Sales Recruitment Agencies — The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

A good company knows its limitations, and if your company recruitment process hasn’t been paying off, it might be time to seek the service of an effective sales recruitment agency. A good recruitment agency can be a company’s secret hiring superpower, while an ineffective sales recruiter is a waste of a company’s valuable time and money. Therefore, it is as important to screen a sales recruiter as thoroughly as any job candidate. So how can you separate the good sales recruitment agencies from the bad and the downright ugly?

The Good:

A good sales recruiter is proactive about finding your company a successful candidate. This means they are knowledgeable and well-networked. They should have access to an extensive database of qualified candidates and an effective methodology for assessing candidates’ soft skills, and professional background and relevancy. They should be able to work on a reasonably fast timeline: capable of presenting clients with candidates within (an average of) a week. The benefits of working with a sales recruiter of this kind not only include finding a qualified candidate fast but finding talent that will thrive in your organization in the long-term.

A good agency should have experience working with clients in a variety of sales industries and finding candidates for a variety of positions—from junior sales roles to management and top-level executives. A quality recruitment agency should have a track record of successful placements and be able to provide references. It is, of course, a great sign if their list of satisfied clients includes industry leading companies.

An agency’s remuneration model can also tell you a lot about their competency: a good agency should be transparent about their fees and should be willing to charge you only for the candidates you actually hire.

A good sales talent agency should meet most of these criteria, a truly great one will be able to meet each one.

The Bad:

These are proactive recruiters who can reach top candidates but fail to attract them to your company, likely because their tactics for getting a candidate’s attention and their ability to convince a candidate on your brand are subpar. This could mean that the recruitment process may go on for far longer than is ideal. In the end, they may very well send an experienced salesperson your way, but there’s little guarantee of it resulting in a long-term commitment because they haven’t done their due diligence to ensure an ideal fit between a candidate and your organization. Thus, cannot safeguard your company against high turnover. Because their services take longer than ideal, they will likely be hesitant to provide a definitive timeline or fee structure, leaving the door open for unpleasant surprises down the line.

The Ugly:

Beware the reactive recruiter! These are recruiters whose best method for finding candidates are online job postings and whose efforts to secure candidates is restricted to patiently waiting for applicants. A recruiter of this calibre is doing something your company could have done (maybe even better) on its own. If their strategy is to dive into the pool of candidates that reply to postings, they are likely to offer you whatever talent comes their way. This strategy is not only ineffective but costly and time-consuming, and reactive recruiters are quite likely to charge you for their time rather than asking to be remunerated for successful results. If you’ve fallen for this type of recruiter, cut your losses and move on.

Once you’ve found a good recruiter, make an effort to maintain your professional relationship. A good recruiter will be aware of the changing talent needs of your organization and know how to accommodate it best as it grows. Fostering a relationship with a good sales recruitment agency provides your company with a significant edge for securing top sales talent.

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