How to Attract More Entry-level Sales Hires

by Staffer Team

Everyone wants to help the latest crop of eager new college graduates, but the reality is, many companies run into common challenges: A lack of qualified applicants, high turnover after candidates are hired, and generational issues between the new hires and experienced staff.

From the candidates’ perspectives, many don’t know where their skills and education fit in the workforce. Furthermore, statistics show that employers of fewer than 500 employees create more than 75 percent of new jobs.

These small and medium companies offer great opportunities, but typically don’t interview on campus and many career services departments have not been effective at connecting students to this market. As a result, most college students know very little about these types of employers and the industries they represent.

So how do you find and hire the right entry-level employees? Here’s a recruiting strategy that works:

  1. Recruit candidates to your company, not a position
  • Describe your business model, value proposition, market focus, as well as your core purpose, mission, values
  • Describe the types of entry-level positions you fill and the skills and attributes your company seeks
  • Encourage all candidates to apply who are interested in your business and who possess the transferrable skills and attributes you desire
  • State that your interview process will match candidates to the right position

2. Create job descriptions and roles based on transferrable skills

  • Identify the transferrable skills that are critical to each position and the long-term success in your company
  • These are skills like critical thinking, time management, problem solving, leadership, etc
  • This will ensure organization-person fit which will increase job satisfaction and performance

3. Develop interview questions that help to identify these transferrable skills

  • Use behavioral-based interviewing techniques
  • Well-crafted, open-ended questions should be used to probe each skill area
  • Candidates are encouraged to respond to these questions using real life examples from their past life experiences (college, jobs, extra-curricular activities, etc.) to demonstrate each skill
  • Since candidates are not interviewing for a specific position, interviewers find that the discussion is incredibly open-ended and productive

4. Evaluate interview results

  • Each candidate should be graded in each skill area

5. Match the candidate to the right position

  • Identify the best candidate for each position you have open
  • Make offers and get the position filled. Respond to the candidates not selected with positive feedback, such as their high-skill areas

6. Focus on the candidate's first six months

  • Because turnover can be high at the entry level, be sure that you have a smooth on-boarding and training process
  • Identifying both an older mentor and peer in the same age bracket can help the new grad feel at home
  • Check in with the candidate frequently and do a performance and salary review at six months.

Entry-level recruitment and hiring doesn’t need to be a source of stress or confusion for business owners. In fact, inaction and the continued reliance on an inefficient approach may be more costly in the long run.