Finding good salespeople has never been easy. In fact, the ManpowerGroup Annual Talent Shortage Survey consistently reports sales and marketing positions as one of the top three hardest to fill. And in today’s tight labour market, it’s tougher than ever before. More and more companies are competing to hire good salespeople from a labour pool that is getting smaller and smaller. As such, sales recruiters need to look at other sources to fill their vacant sales positions. That’s why more hiring managers need to look at hiring recent college graduates for sales.
According to the research in the book ‘How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer – The Five Qualities That Make Sales People Great’ by Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney, 1 in 4 people have an aptitude for sales. So if you think you might be wasting your time hiring a college graduate because they don’t have any sales experience, you need to think again.
I recently chatted with Tyler Parker, the Founder of Hire Sales Talent, a recent college grad himself, about how it was like for him to start his sales career, and why companies should consider hiring recent college graduates for sales positions. Here’s what he had to say.
Are College Graduates Finding It Easy to Land Their First Sales Job?
As a recent college graduate, I understand the challenges and doubts that come with entering
the job market. When I graduated, I had an impressive and eclectic background, including many
different extracurricular activities, but no real sales experience to fall back on.
I served as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, played D2 college baseball, worked as a personal trainer, and graduated with Cum Laude honors with a degree in Cellular, Molecular, and
Developmental Biology with a minor in Chemistry. And started a nonprofit organization to benefit veterans in the midst of all that.
However, companies want experience, and I didn't have it.
Now, I am a Founder at hiresalestalent.com, a platform that makes it easier to break into your dream sales career. We have over 400 open sales jobs across many of the top companies across various industries.
The Benefits of Hiring Recent College Graduates for Sales Positions
It may be a contrarian view, but I believe that hiring recent college grads for sales positions is
one of the best things a company can do to boost culture and productivity.
College graduates are typically energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. This can be a
valuable asset in a sales position, where the ability to connect with and motivate others is key.
Recent graduates may also bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table, which can help
a company stay competitive in a rapidly changing market.
Recent grads are inexperienced. They likely won't be world-class at their job right out of the
gate, but that's ok. However, they will boost the office morale, and help foster positive
relationships throughout the organization.
With proper training and some time on the job, it may be surprising how fast young
professionals can level up and learn.
Excellent Customer Service
Many recent college grads may be lacking sales experience. However, odds are, some have
experience in transferrable jobs.
While college grads may not have experience selling, they likely have other skills that will help
them thrive in sales jobs. With proper training, focus, and helpful sales managers, young
professionals can thrive in a sales career.
Have They Had a Sales Job? Major Bonus!
Note: While not necessary for entry level sales jobs, if a college candidate has experience with
cold calls, hitting sales targets, and has excellent communication skills, they’re way ahead of the
Hiring recent college grads for sales jobs can be a cost-effective way for an organization to build
its sales team.
Recent grads may be willing to accept lower salaries in exchange for the opportunity to gain
experience and build their careers. This can help a company save money on labor costs while
still bringing new talent into the organization.
This is a low-risk, high-upside investment. Some may not work out, but some recent grads may
eventually turn out to be top performers.
You never know until you take a chance on someone.
Hiring recent college grads for sales positions can help a company to foster a positive and
inclusive company culture.
Recent graduates are likely to be more diverse in terms of age, gender, race, and background
than more experienced candidates. This can help a company to create a more diverse and
representative workforce, which can be beneficial in terms of attracting and retaining customers.
Outside of physical diversity, young professionals also bring diversity of thought and a fresh
perspective to the workplace.
Companies should take a chance on hiring recent college graduates for sales positions. While
they may not have as much experience as more established candidates, recent grads can bring
a unique set of skills and perspectives to the role. In addition, hiring recent graduates can be a
cost-effective way for a company to build its sales team and foster a positive company culture.
Interested in more sales career guidance? Check out Hire Sales Talent’s free blog, CareerGuide.
How to Recruit the Best Sales Professionals (Includes 11 Telephone Interview Questions to Find Top Performers)
B2B Sales Connections Advice on How to Get Started Hiring College Graduates for Sales
As you can see, there are several convincing arguments on why you should consider hiring recent college graduates for sales. So how do you get started?
My first job when I graduated from University was in sales. Several companies came to campus and held recruiting fairs for their open sales positions. They concentrated on why graduates should consider a career in sales and why their companies would be a good fit for what I was looking for.
In other words, the best recruiters essentially concentrated on the two basic things you need to know to get started hiring recent college graduates for sales positions:
- Define what skills and personality traits you need for your sales team.
- Outline how your open position would appeal to what college graduates are looking for.
You also need to know what to look for in the college graduates you meet. We have many sales interview questions on our website you can ask, however here is a quick summary of what I look for in a sales candidate who does not have sales experience:
- Have they coached a team or planned meetings or events?
- Do they train people on the products or services they currently use?
- Do they play competitive sports, dance, or a musical instrument?
- Do they volunteer or fundraise for your favourite charity?
Any of these types of experience shows me, a sales recruiter with more than 35 years experience, they have already demonstrated the work ethic required and the personality traits needed to be successful in sales. They may be that 1 in 4 people who is suited for a sales career. They just might be that diamond in the rough. After all, as Sibel Terhaar once said, “Don’t be afraid of hiring people with ZERO experience. They can surprise you with their determination and great work ethic.”
“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”