How to Recruit the New Generation of Top Sales Talent

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Gen. ZDo you believe you understand millennials? Well, forget what you think you know about young talent and prepare to recruit the next wave of sales professionals: Generation Z.

A recent report from Millennial Branding found that Gen. Z is more entrepreneurial than its millennial predecessors. Among those surveyed, 17 percent of Gen. Z respondents said they want to start their own business, compared with 11 percent of Gen. Y. Another study, conducted by Sparks & Honey, found that 61 percent of current high school students want to be entrepreneurs rather than employees.

How do you attract and recruit these future professionals when they are reluctant to be recruited? Here are some tips to help hire the next generation of salespeople:

Don’t Be Sneaky

Gen. Z values trust and honesty in employers. A survey of employed adults found that 32 percent believe that their employer is not always honest and 24 percent don’t trust their employer.

Growing up with these attitudes has had a clear impact on the up-and-coming generation. According to the survey conducted by Millennial Branding, 52 percent of Gen. Z respondents say that honesty is the most important quality needed to be a good leader. Trust is especially important for sales professionals. Employees who trust their brand will be better positioned to sell with confidence and a sense of purpose.

Build trust with Gen. Z talent through open and honest communication. Be upfront about the sales position, company policies, salary, and benefits. Create a transparent image on social media and in job postings. Vague job descriptions and little online activity will lead young talent to believe you have something to hide, which will send them searching elsewhere.

Don’t Rely on Technology to Communicate … 

Although members of Gen. Z are constantly connected through technology and spend much of their time in the virtual world, they prefer to communicate face-to-face. Among those surveyed by Millennial Branding, 53 percent prefer in-person communication over communicating with tools such as instant messaging and video conferencing.

While this may seem counterintuitive, you shouldn’t rely on email and social media to communicate with Gen. Z sales candidates. Speak with them on the phone. Schedule in-person interviews when possible. If the team is close-knit and communicates in-person often, highlight that during your conversations. More personal communication during the hiring process will also help you gauge which candidates possess good communication skills.

… but Don’t Avoid Technology Altogether

Although Gen. Z prefers to speak in person, they definitely use technology to find jobs. A recent survey of students aged 13-18 found that 73 percent are actively connected with technology within an hour of waking up each morning. In addition, 76 percent said that their experience with technology will help them reach their goals.

To recruit Gen. Z sales talent, you need to look on the platforms they are using. Use LinkedIn, job boards, and other professional networks as starting points. Use sites targeted specifically toward sales candidates. If there’s a new site, board, or networking platform, young talent will be using it to their advantage.

Facebook and Twitter may be the platforms to find millennials, but Gen. Z is already using a new generation of social media. To attract Gen. Z talent, you’re going to have to get creative with Instagram, Snapchat, and the other platforms they are using. Stay on top of emerging platforms and create a presence on those that are popular.

Don’t Focus on Salary

Although money may talk to older generations, it’s not as important to Gen Z. Only 28 percent of Gen. Z respondents surveyed by Millennial Branding said that money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer, compared with 42 percent of Gen. Y respondents. Instead, one-third of Gen. Z are most motivated by opportunities for career advancement.

Instead of focusing on salary and traditional benefits, focus on the career path the position could provide and opportunities for internal growth. Better yet, have the candidate speak with an employee who started in a similar sales position and discuss how they moved their way up the company ladder.

By Robyn Melhuish