieve is build interest, present value, and illicit enough intrigue for a response.
Start with a great subject line. In our conducted survey, 44% of respondents said the subject line is what most likely drives them to open a LinkedIn message. Don’t make the subject line generic - Job Opportunity in Boston! (That’s not going to cut it). Think outside the box, try something cheeky, (puns go a long way) or ask a question. Keep it relevant, you want the candidate to be curious and engage with the message.
For Sales professionals, end of quarter messaging can be the ticket. Many companies run on their own fiscal year – for the big players, (Oracle, Siemens, etc.) know the dates of those fiscal years. Here’s the key: A/B test everything. When developing your plan – come up with several different subject lines and messages and pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t.
Keep it simple: Keep messages under 500 characters, as the majority of folks are reading messages via mobile. In fact, in our survey 69% say they are more likely to read a LinkedIn message on their mobile device than their desktop. You may think your 100-word message looks great – but even that could look like a wall of text.
Test different outreach methods -LinkedIn InMail vs. LinkedIn connection request vs. email. Some folks simply don’t use LinkedIn that much and email works better, or vice versa.
5. Pay Attention to Timing
The best candidates are not always willing to wait after they give you a response. Time kills deals. 74% of those surveyed expect a response from a recruiter within 24 hours. Your team shouldn’t be expected to be on the clock 24/7 – however, if there is a message that comes in at 7:00 PM – sometimes by giving a quick response along the lines of “I got your message, looking forward to connecting with you tomorrow to share more details” can go a long way with building rapport.
When are candidates more likely to respond to your message? It depends. Everyone is different – in fact 50% said they are more likely to respond during regular business hours, while the other 50% said at night or during the weekends. You want to be ready to capitalize!
Quality salespeople can make or break your business. They build relationships, move customers forward through the buying process and are often some of your company’s most outstanding brand enthusiasts. The trouble is, amazing sales candidates are at a premium in today’s environment. Need high-performing salespeople on your team but don’t have the internal bandwidth to effectively identify and engage the right candidates?
Find out how the experts at Talent Retriever can help!
Click below for a full look at the Survey Results mentioned in this article: