Knowledge Center


The most valuable asset you have for your business is your staff. Here are CPSA’s Top 20 quick tips when it comes to recruiting and selecting the ideal candidates that will bring you the most success.

1. Don’t make costly hiring mistakes. Create benchmarks of the characteristics of your top performers, and then use those benchmarks to evaluate potential candidates to ensure they have what it takes to be successful in your company. Learn more about CPSA’s assessment products.

2. Don’t limit your recruitment of sales professionals to only those with experience selling within your industry. Instead, also look for candidates who may not have the industry experience but do have qualities that will allow them to learn quickly and identify the important selling points of your product that will make your customers buy.

3. Lasting, high-quality employer-employee relationships are built on trust and transparency. Be completely open with your candidates right from the interview about what they can expect and what you expect from them.

4. Consider letting final job candidates spend time on the floor with the other sales reps before you make a formal offer. This gives them a chance to see what the team and environment are like, and your sales reps can also give you their first impressions of the candidate.

5. Hone your listening skills, especially in an interview. Consider asking the candidate what they want out of this job and then lead a candid discussion on whether the current position would fulfill their goals. It benefits both yourself and the candidate to know up front if the position would suit their developmental goals.

6. Make sure that the person who will eventually supervise the new hire is in the one who conducts the interview. That way, the supervisor can interact with the candidate and evaluate not only the professional qualifications they are looking for, but also other qualities such as personality, soft skills, etc. Also, the candidate will be able to ask any questions they may have directly to the person they would be working with.

7. Consider helping the next generation of sales professionals. Become a mentor to a student studying sales and spread the concept of sales as a respected career of choice. Mentoring sales students will also give your company a targeted pool of bright individuals from which to select candidates for your next available sales position.

8. When putting together the requirements for a new hire, creating your ideal “wish list” in terms of skills, experience, and education is important. But the process doesn’t stop there. Identify the main qualities on your list that are essential, and be prepared to be a bit more flexible with the rest. Being realistic and flexible about your requirements will keep you open to a better range of candidates who may not fit the wish list perfectly, but have other qualities that will enable them to grow into the role well.

9. Calling references can be frustrating if you find that the responses are vague and unenlightening. Prepare questions that encourage the reference to actively recall their interactions with the applicant. For instance, ask them to compare the applicant’s behaviour in a particular situation to the rest of the team. How did they measure up? Engaging the reference in this manner will lead to more insight into what the applicant was really like at their last position.

10. Ensure that you know the specific competencies that are required for a particular position and the specific qualities that are valued across the organization before commencing the hiring process. Knowing this beforehand will allow you to evaluate your candidates more effectively.

11. Having a competitive compensation plan will attract better candidates. Begin by evaluating compensation data for other companies in the same industry and position. Mercer offers detailed and accurate salary data for over 130 sales positions in Canada that can help you determine if your compensation plan is fair and competitive.

12. Doing a quick pre-screening phone call to potential candidates prior to an interview can save both yourself and the applicant time and disappointment. Ask simple questions about salary and location expectations. You can quickly clarify some questions you had about their application or resume. You can also get a sense for the person’s attitude and suitability with the company’s culture.

13. Looking to advertise beyond a job posting? SalesJobsCanada.com now offers branding tools such as Featured Employer Logos, Banner ads and Brand Design Templates that allow you to maximize reach and find that perfect candidate.

14. The starting point for any recruitment effort is a well-written job posting. Here are 10 easy tips to keep in mind that will attract more candidates to apply for your position.

15. After giving a candidate a general overview of the company and role, it is a good idea to just check-in with the candidate ask them if this is the kind of role they could see themselves in. Asking this question early in the interview will help reduce misunderstandings about expectations and suitability.

16. Technology makes it easier to keep your applicants in the loop about the hiring progress and to reassure them that your company is worth working for. For example, make use of the auto-responder built into your applicant/resume management system or even just your email client, to let applicants know that you’ve received their application and to emphasize the strengths of your brand and work environment.

17. Be sure to pay attention to non-verbal cues in an interview as well as to the applicant’s responses. Gauge their professionalism, confidence, sincerity, and many more attributes by observing what they don’t say.

18. Diversify your hiring strategy; meet and assess the upcoming talent face to face at university and community career fairs.

19. An employer-employee relationship starts with recruitment, so be sure to put an adequate amount of effort and resources into the hiring process.

20. Use appropriate industry compensation resources to determine the relevant market value of the position.


About the Canadian Professional Sales Association

Since 1874, we’ve been developing and serving sales professionals by providing programs, benefits, and resources that help you sell more, and sell smarter.

Contact us today at CustomerService@cpsa.com or 1-888-267-2772 to see how we can help you and your team reach new heights in sales success.

Copyright ©2012 by The Canadian Professional Sales Association
For permissions, contact
editor@cpsa.com.

Click here to view this article in French.


Recommended Reading:
- 15 Mistakes Sales Managers Make When Hiring New Sales Reps
- Top 10 Sales Interview Questions (and Expected Responses)
- Sales Coaching Tips To Stop Multi-tasking And Increase Sales
- Work-Life Balance for Executives

View more sales articles from CPSA’s Knowledge Centre.



Latest Articles
Most Read
NEW FROM THE CPSA: Sales Compensation Reports for Sales Pros & Sales Management
Key Findings from the CPSA Compensation Reports
CPSA DigiTalks Webinar Recording: Mastering the Art of the Sales Email
CPSA DigiTalks Webinar Recording: 5 Ways to Kick-Start your Sales Career