Why Sales Positions Are So Hard To Fill

Sales Positions are Hard to Fill


According to a study from The Harvard Business School’s US Competitiveness Project, US employers spend an average of 41 days trying to fill technical sales positions, and 33 days for other positions that require a similar skill set.  Sales jobs in all sectors are getting harder and harder to fill, but why?


Attracting Millennials To Sales Positions

As veteran salespeople of the Baby Boomer generation gear up to retire, companies are noticing that their pipeline of young talent is drying up. Millennials simply are not lining up for sales positions. While there is no scientific data to explain why young workers are avoiding sales, recruiting experts believe pop culture has done a number on the profession, focusing on the negative stereotypes of the field.


The irony of the Millennial aversion to sales is that the field offers everything the younger generation says they want out of a career. In order to bridge this gap and attract young talent, hiring teams need to engage in aggressive PR that will stamp out the myths and focus on the real benefits of a sales career.


Hiring managers who want to attract young talent should consider adopting strategies like:

  • Tout the flexibility of sales jobs: Millennials don’t want to be chained to a desk, and outside sales offers freedom and the opportunity to travel.
  • Focus on impact: Young workers want to make a mark on the organization. Sales is the number one place to make such an impact.
  • Quantify earnings potential: Millennials leave college with mountains of debt. They need to earn a lot, but they also want stability. Quantify base salary plus commission potential so they can clearly see the financial benefit of a sales career.
  • Start recruiting early: Create paid sales internships and work closely with colleges and universities. Get students working and let them see what sales “actually” entails to help overcome misconceptions.

Attracting Seasoned Reps

The top of the pipeline isn’t the only place hiring managers struggle with sales talent. Recruiting seasoned pros has also become an uphill battle. Why? To put it simply: All the good ones are taken.


Luring these people from lucrative positions isn’t easy – especially if you aren’t in a “sexy” industry. Even if you cultivate relationships with passive candidates, it can be difficult to convince them to take the leap from a company where they are the high man or woman on the totem pole and get them to start over.


Hiring teams need to actively engage in passive recruiting strategies. Build relationships with talent in your market, and nurture those relationships over time. Talented reps will be more likely to entertain a change when they know and trust the recruiter and the company contacting them.


Overcoming sales hiring challenges can be easy – if you have the right partner on your side. Working with an experienced, proven sales recruiting team can keep you connected to the best and brightest sales talent in the market. If you are looking for new ways to attract and retain top salespeople who can keep your profit margins high, the expert recruiters at CSS ProSearch can help. Contact us today to learn more about the ways in which we can help grow, build and expand your team.