Looking for A-Players? It Takes One to Know One


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Your salespeople bring in the revenue. But who’s bringing in your salespeople?

You need an A-player recruiter who won’t settle for hit-or-miss hiring. This pro knows the deep talent pools and creates stable sales staff growth. We’ll compare A-player recruiters and B-player recruiters. We won’t pull any punches.

Operation Fire Drill: the B-Player Recruiter

The B-player recruiter operates reactively, working on immediate needs, not thinking about the future.

This is an improvised approach. There’s no system in place, no plan to help the hiring manager source talent. Every assignment starts from square one.

This recruiter is happy to let workers suggest candidates for openings. That might be the extent of employee engagement. Business relationships? Don’t expect them. Posts on job boards? Sure. And response screening will be inefficient. It may leave a bad taste in applicants’ mouths.

Eventually there will be a hire, ending this assignment. Next time it will be the same. The B-player recruiter focuses on putting out fires.

Calm and in Control: the A-Player Recruiter

The A-player recruiter focuses on preventing fires. This professional takes the long view to shorten the time to fill an opening.

This recruiter is all about relationships. An early step will be connecting on Linkedin with as many employees as possible. Remember, they have contacts, too. 

There’s a wealth of information to be mined here.

Reaching Out — Everywhere

Linkedin is great, but there are also other avenues. Top recruiters work the phones. Maybe another employer has a suggestion. A vender might know someone. Business partners, suppliers, customers – everyone who knows anyone is a potential source. Great recruiters reach out to all of them. Communication lines never close.

It’s not enough, though, to stay in contact. You have to have something to say. This is where the real performers make candidates want to come aboard. A personal touch separates the best from the rest. This professional interviews the successful applicants – but also the unsuccessful ones. There are insights to be gained. What worked in the hiring process? What didn’t?

Building Trust

This makes your company look good and builds candidates’ trust in your recruiter.

The first-rank recruiter creates reciprocity by suggesting candidates to others who are hiring. The second-tier recruiter doesn’t develop these business community relationships – or uses them badly.

Welcoming Qualified Candidates, Weeding out the Others

You need a sales rep. There are requirements – years in the field, specifics of experience. Some people will fit. Some won’t, but will apply anyway. The top recruiter funnels in real candidates and guides the unqualified to the exit.

Using the Website as a Workhorse

Online respondents may decide they meet the job’s criteria. The A-player sends them to the company’s website to apply. It’s a single way in, more targeted and more efficient. It prevents a deluge of resumes from arriving unchecked from various job boards. It offers a controlled way to see if an applicant makes the cut. 

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

The website should have a knockout careers page. Attractive, exciting, with great content, it tells a story and sells the company.

While the website sells the company, great recruiters’ job descriptions sell the jobs. Most descriptions name the position, compensation package and bullet-list duties. That’s the B-player recruiter’s way. And it doesn’t speak to a persona. Think merchandising. Why would a great rep want to work for the company? Make the answer obvious. 

The Virtual Bench

Who’s ready to get into the game when an opening appears? That ought to be clear. Your recruiter has trained your hiring managers to identify the next reps to hire. This is the “virtual bench.” These reps have already completed their applications, background checks. They’re ready to step in and perform.

Give your Virtual Bench a quick checkup with our Virtual Bench Toolkit.  Use the toolkit to source potential ‘A’ player sales talent.  We also added a section that shows how to use network referrals to reduce the risk of hiring new reps.  

Download the toolkit here

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Longevity Matters

Companies benefit when their employees stay. And they gain from the far-sighted approach of a top talent scout. That’s the one who puts great reps in place and follows their progress. That’s the one who’s in it for keeps. The A-Player recruiter may be your most valuable resource.

Shortcuts are not a route to long-term success. Process, deep relationships, awareness of talented performers in the field– those are key. Getting the right reps takes homework and legwork. Not everyone can or will do it. Hire that recruiter and the rest of your hires should be rock solid

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Loftness
Steve has worked for more than 20 years in process design and implementation, as a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. While at Sales Benchmark Index, he has helped many B-to-B organizations eliminate non-value add selling activities resulting in productivity improvements of 20+%.


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