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Finding New Sales Talent in Unlikely Places

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Many companies grow frustrated looking for talent. Sometimes, stepping into a new market helps dig up fresh talent.

Quicken Loans once sent talent agents to stores and diners to seek out passionate and friendly faces. As one spokesperson said, “We can teach finance, we can’t teach passion.”

Finding the right kind of talent is about looking for that extra potential in candidates. Someone who has been in a particular industry for several years may not have the Drive needed to succeed anymore. Some people never have that kind of motivation.

Taking the time to research creative ways to find and assess potential hires is just one of the ways companies can find new sales talent.

Where to Find New Sales Talent


Many job seekers today believe they can successfully demonstrate their worth through an online forum.

Experienced job recruiters will recognize that individuals who rely solely on the Internet are the least likely to exhibit traits necessary for a successful career in sales.

Recruiters should look for talent in places that exude enthusiasm. For instance, Starbucks is a great place to find talent. Some individuals are in the business because they love coffee. Others are using the platform as a stepping stone to another career.

Coffee shops are very busy throughout the day, and individuals who work there have to be adept at maintaining a pleasant demeanor, getting orders correct and memorizing drink combinations and ratios. Individuals who seem frazzled or lose track of an order may not survive in the coffee shop environment, much less as part of a sales team.

Other places to find talent that you may not ordinarily search include volunteer organizations and nonprofits. People who volunteer on a regular basis are likely to be natural achievers who are willing to go beyond the call of duty.

If you are looking for a certain set of “soft skills” for your company, make a short list of attributes that would fit the role well, and carry it with you.

Interact with people everywhere you go. You never know who might fall into that description perfectly or where you will be when you identify the perfect candidate.

Assessing Sales Talent

Seasoned hiring managers may be able to find talent by meeting with an individual and sensing a gut feeling about that person’s aptitudes and potential. But it is important not to rely solely on that gut instinct.

Companies need to use a combination of tools to determine the qualification of a sales candidate. Consider these when evaluating applicants:

  • An online sales assessment test. Research has shown that sales candidates need to exhibit three core personality traits to be great salespeople. They need these characteristics, Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism — collectively known as Drive — to really succeed in the sales industry. An online sales assessment test can successfully measure the likelihood of an individual possessing these three traits. Those who score high are often the top producers on a sales team and require little oversight.
  • Strategic behavioral interview questions. Conversational questions are great for determining personality fit with a company, but if you are looking for a true high achiever, asking direct behavioral questions about a candidate’s personality may shed light on his or her potential. Ask about a time when a candidate thought out of the box to create a solution, regardless of whether it was implemented. Alternatively, you may choose to present the sales candidate with a problem, give him a moment to brainstorm, and then record his potential solutions to the problem. Those who are naturally more creative will stand out in this process.

Cases in Point

Many corporations have thought outside the box when trying to find individuals who are the most likely to be great candidates for a position.

Depending on a company’s industry, there may be a different and unique way to find great talent that is completely unconventional and extremely rewarding in terms of their return on investment (ROI).

  • AT&T scans technology oriented forums for postings that showcase a unique skill set and/or personality that will fit their team well. They can identify conversations in a post that align with a job description and reach out to a potential candidate based on that information.
  • UPS requires a high volume of candidates throughout the year, which means they need to be actively engaged in the recruiting process at all times. They are currently leveraging social media with videos and other content directed at women and other demographics that may not have considered a career with the company. UPS focuses on a high value proposition to encourage applicants.
  • Leading technology companies like Google attract great talent to them by offering job perks like allowing employees to work on projects that are meaningful to them during the course of the work week. This way, they are encouraging top talent to seek out employment within their company.
  • Companies looking to grow quickly, like software technology company Red Hat, incorporate programs into their recruiting processes that allow employees to refer candidates for hire and receive bonuses and other incentives for bringing new talent to the table. Naturally, most employees will refer candidates that they think might actually be a good fit, since they are attaching their good name to the referral.

By offering value and looking in unique places, companies are finding more ways to engage with a hiring base who will be the perfect fit for their company culture.

Some techniques are passive and some are more active, but all feature personalized approaches that work for each individual company and offer a way of screening these candidates to find the best talent for employment in their industry.

Starting the Screening Process


If you are interested in finding talented sales candidates who are passionate, creative and driven, you will want to start applying non-traditional strategies into your recruiting process.

Incorporate social media through forums where you know candidates are active. Keep an eye out in unlikely places like the hair salon, gym or even the airport for traits you believe would be useful in your market. Do not be afraid to start up a conversation related to jobs and sell your brand.

When you think that you have found candidates that can “talk the talk,” you must then find out if they can “walk the walk,” so-to-speak. While there are a number of traits you can spot just by conversing with a potential hire, it can be nearly impossible to assess innate characteristics, such as Drive, on your own.

To improve your chances of identifying candidates who possess the skills necessary for the long-term success in your company, implement a professionally developed online sales assessment test into your hiring process.

Sales assessments will help you to discover the highest potential salespeople in your pool of candidates, optimizing your interview process and increasing your chances of ultimately making the right hiring decision.

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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Sales Hiring Simplified!

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