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Why is Sales Hiring So Difficult? Low appeal for millennials, Stigmatized, Talent and market mismatch, and Ineffective hiring process

Why is Sales Hiring So Difficult? How to Resolve It?

There are many reasons why hiring for a sales job is tough. Compared to other functions, recruiters find it harder to find placements for sales jobs than other hires. One of the key reasons being that sales occupations are projected to decline in the coming years. Among other reasons, technology changes, decreased appeal and increased stigmatization are contributing to sales positions not being filled and unavailability of qualified candidates.

Table of Contents

  • Low appeal for millennials
  • Stigmatized
  • Talent and market mismatch
  • Ineffective hiring process

Sales and marketing jobs have become more complex and fast-paced with changes in technology and society. Sales is a complex function and requires employees to be up-to-date with sales trends, marketing techniques, technological innovations and social changes. Convincing strangers to invest in a product or service that they did not ask for can be tricky and challenging. 

Sales can be a tough career option if the person does not enjoy social interactions and persuasive conversations. The candidates must also be prepared to handle constant rejection. However, those who are social, gregarious, competitive and who like to challenge themselves everyday will love this job.

According to a report by LinkedIn, sales roles are among the top 10 most in-demand jobs in India. The same LinkedIn report also highlights that the demand for sales professionals in India is likely to exceed the supply by 2023, indicating a talent gap in the industry.

Sales jobs today are difficult to fill because of their fast-paced nature and constantly changing dynamics. Building a well-staffed sales team is important to build a scalable business that generates revenue and remains profitable. There are many reasons why sales jobs are difficult to hire for. Let us explore what the issue is and how to resolve it.

Low appeal for millennials

Both millennials and the next generation (Gen Z) do not prefer traditional sales positions, they look for more flexibility and stability. For instance, millennials look for flexibility in terms of work-from-home and sales is now trying to incorporate such flexibility to attract this generation. Technology enables this and a remote work program may help attract millennials to sales jobs. Sales people are also motivated by money so if the job can match their income goals and offer commissions, millennials would be attracted to the job. Driven people are highly competitive and hence telling them how the company can help achieve their goals can be attractive to such people.


Sales people are often perceived as pushy and sleazy who will say anything to close a sale. Cold calling for new clients is also not very welcome to many people. Sales techniques and practices used in the past are no longer relevant and have become heavily stigmatized. To overcome this, many companies are renaming and redefining their sales positions as“account manager” or “business development manager”. These are more appealing than the title of “salesperson”. Telling a prospective candidate that you are looking for someone to connect with customers and solve their problems may help attract better talent to sales positions. 

Talent and market mismatch

Very often the talent pool and the market for which you are hiring can be severely mismatched. Not all people applying for a sales position have the traits required for the job. Looking for natural sales people who have experience and produce amazing results is not easy. A candidate can be charming during the interview but not pushy on the job and therefore will not perform. You need to have a proper sales assessment in your hiring process to be able to understand if the candidate is a proper fit. You need to look for those people who have a high need for achievement, can remain optimistic in the face of rejection and are competitive. 

Ineffective hiring process

Modern hiring tactics should be used to hire people for sales. Firstly, your job advertisements should be effective and catch the attention of prospective job seekers. The application process should be straightforward and easy. Look for hidden clues in the resumes of candidates that show they are high performers. Look at their employment history and efforts made early on during internships for instance. Have the right sales assessment and conduct behavioral interviews. Most salespeople are good storytellers and hence it is difficult to identify the doers from the talkers. Role-playing and mock-demos are also a good way of assessing the potential candidate.

Retaining talent in sales is also important and will offset the difficulty of recruiting for these positions. This can be done by giving incentives, increased compensation, proposing a bonus scale based on achievement of numbers, friendly communication and, of course, by providing the right training. Asking employees what they want changed is also a great way of retaining employees. Employees that feel appreciated and respected are less likely to look for alternative career options. 

Sales has been around forever and is one of the oldest professions. When hiring for sales positions, look for the candidate’s “sales DNA”. Every organization needs proactive sales people to achieve its revenue targets that consequently impact its profits. Ultimately, making your job openings more appealing to that lot can help you hire better candidates.

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