Are you struggling to fill your sales roles, it might be time to rethink the process and the ideal sales candidate. Thinking outside the box to meet your headcount goals, increase employee longevity and create a great company culture is crucial in today’s market. You never want to lose your competitive edge because the cost of living and salary are affecting your candidate pool but some factors are out of your control. In most cases, you cannot just increase salary to solve the problem. So what options do you have? Here are 4 out of the box ideas that are not to increase salary that can help you recruit top sales talent.

Experience Level

Not having an open mind is how a lot of companies fail. Of course, it would make it easier to confidently interview and hire a candidate that has relevant industry specific sales experience but with the high cost of living, especially in California and the high turnover rates, that tactic might not be realistic.

Try thinking outside the box. Experience can be deceiving, especially lack of experience. Not having industry experience or any true sales experience does not mean they will be a poor candidate, it just means it will be more challenging to determine their potential. At Treeline, we always look beyond what the traditional resume tells us. Factors like: did this individual play sports in college, did they pay for part or all of their education, did they work part-time/full-time while taking classes. These are all examples of non-traditional resume indicators that can tell you a ton about the person. Ideally these will tell you if more likely than not this candidate will be successful in your sales role.

Organized or Intramural Sports

Speaking of sports, this is especially helpful when hiring for entry level sales positions as recent college graduates have little to no actual sales experience. College is obviously the time to focus on academics but someone who can balance a great GPA along with organized or intramural sports can tell you a lot about the individual. You know they have organizational skills, they are competitive, they thrive in a team atmosphere and they are motivated individuals. You cannot know without taking on some risk that these people will be top sales people in your organization but playing sports in college is a common trait of top sales professionals.  

Sports will also tell you how this person can rebound from losing. As we know, great sales people hear ‘no’ 99 times and will still be hunting for that one ‘yes’. The way a candidate handles defeat is a great indicator of how they will handle a bad week or month in their sales career.

Part-Time Jobs

Paying your way through college/having a job while taking classes is a huge sign of a well rounded individual. Most college students like to enjoy their time with friends in their spare time while in college. The candidate that chooses to work or has no option but to work to put themselves through college is someone with drive and discipline. This is sometimes hard to recognize with a first glance at a candidate’s resume. For this reason, it is important to remember that talking to every candidate is extremely crucial to successfully finding your next sales person.

Get Help!

If you keep struggling to find top sales talent, get help. Just because they are recent grads doesn’t mean they are not in high demand. A talented, well rounded college grad is just like a proven top sales candidate, they find their next opportunity fast and you need to operate with a sense of urgency. Know your process, show the candidate you want them and sell them on what you have to offer. All of these outside the box ideas will help you find top sales talent within your organization. 


Sales recruiting is different from any other kind of recruiting.  It is challenging and at times the audience you are working with is unpredictable.  The key to success is to have an open mind and using these tips you will be able to identify talent.  If you have never recruited sales talent before, call Treeline for a free consultation.  We can help you identify some pitfalls to avoid and some industries to recruit from. We can help you build a successful recruiting strategy.  

Published On: June 4th, 2019Categories: Sales Recruiting

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