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The science of sales recruitment explained-Prima Resource

This is typical: sales leaders often think they have the expertise to recruit the best representatives, but they rarely do!

For all types of positions, poor recruitment choices cause huge losses of time and money, but this is even more the case in sales. The recruitment and integration process must be seen as an investment, quantifiable by the sales objective of the hired representative. Even if sales goals should be more conservative in the first few months, if they are not met, it still means leaving money on the table. This is why it is essential for business leaders to develop effective ways to improve the recruitment of their salespeople.

Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid and our best advice to do so.

3 common mistakes

#1 Don’t be fooled by fine words

Always remember that the candidate will present himself in the best possible light. He is, after all, a salesman, and as such, should be able to “sell himself”. If you ignore good, impartial criteria, you are likely to be charmed. In short, neither the voice nor the presence of the candidate alone should determine their sales skills.

#2 CVs are not everything

If you focus only on the resumes that you think are the most attractive, you may set aside candidates of interest. In reality, there are very few good resumes, as the majority only include the name of the company, the title of the position held and the period of employment. These are elements that can mislead you! What you should look for are good referrals: you want to know if the candidate can meet his sales goals.

#3 Get rid of your bad habits

We often hear sales manager claim that poor recruitment choices are part of the game. They are so used to failure that they are almost always recruiting staff or are satisfied with underperforming sales reps. Companies want to cut recruitment costs, misjudge their real needs and rely on salespeople with good communication skills and an established customer base. This is a huge mistake.

Our advice to improve your recruitment

Sales leaders must make time to conduct a thorough analysis, which will then be used to properly assess the company’s needs. Without clear goals, it is difficult to know whether their growth should be achieved through better management of existing accounts or an increase in prospecting activities, for example. Following this analysis, they will be able to identify the selection criteria that will help establish the ideal profile of the desired candidate, whether account manager, farmer or hunter.

We also advise to recruit using recognized assessment tools that focus on impartial and scientific profiling of candidates. Since the candidate’s profile will objectively meet your selection criteria, your error margin will be greatly reduced.

Here are 3 options:

1.The 21 Sales Core Competencies

This free tool can help you understand exactly what you should look for in a candidate. It is a list of the 21 essential competencies anyone should master in order to succeed in the sales industry. If you are thinking of recruiting your sales force by yourself, you should definitely check it out.

2.STAR recruitment

The STAR process (Sales Talent Acquisition Routine) is a specific recruitment method for sales positions and offers full recruitment support by a dedicated expert. Sales-specific pre-hiring evaluations have a predictive validity of 93%. The interview process is clear, with three consecutive steps: by phone, online, and in person.

Companies that need to hire frequently and want to be self-sufficient have the opportunity to obtain STAR certification by taking a training course. They will then be able to adopt a uniform and efficient recruitment process for all future positions to be filled. Contact us to learn more about STAR.

3.External firms

Finally, if you have no recruitment experience and do not want to hire several salespeople, you should hire an external firm. Find out about their recruitment processes. Make sure they have certified tests, scientific tools and approaches, and a guarantee offer of at least six months in case of failure. You should also check the firm’s reputation and experience, for example, through documented data on the level of customer satisfaction.


Trial and error in sales recruitment is expensive. It is a specialized task that requires specific skills and experience.

One thing is for sure: you can’t find an elite sales representative by posting a classic ad on your website. If you want to find an exceptional rep, you must take exceptional measures.