If you have medical sales opening to fill, you should know the most effective talent acquisition strategies. Maybe at one time, the process was as simple as placing an ad and sorting through a handful of candidates. However, today, the best salespeople have options, and hiring managers must employ different strategies to find the best ones.
For our discussion, we’ve assumed that your role is to hire and manage sales representatives. And even if you’re tasked with recruiting alone, there are things you can do to make the process easier. Let’s start by understanding who it is you’re looking for.
Understand the Mindset of a Top Performer
While top-performing salespeople can come from any background, what they have in common is the love of achieving goals. Sure, they’re usually well-compensated, and money is a big part of their motivation, but not all of it. As a result, they enjoy a challenge. At the same time, from experience, they know not all sales roles are created equal and will therefore want to understand how you measure performance.
Widen Your Idea of Workplace Diversity
Your next sales star could come from anywhere. If hiring were as simple as choosing only Ivy League graduates or ex-Marines, every company would be doing it. However, as we know, physicians, who are usually key decision-makers for most medical products, come from all walks of life. Why shouldn’t the reps who call on them be just as diverse?
The same goes for the diversity of interests or personalities. Case in point, you may find your hardest-working representative is a former marching band saxophonist instead of a star quarterback. Speaking of sports analogies, also consider that your strongest candidate may be the oldest one (perhaps even older than you). After all, if professional athletes can perform after decades (e.g., Tom Brady or LeBron James), why can’t a salesperson?
Demonstrate That You Value Time (Yours and Theirs)
Within your company’s HR policies, try to streamline your interview process as much as possible. Remember that high-performing salespeople generate results by using their time wisely. Therefore, given a choice, the less time they need to spend interviewing for your position, the better.
And while often, the complexity of your company’s interview process can’t be avoided, also consider that by the time you’ve set up their fourth interview, they may have accepted a position with your competitor. Ultimately, your goal should be to get more accomplished within each interview, and this may mean asking questions that are directly pertinent to the role instead of those designed for shock value.
Avoid Scare Tactics and ‘Gotcha’ Questions
Talent acquisition has never been more challenging, and there will always be candidates that are tremendous at interviewing and little else. At the same time, consider that a high-performing sales rep probably doesn’t believe they need your position – at least not at first. So, if you attempt to confuse or scare them with high-pressure situations or questions, you may annoy them and cause them to say, ‘no thanks.’
Hiring will always involve risk. No matter the candidate, there will always be a chance that things won’t work out. As a leader, you have to accept that risk and be willing to, at some point, trust a candidate. Otherwise, what you think might be a motivating interview challenge will inspire them to stay at their current job where they’re already shattering goals.
Share your business goals
Whether in your job listing or during interviews, don’t be afraid to share the position’s performance metrics and how it aligns with your sales and company goals. Then, rather than being scared, a good candidate will be curious. In their mind, they’ll be relating how selling your product relates to what they’ve sold in the past and whether your goal is more or less aggressive than the ones they’ve achieved. If a candidate asks for specifics, consider it a sign of interest.
Interview for Qualities and Character First
Although it may sound obvious, the key to talent acquisition is remembering to first look for talent. That means you’re searching for the potential for greatness. Of course, salespeople will be proud of their accomplishments. And they’ll boldly state them in their resumes. First, you want to sort out collaborators from the lone wolves with questions about working with team members in positive and negative situations.
Instead of asking cliche questions about weaknesses, ask them to tell you about times when they failed and what they learned. And inquire about times when they’ve encountered unethical situations and what they did in response. Finally, ask them if they were mentoring another rep and how they would advise them in those situations.
Broaden your outreach strategies
No matter how many candidates are on the market, the competition for high-performers is always fierce. Some managers pride themselves on their extensive network and others on their interviewing skills. Either way, it pays to employ more than one method of outreach.
For example, job listings on paid sites like MedReps can deliver you serious candidates who’ve paid for the opportunity to apply to jobs like yours. And whether it’s previous team members or strong reps you’ve interviewed in the past, your network is always a vital resource. Also, don’t hesitate to get creative, like reaching out directly to reps via LinkedIn or finding candidate names from lunch calendars in physicians’ offices.
Collaborate with Universities
If the position you’re filling is entry-level and recent college graduates are an option for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to the career placement offices at local universities. Typically, they are one of the more underutilized resources on a college campus. Therefore, the students they work with are motivated to excel.
Try paying particular attention to career counselors who’ve worked with the university for an extended period, because they often know the degree programs and even specific students who are actively looking to work in sales or have the skillset for it.
Your Best Talent Acquisition Strategy?
So, given all we’ve discussed, which is the best talent acquisition strategy? All of them.
There’s no one simple answer to hiring your next president’s club winner. As mentioned, strong salespeople have options, and they can come from anywhere and be anyone. However, with patience, a thoughtful approach to interviewing, and some creative outreach, you can set yourself up with the best odds to land the right candidate.