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How to Navigate the “Yes. Wait No.” Trend That’s Impacting Sales Recruiting

In the super-hot job market, the challenges of sales recruitment have risen to an all-time high. Recruiters aren’t only having to compete for the top talent, but they also have to navigate complications when candidates back out prior to onboarding. When the candidate they recommend doesn’t pan out, it reflects poorly on their ability to find the best fit for the role.

Not too long ago, it would have been unheard of for a candidate to turn down a job after accepting an offer. But it’s becoming a more common occurrence. According to a 2018 Career Builder survey, over half of job seekers continue to research opportunities after they’ve received a job offer, and 67% of employers see a quarter of their new hires simply not show up for the first day of work.

It’s time to uplevel your recruitment tactics. When you’re faced with a no-show or an acceptance retraction from a highly-qualified candidate, there are steps you need to take to ensure you can put your best foot forward.

Counter-offer immediately

Don’t take rejection lying down. Chances are, your candidate is weighing options and went with the offer that was more favorable for them. If they’re really the best fit for the team, show them how you can sweeten the deal through purposeful and direct negotiation.

There are perks that reps want, and you might be able to match — or even exceed — the competing offer. Sit down with your top-choice candidate and find out what matters most to them.

While you can’t adjust your location or the product your candidate will represent, you do have power over other perks that hold weight. For example, ever since 2013, our research has confirmed how impactful benefits like mileage reimbursement and company cars are when it comes to sales recruitment. Have a serious conversation and see if you can turn their decision.

Move to silver medalist candidates quickly

If your negotiation is unsuccessful, don’t default back to the beginning of the recruitment cycle. You already have an idea of the next best candidate and with any luck, you’ll find they’re willing to talk about your better-late-than-never offer.

But you have to move quickly. In a highly-competitive field like medical sales, top-quality candidates don’t sit back and twiddle their thumbs if they’re not contacted after an interview. You can bet on the fact that they’re exploring other options and may already have another offer on the table, so reach out as soon as you have a firm “no” from your number one.

Turn to internal talent potential

We’ve already found that sales professionals are interested in growth and development opportunities. If an external candidate doesn’t work out, consider the team you already have on board. Instead of spending more of your hiring budget, think about the talent you have that is already primed for growth.

Open the role to your current staff and focus on the individuals who are a great cultural fit for your organization. Examine drive, interest level, and work habits, and seek out performance evaluations from their current managers. Capitalize on the fact that there are already people on board who know the ins and outs of your company and products, and identify the ones who are focused on building their careers in your organization.

Determine the role’s true significance

If you’re really struggling to find a solid fit for a role, it may be a sign that you need to take a step back from your sales recruitment strategy and examine whether or not you’re seeking necessary hires. Are you jumping on a gap that could be filled with a bit of restructuring? Or are there responsibilities in the posted job description that could easily be divided, delegated, and managed by your existing staff?

Companies can’t always see the forest for the trees when they identify a missing link to their workflow. Sometimes the “more people” mindset ends up not only being a poor use of talent acquisition dollars, but also an unnecessary hit to the overall company budget. 

You might be surprised how many individuals jump on added responsibility for a bump in pay, and how many more are really looking to advance their position in your organization. The boost in morale will improve retention, ensuring you won’t be having to fill even more empty roles down the road.