There are 5 types of sales recruiters:
1. HR Bureaucrat . HR flacks will write job descriptions using phrases only a lawyer can appreciate and understand. They will devise countless hoops for applicants to jump through. They will schedule lots of interviews and then conduct meetings for groups to discuss and debate the various qualities of candidate A versus B. This process is guaranteed to weed out the losers but will also weed out many of the winners. Why rush, they are on salaries and can easily cover their asses about not finding the “right” candidate.
HR staffers are like fish out of water understanding sales. Indeed they are the bottom tier of the business world – if they had any real business abilities they certainly would not be wasting away in HR where they are properly looked upon as overhead, given little respect, and paid what they are worth, which is not much. They are clueless and will screen out top closers in favor of an applicant with a resume that has a more pleasing typeface or worked at a mane brand company. A chimpanzee can randomly throw bananas at a pile of resumes and do no worse.
Top reps are often quirky, which is a nice way to say crazy. Great companies were started by crazy entrepreneurs, more often than not former sales guys. Then the bureaucracy takes over and prevents any such individual, like the mutants they are, from breeching the gates ever again.
The only way to pick a top gun is to get somebody that can recognize a top gun, namely another top gun.
2. Recruiting Agencies. These companies for the most part are former HR staffers. Most will not recruit sales reps. The high turnover rate means problems after the big fees are paid, or if it’s required that the rep stay a year, they may not get paid at all. If they do take on sales assignments, it will be the technical engineering positions or other routine sales jobs. If you want to do a commission-only or independent contractor team you are on your own. Recruiting agencies won’t touch this.
3. Managers. Just as sales reps can make bad managers, managers can be terrible trainers and awful recruiters. They may have been good reps that got promoted. The skill sets are all different – one does not equate to the other. Since they have no deep grasp of sales beyond “make lots of calls and close hard” they have no corresponding insight into what makes a great rep. At best they guess and get random results. This is a primary cause of the 80/20 rule on most teams. The manager does not have what it takes to beat the odds.
Then there’s the matter of time. How can a manager be expected to invest the time needed to do effective recruiting if he has an entire team to care for? If he is expected to sell and hit a quotas, then the time available to recruit quickly reduces to nothing. This is where the task may pawned off on some hapless “senior” sales rep. Recruiting, or team building, is the primary function of a manager. It’s also the area of most managers least competence.
4. Consultants. As mentioned before, you often get lots of smoke and no fire. You will want performance guarantees and they won’t want to give them.
5. Outsource. You can outsource the entire sales team or just the recruiting function. A great outsource company will know sales intimately and be able to create and implement a strategy that results in your sales going to levels you never thought possible. The trick is to select the right company to partner with, and to know how to tell a “closer” from a “poser.”