COVID-19 brought many changes to the recruitment market.

I found businesses became reluctant to invest at the junior end of the market during lockdown because onboarding and training became difficult remotely.

This increased pressure on more senior roles and created a gap in the talent supply for junior and mid-level roles.

Now that businesses are back to a new normal, they are once again looking to invest in new talent to help drive business growth.

Hiring early careers talent is a tried, tested and proven way for organisations to find talent for their workforce and create a strong pipeline of future leaders.

Talent shortages post-pandemic have resulted in a candidate driven-market, forcing employers to reconsider what the skills, attributes and experience profile of their ideal hire and how that can underpin the future development of their company.

Many of the soft skills individuals learn at university or college can be developed and nurtured in a sales role to contribute effectively to success, offering access to a wider, more diverse pool of potential sales talent.

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The key to hiring for sales roles is to look for individuals with potential and the necessary attributes to succeed in sales.

Having an ideal candidate profile in mind that includes essential individual competencies and behaviours, as well as focusing on the characteristics that can be developed.

A comprehensive, face-to-face interview and assessment process is key to being able to find individuals to ensure expensive hiring costs and errors are avoided.

Furthermore, the benefits of good training are vital to the success of new salespeople, and the first few months in the role are the most critical to their retention, performance and long-term success.

In my experience, it can take up to three-six months for a salesperson to ramp into a fully productive contributor, assuming you have the right systems and sales enablement strategies in place for them to perform.

It’s essential that a thought-out, comprehensive training plan is in place from day one, so you can increase your output per head and maximise the value from your new hire.

Training, in turn, communicates to your employee(s) that you’re invested in their professional development, increasing overall employee engagement and retention.

The working environment is also important for sales starters, a lack of support and guidance can quickly lead to a low sense of morale, resulting in low confidence and minimal drive.

New sales hires need a working environment where collaboration is encouraged, and challenges are shared, helping build cohesion, confidence and resilience – all vital to their success and retention.

Many businesses lack a structured approach to hiring and training salespeople, which is a significant problem if sales leaders are looking to expand output.

I’ve seen many organisations repeatedly miss-hire, which can cause expensive, long-term issues.

When businesses don’t know how to effectively interview candidates or don’t have the appropriate training and development in place, they run the risk of making the wrong investments.

The key to building a high-performing junior sales team lies in a structured and consistent hiring approach, along with relevant and consistent training.

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