There is a wide range of variables that contribute to successful sales recruiting. Creating a compelling job ad, efficiently filtering through candidates, and optimizing interviewing, for example, are three areas where recruiters place a lot of focus. But one aspect that doesn’t necessarily get as much attention but needs to is acting quickly when you find a strong candidate.
For this post, I’ll explain why speed is so important in our current sales recruiting climate and provide you with simple tips for streamlining the process without compromising your decision-making.
Although the data varies slightly from study to study, research indicates the time to hire for most sales positions is between 20 – 30 days, with an average of around 24 days.
So, there’s a period of about 3 ½ weeks between the initial screening of candidates and them accepting a position. And that’s fine for average salespeople who aren’t in high demand. Because they typically have limited offers, odds are most will still be available if you wait 24 days. However, this won’t usually cut it for elite salespeople, which brings me to my next point.
Research has found the most talented salespeople get snatched up much quicker in just 10 days. “High-quality candidates with loads of experience, robust soft skills, and a network of contacts have an average job search time of only 10 days,” explains SmallBizGenius. And this makes perfect sense.
Individuals at the top of their industry will naturally have more options and be in much higher demand than their run-of-the-mill counterparts. Because of this increased demand, they don’t stay in job search mode for long. “HR managers should take this into consideration when they spot a promising candidate, SmallBizGenius adds. “If they want that candidate to join the company, they need to act quickly.”
So, if you wait around, triple-check a candidate’s credentials, agonize over their experience, perform several more interviews, and so on, with an extended period of time elapsing, you can’t expect the candidate to still be available. In fact, there’s a good chance they’ll already receive an offer from a competitor.
While every situation is different, 10 days is the quantifiable timeframe you usually have to work with before making your final decision and giving a highly-qualified candidate a formal job offer. If you wait too long, there’s no guarantee an A+ candidate will still be around. That’s why it’s so important to A) recognize when you’ve got top talent on your hands and B) make your offer as quickly as possible.
Here are some strategic tips for doing this to ensure you secure the right salesperson who has the potential to be a strong asset to your company.
Let’s say you’ve found a home run candidate who you’re almost sure would be an amazing addition to your sales team and has the “it factor.” But you hold off on pulling the trigger right away simply because you’re wondering if there’s someone out there who’s even better. After several more engagements with other candidates to satisfy your curiosity, you realize that the rock star candidate is in fact your best option. However, once you circle back and give them the offer, they’ve already been taken by someone else.
Overthinking it like this is one of the most common mistakes sales recruiters make and one that often costs them. I’m not saying you should be overly hasty and not consider anyone else for the position. But if it’s clear that you’ve got a big fish on the line, nine times out of 10, they’re the candidate you should choose. So keep this in mind and be willing to commit when the time is right.
In a previous post, I explained why selling skills are often more important than industry/product experience. And that’s a topic that’s super applicable here. Many recruiters get caught up in only hiring sales candidates with direct industry or product experience, and they end up missing out on great talent as a result.
While having this type of experience certainly helps, at the end of the day, what’s most important is being able to sell well. If a candidate can do this, they can always learn your industry and product. My point here is that high-level sales skills are transferable. So if you find a candidate that checks all the right boxes but doesn’t have the exact industry/product experience you’re looking for, it’s by no means a dealbreaker.
Finally, you can often prevent heavy hitters from slipping through your fingers by having a firm deadline in place when making a hiring decision. While this probably won’t apply to all candidates across the board — especially the mediocre ones — I suggest having a maximum of a 10-day deadline to make a final decision with rock star candidates. However, even less is better, and if you trim it down to 5 days or fewer, that would be ideal.
Let’s recap. The average time to hire is 24 days. But elite salespeople get hired in just 10 days. This two-week gap can create issues if have a top candidate on your hands but fail to act quickly enough. That’s why it’s essential to pull the trigger when you find top talent and wait no longer than 10 days to give them a formal job offer.
Want to cut your hiring time in half and find pre-screened, qualified, interview-ready candidates? See how HireDNA can help.
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