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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Talent Pipeline: Sales Manager’s Approach to Proactive Recruitment

Sales Manager’s Approach to Proactive Recruitment

You know the feeling… a position on your team suddenly comes open and catches you off guard without any promising candidates in sight. You stir up a tornado of job postings, resume reviews, and hopeful prayers that the perfect candidate will miraculously appear… and you feel completely overwhelmed.

Here’s the good news. You can change this!

How to Bolster Your Sales Team with Top Talent

Imagine having a bench of talented candidates who have already been vetted and interviewed and are ready to jump into the game. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. You can flip the switch starting today and never scramble to fill a job again.

Even if your current team is top-notch, circumstances can change unexpectedly. From losing valuable team members to sudden business growth or parting ways with underperformers, having a strong talent pipeline ensures that you never have to settle for less.

Just like any other aspect of life, a smart, effective, repeatable process yields greater and more consistent results. Here's how you can bolster your sales team with top talent.

5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Recruitment Process and Attract Top Talent

1. Thoroughly Analyze the Job and Define Requirements

Before starting the candidate search, meticulously dissect the open position. Consider the accounts you will assign, the new business development you will expect, and the skills you need them to have mastered before their first day on the job. Then, make a list of the specific talents, skills, and experiences necessary for success and identify those you consider non-negotiable.

2. Fill your Pipeline

Armed with your short list of must-haves, begin reaching out to all of your contacts to describe your exact needs and seek referrals.

For example, “I am hiring an experienced Account Manager. Who do you know who is a people-person but also extremely buttoned-up and able to handle highly complex accounts without making mistakes?”

Then, use the same clear language in your job posting and on social media, getting the word out far and wide.

3. Make Initial Contact with Promising Candidates

Create an organized way to track the names of both referrals and interested candidates so you can make contact with each one. When you reach out to potential candidates, be transparent about the qualities you're seeking and why you've contacted them.

Mention the recommendations you received and express interest in getting to know them better. Explain that you focus on the unique strengths of each person you manage, and you are committed to aligning people with responsibilities that maximize their innate strengths, so you always ask job candidates to complete an online talent assessment.

Secrets to a Strong Interviewing Process

4. Do Your Detective Work

Ask for a resume if it feels appropriate, but consider it only one of many resources in the selection process because past experience is a surprisingly poor indicator of future success.

Instead, conduct a validated talent assessment built to align with the specific job you are filling, which will give you a clear sense of whether they have what it takes to achieve excellence in the role. Also, check them out on social media and gather insights from any shared contacts you may have.

5. Get Feedback

Schedule time with a certified Talent Analyst to learn about your candidate’s innate talents, how they align with your job role, and the behaviors you should expect to manage in the role. Ask questions about any red flags you may have seen and discuss the interview questions you should use in a one-on-one interview to better understand whether they are the right fit for your role.

6. Meet Face-to-Face

If you are still interested, arrange a quick meeting over coffee or lunch so you can give your job candidate their Top Talent Report and get to know them better

Whether it is live or virtual, take the candidate interaction to the next level with a face-to-face interview. Built rapport and get to know them as a person. You don’t need to work to uncover evidence of whether they could do the job since you have their talent assessment and a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

Instead, ask prepared open-ended questions to better understand their past experiences, future goals, job expectations, and personality. This will help you determine whether they may be the right fit for you. Introduce them to other managers and address salary and fit considerations if appropriate.

7. Make a Decision: Job Offer or Talent Bank?

Based on all of the information you have gathered about their innate talents, personality, skills, and experiences, it’s time to make a decision. Decide whether you will extend a job offer or add them to your talent bench for the future.


There's very little to enjoy when scrambling to fill an open position. It’s a lot of work to do it right, and it can feel nearly impossible if you are also trying to cover the job responsibilities of that open position at the same time.

Make these steps part of your regular process by carving out an hour or two a week and putting it on your calendar. Make a commitment to this ongoing upfront investment, and you will reap the rewards in the long run!

Button to Download the All-In-One Guide to Exceptional Recruitment

Topics: hiring salespeople recruitment