Low unemployment means one thing for recruiters: more challenging talent acquisition conditions. In fact, the global talent shortage has hit a 12-year high, according to a recent ManpowerGroup survey, with 45 percent of employers reporting they cannot find candidates with the skills they need.

A recent MedReps report, “The Truth Revealed: Is Low Unemployment Causing a Medical Sales Jobs Shortage?”, uncovered some of the fears driving the talent shortage in the medical sales industry. These fears are heightened during times of low unemployment, which makes sales talent hesitant to take on new opportunities.

To help sales talent overcome their fears — and decide to take your open role — you must first understand what’s going on inside their minds:

Low Unemployment Rates Make It More Challenging to Find a New Job

You heard me right. As a recruiter, you understand this is an incredible misconception. However, it’s a very real fear held by many sales pros. Sixty-six percent of the respondents to the MedReps survey said if they lost their jobs tomorrow, it would be challenging to find a new position due to low unemployment rates.

This fear stems, in part, from a deeper, more trying time: Sales reps are still haunted by flashbacks of the Great Recession. During that time, 74 percent of respondents couldn’t find a new job. Economists have revealed that the last 10 recessions occurred immediately following dramatic dips in unemployment, giving sales reps reason to look warily on the current job market.

Recruiters must be considerate of sales reps’ fears. This is best accomplished by creating deeper relationships, developing trust, and paying careful attention to sales reps’ focus on job security. Stay in touch with candidates to keep them updated on open roles that align with their unique skills and passions so they see their options for advancement truly are plentiful. Then, show sales reps how their skills make them top-quality candidates, especially during this time of lower job market competition. Give them specific examples of how their emotional agility, quick problem-solving skills, or eye for detail can help fill gaps at your organization. This shows them their skills are not just in demand, but will ultimately help them hit the top of the leader board at your company.

The Last Recession Left Deep Scars

Sales reps’ careers were impacted from all sides by the Great Recession. Along with facing challenges in finding new jobs, respondents to the MedReps survey also noted they were laid off (70 percent) and couldn’t hit performance goals (65 percent).

All of these issues would push even the most confident passive talent into hiding as economic trends threaten another recession. Any recruiter can make empty promises of zero layoffs and attainable performance goals, but this is not enough to draw passive talent away from their current employers.

Instead, focus on the tangible aspects of your sales roles. Show candidates your team’s sales goals are recession-proof because you’re producing quality healthcare products that will remain necessary even through economic downtimes. Drive this point home by emphasizing the business’s plans for development and explaining how those developments will impact the lives of patients everywhere.

Reduced Income Is a Risk They’re Not Willing to Take

The best sales employees have the ability to think above and beyond income. Their passion for their products, customers, and the greater good is what appeals to buyers during the decision-making process.

However, income remains of critical importance to sales pros. Passion and dedication can only take them so far, which is likely why 31 percent of respondents to the MedReps survey said they fear a reduction in income if another recession hits.

Passive candidates are viewing companies with even more critical eyes than usual. They’re considering carefully how comfortable they are with their current income and weighing the risks of moving to a new role during a time of financial uncertainty.

Rather than focusing directly on income when recruiting sales talent, highlight the sales team’s success through the Great Recession and as the economy has recovered over the last 10 years. Be honest: If there was a dip, show prospective candidates how the company and its leaders stepped up to ensure employees were taken care of until sales improved again. Candidates will appreciate this honesty and will recognize that there are plans in place to protect employees during financially hard times.

Karyn Mullins is president of Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Catch this article — plus tons of exclusive content — in issue four of Magazine, coming soon!

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