Even now, the best sales leaders are regularly being courted by a number of top companies at the same time. This is especially true in a slow economy, when competition for clients and deals is fiercer than ever, and the best sales talent is worth the investment. Talent seekers who want the best need to be thinking about how to “win” top talent in the recruiting game.
In my career, I’ve hired hundreds of accomplished people and have led multiple companies through successful PE exits. Now I talk to companies every day who are looking to do the same. Here are some things I’ve learned about recruiting A-players:
1. Have a strategy
When a company implements a new strategy, it always has a go-to-market plan. Recruiting campaigns should be no different. This means you need to think about the big picture of your hiring campaign. What are your strengths as a company? What are you offering, both in terms of benefits and corporate culture? Create one-pagers with top messaging points you want to convey to candidates and the top points you’ll use to “sell” a candidate on your company. Everyone involved in recruiting should know these points inside and out.
2. Polish your website
To have a successful recruiting campaign, you might have to look at overhauling your brand – and your website. It’s the first place candidates will go to find out more about you. Most candidates are looking for a dynamic, challenging place to work and grow. Does your website convey this? Is it cluttered with too much text and too many images? Make sure candidates don’t have to cut through the “noise” to get to the highlights. Create a separate page on the site dedicated to recruiting, so candidates can learn more about what you’re offering and the culture of the company.
3. Be a disruptor
Candidates are looking for exciting businesses that are growing, innovating and thinking outside the box. They want to work for a company that will be better tomorrow than it is today. Think about how to build your executives’ thought leadership, whether through op-eds, social media or speaking opportunities. Make sure you talk to candidates about what your company’s future looks like and how they can help you get there.
4. Build a talent bench
Always stay in front of sales talent. If you don’t have certain opportunities available now but will in the future, cultivate a pool of candidates with different skillsets who could fill these vacancies when they’re open. Have your recruiting team stay in touch with them regularly; they’ll be more likely to choose your company than another when the time comes.
5. Let employees tell their stories
Interview people who work at your company about why they love working there, and put videos on your recruiting page. Candidates want to hear personal stories from real people at many levels. This may also help you figure out what elements of your company culture have attracted the most people in the past, so you can focus on those.
6. Use social media
Candidates today routinely check a company’s social media to evaluate the company’s brand and culture. Even if you don’t have a lot of followers yet, make sure that the content you’re posting is engaging and conveys the image you want.
7. Know what’s on the internet
Check your Glassdoor reviews to see what employees are saying about your company, and encourage employees to post reviews on Glassdoor. If you’ve gotten a bad review, know what it is so you can address it if a candidate asks and fix the problem within the company. Check any other references to your company online, including news stories.
8. Promote additional perks
It’s not just about good salaries, good titles and good retirement plans anymore. Candidates are increasingly considering “perks” when they’re looking for their next opportunity. What current perks do you offer, and can you implement any others? Is your office an enjoyable place to be? Make sure you don’t just offer perks – it’s also important to promote them. Some ideas: Company happy hours. Gym and wellness reimbursement. Daycare on site or childcare reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement. Performance bonuses. Professional development opportunities. Free snacks. Employee discounts. Paid parental leave. Work-from-home Fridays. Team outings. Also consider offering unlimited Paid Time Off; it’s intimidating to consider this, but your best sales talent won’t take it for granted, and your mediocre ones will be weeded out regardless.
9. Sell your location
Is your office close to public transportation? Are you in a trendy area, with lots of shops and restaurants? Are you close to childcare, schools and parks for people with kids? Make sure you let candidates who aren’t familiar with the area know what’s around you. It could very well be your location that wins them over.
10. Support your community
People want to work for companies who care about more than profit; over three-quarters of workers today want their employers to make a difference in their community. Pick charities to support; offer college scholarships to community high schoolers; have company-wide cleanup days in parks; sponsor recreational sports teams. These don’t cost a lot, but they’ll improve your image in the community and engage new sales talent.
By considering these factors, you’ll be well on your way to attracting the best sales leaders to your team.
Note: Make sure you have established your ideal criteria for a sales candidate after reading our article on Creating a Candidate Persona for Sales Recruiting.