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More employers than ever are struggling to find top talent for their open roles, according to ManpowerGroup’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey. In fact, 45 percent of global respondents say they can’t find talent with the skills they need, up from 40 percent in 2017 — the highest in more than a decade.

Unfortunately, in the United States, that number is even greater at 46 percent. And recruiters in the U.S. hoping to fill medical sales roles, specifically, are at one of the largest disadvantages, according to ManpowerGroup’s report. Respondents ranked sales representatives as the third most difficult role to fill, with those in the healthcare field just below at fourth.

A major factor impacting the difficulty of hiring talented medical sales reps is the increasingly low unemployment rate. As recruiters look to bring top talent onto their team, it seems most successful reps are already employed. However, if recruiters step back from their medical sales magnifying glass and look around at their surroundings, they’ll see plenty of talented candidates are ready and waiting.

Here’s where you need to start looking for top medical sales talent:

1. Another sales industry

The world of medical sales holds a host of unique experiences. Many sales reps in this field spend the majority of their time in the OR and in other potentially uncomfortable medical settings. Additionally, the fast-advancing world of healthcare means medical sales reps are constantly educating clients on products. This is often not based on educational materials regarding new products, but rather updating doctors on new research, product enhancements, and proper administration techniques.

It’s true, it takes a special person with the right skills, knowledge, and attitude to be successful in medical sales. But stop for a moment and take ‘medical’ out of the equation. What are you left with? Sales reps that have strong communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.

This type of talent can be found in various sales fields, not just medical. Open up your qualifications and consider removing ‘medical’ from a few of your job descriptions. Then, base your final hiring decisions on who has the greatest potential to quickly learn the medical sales specifics.

2. Other departments in your company

Dedicated, passionate sales reps are often the most successful. Whether it’s a strong passion for your product or an undying dedication for meeting customers’ expectations, your top-of-the-sales-board reps believe in their company.

If you’re lucky, love for your mission, product, and company, as a whole, can be found in every department. Even though employees in marketing, research and development, or other departments don’t have sales experience, they do have insider information that even the best medical sales candidates don’t.

Before swiping talent from your colleagues, sit down with department heads and discuss your need for sales pros. Explain how the talent shortage is negatively impacting the company’s bottom line. Then, ask them to keep an eye on their team for any diamonds in the rough who would be personable and effective at interacting with customers.

3. Internship Fairs

Young talent is equivalent to inexperienced talent, in most cases. However, to sweep up your next potential sales rockstar before competitors, it’s time to back off of former expectations. Let your idea of a stereotypical medical sales rep go — then simply start talking.

Give every student an opportunity to discuss their career goals with you. Even if they’re not majoring in marketing, sales, business, or medical science. Maybe a shy, seemingly introverted student stops to chat. Don’t immediately dismiss them as someone who wouldn’t connect with customers. Listen intently to their passions and what drives them to succeed at school.

By ditching your expectations at the door, you may be surprised at the type of talent you find — the kind you didn’t even know would impress you.

4. On the road

Let’s go back for a moment to the top three sales skills — communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. When you let your guard down and start looking for talent in unexpected places, you’ll see these skills scattered all around you.

Consider the server at your favorite client meeting place. How well do they interact with your customers’ specific personalities? When they run into an issue, how calm are they and do they quickly find a resolution? Are they always willing to lend a helping hand to other staff members at the restaurant?

You can find the answers to these questions in any location. Whether you’re at the airport, in doctors’ offices or hospitals, or even at your kid’s school play — talented, easily-malleable, and teachable sales reps are hiding in the most visible places.

Where’s the most unexpected place you’ve ever found a top sales rep? We want to know!

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