How To Recruit Top Sales Professionals for the Boom (and the Downturn)

I confess, over the course of my career I have made some poor hiring decisions (usually because I was recruiting out of desperation).  And every day that a position went unfilled I became more and more desperate to fill it. Consequently, I often found myself wavering – perhaps overlooking or brushing off things in an interview that would normally cause me to pause and think, “Is this truly the best candidate for the position?

The unfortunate reality is that most companies start recruiting only when a position opens.  According to Glassdoor, it takes an average of 23 days to hire a new employee.  If your top producer came to you today and said, “You’ve been great, but here’s my notice” do you have 23 days to fill the role? I think not. If you are in that position, it is a hard lesson to learn – but the recruiting process should never end.  Downturn or boom, we should always be recruiting and communicating with potential candidates.

Wondering where to begin?

  • Start by getting clear on your hiring goals. Always be looking to the future and what’s coming up. Yes, sometimes you’ll be caught by surprise. But adopting a mindset that says, “I always have an opening” is healthy.
  • Take stock – you are only as strong as your weakest team member. Are you happy with the way you are being represented? Put another way, how proud are you of your worst team member?
  • Describe your ideal candidate. What adjectives come to mind?  What are the characteristics of a superstar? I’ll start you off…
    High achievement drive
    Self-starter
    Positive energy
    Coachability

Here’s what’s interesting – we often put a lot of emphasis on experience; however, experience doesn’t always equate to success nor the openness and willingness to learn and grow.  All skills can be learned if one is open to learning.

No positions currently open? Not a problem.

  • Be transparent and communicate this honestly with candidates. Let them know that you are always looking for top talent, so that when a position does become available, you can hire the right person.
  • Have a talent pipeline and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Keep yourself and your company top of mind.
  • Make the interview process positive from beginning to end. According to LinkedIn, 75% of job seekers search for a company’s reviews, revenue and reputation before even applying.

Bottom line, we should always be on the lookout for top talent. Recruiting constantly allows us to fill positions more effectively than desperately. We can be patient…we can be picky. Instead of checking off a couple of boxes – we can check off all the boxes. We can seek out those who will fit in with our team and align with our company’s culture and values.

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About the Author: Michelle Bendien

Michelle Bendien