Online Recruiting Sellers: The Challenges of Adapting Your Selection Process to the Virtual Environment


Just as there are important differences between the face- to- face and remote management of a sales team, online recruitment of salespeople cannot be conducted in the same way as the “traditional” selection process. Therefore, it is not enough to simply transpose the same practices to the online environment, it is necessary to review the strategy and adapt its selection model.

It is true that the home office has been pointed out for some time as a strong trend in the job market. However, we cannot deny that the need for social distance imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic not only accelerated this process, but forced many companies to adapt their entire operation.

Implementing remote work typically requires a lot of planning. Therefore, even organizations that already had a hybrid regime ended up facing several challenges to make the change quickly and suddenly, as the scenario demanded.

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At first, therefore, the focus was to provide the basics, such as infrastructure, storage services, cloud CRM tools, software to communicate with the team, etc. But after this initial period, it is now time to look at other processes that need to be adapted, such as the need to design an online salesperson recruitment process.

What are the main challenges in recruiting sellers online and how to deal with them?

Although vaccination has already started in Brazil, it will still take a long time for most of the population to be immunized. This means that the recommendation of the health agencies continues to be to avoid personal contact as much as possible.

In this context, it is essential that companies rethink their strategy for recruiting and selecting sales representatives. Even for the selection of on-site vacancies, but which may have selective steps that involve group dynamics, for example.

To help managers and HR professionals in this regard, we will address the main issues that need to be considered in the reformulation of this process to adapt to the virtual environment.

Tools for Recruiting Sellers Online

The Human Resources area, although it is already integrating technological tools in order to optimize its tasks, is often still at the beginning of this digital transformation process, if compared to other areas.

However, there is no way to implement online salesperson recruitment without the necessary tools. And we’re not just talking about resources for receiving résumés and analyzing candidates. Having resources to conduct interviews, dynamics or selection tests is equally important to find new talent for the commercial team.

The good news is that today there are specific systems to do this — including already successfully used by some corporations. This software allow, for example, that each step of the process is partially or fully automated. There are even some that bet on Artificial Intelligence resources for the first filters of resumes or evaluation fit with the organizational culture.

Volume of applications and origin of candidates

One of the great advantages of recruiting sellers online is the significant increase in the reach of the selection process. However, in order not to generate an excessive volume — and impossible to manage — of candidacies, it is important to have a well-defined profile of the professional and to segment the dissemination of the vacancy.

This is even a point of attention: if the position advertised is for the home office, it is certain that candidates from different regions of the country will be interested in the work. However, before starting the selection process, it is essential to understand, internally, how the company will deal with the remote work issue. Will it be temporary or not? What will happen to the contracted seller if I choose to return to the office? Likewise, benefits and compensation need to take into account the candidate’s location.

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Expectations alignment

This aspect leads us, by the way, to another extremely relevant item in the online recruitment of salespeople: the alignment of expectations. It is crucial that the recruiter and manager are very clear about the job description and the professional’s situation in the team and in the company.

Therefore, it is necessary to align expectations regarding a scenario different from the current one – the end of the home office, for example. Furthermore, it is essential to avoid promises that could generate dissatisfaction down the road and impact turnover rates.

Specifically in the sales area, an expectation that needs to be very well aligned is in relation to receiving commissions and bonuses for achieving goals. Therefore, make sure that it is clear to the candidate what is the average sales cycle, the average ticket of new business, the percentage of commission and the ramp up time of new salespeople.

And here lies a challenge: in online interactions, it may not be that easy to create a safe environment for potential collaborators to feel comfortable asking this type of questioning. So, go ahead and include the information in the opportunity and company presentation roadmap.

Connection with the company’s culture

Also related, in some way, with the alignment of expectations is the need to clarify the company’s culture in order to be able to recruit people connected with it.

To identify these sellers during online selection, it’s good to keep in mind that the online interview is a little different and may require more attention from the recruiter. In a face-to-face encounter, we almost automatically notice some signals—especially those related to body language—that help us get to know the candidate better.

Therefore, when recruiting salespeople online, it may be more important to better prepare for this moment, defining more accurate questions and adapting traditional practices, in addition to including additional steps to the interviews, such as profile tests.

Engagement during integration and first months

Finally, in addition to thinking about adapting the selection process, it will also be essential to redesign the onboarding of sellers. The integration program for sales representatives is already a challenge for many companies.

Doing this training completely at a distance becomes even more difficult, but, on the other hand, it multiplies its importance, since the professional will not be present in the company’s day-to-day to understand the operation and processes.

In addition, “close” monitoring of the first few months of new members in the sales team is also needed. In other words, the daily exchange, which happens naturally in the office, needs to be replaced by other means of communication and monitoring.

See how the Scheduler app allows you to follow the activities of sellers:

Ready to adapt your selection process and recruit sellers online?

As you may have guessed, recruiting salespeople online has both advantages and disadvantages. It is true, for example, that the modality optimizes the process, which can guarantee that the company does not lose the opportunity to hire talented professionals because of losing the timing of the selection.

However, it is also necessary to know the challenges that this adaptation brings, precisely, to find the best way to deal with them and be able to find the best sales representatives for your team.

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