4 Key Tips for Attracting and Hiring Millennials for Sales Positions


Millennial hires will be the people who grow your brand and organization into the future. As an employer, you must embrace this reality or be left behind. Discover how to develop a framework for attracting bright and ambitious millennial talent, and learn tips for finding candidates who will be loyal and motivated to succeed in your sales organization.

In 19 hyper-focused minutes, we’ll cover:
  • Where to go to look for bright young talent with a basic knowledge of selling skills
  • How to create an authentic company culture that’s tailored to your ideal hire
  • The secret to tapping into a millennial’s motivators and aligning them with the requirements of the position
  • Steps you can take to build your employer brand and attract the talent that will grow your organization into the future

Read the Full Transcript of the Briefinar Below: 

Drea Douglass:    Hello, and welcome to briefinars for Sales Leaders. We promise to be brief, bright, and bring it all to you in 19 minutes. Today we’re going to be talking about four key tips for attracting and hiring millennials for sales positions. I’m Drea Douglass, Director of Talent Management Consulting at The Brooks Group, and I’m joined today by Laura Lloyd, Regional Vice president of Sales at The Brooks Group.
Laura Lloyd:    Good afternoon. Before we get started, let’s define what we mean by millennial. For the purpose of today’s briefinar, we’re defining millennials as the group of people formed between the late ’70s, early ’80s, into the mid ’90s. Millennials have a different approach to achieving happiness compared to previous generations and today we’ll be looking at ways to attract and hire them. We’re going to go ahead and jump right into our first tip. Universities are recognizing the viability of careers in sales and in fact more than 70 colleges and universities now offer programs to train students in sales skills.
Drea Douglass:    I was actually kind of surprised about that, Laura. When I heard about this, we all know that colleges and universities traditionally offer business degrees and that’s a macro view of business, how to make a business plan and that type of thing, entrepreneurship perhaps. But I was really surprised to learn that sales organizations are actually offering more practical sales certifications to learn the actual practical tips. In fact, I remember you telling me the other day about your son-
Laura Lloyd:    The college tour, yeah.
Drea Douglass:    Yeah.
Laura Lloyd:    We saw a building on a campus that we’re touring recently and they completely dedicated a building to their School of Sales. It had classrooms and a training facility, and the graduates of these programs already are going to have base knowledge of how to sell value and handle objections. And they’ll come into your company a step ahead of the game unlike others that don’t. The knowledge of the basics will help them pick up your standardized sales processes with these and contribute to the results much faster than anybody that doesn’t have the skills.
Drea Douglass:    Right, not only that, but millennials more than any other generation are equipped to use technology with a changing sales funnel and understand concepts such as inbound marketing, prospecting, and especially social selling. They’ve all been doing that their whole lives, selling themselves on Facebook and Snapchat and what not. All of which are transforming the B2B sales model.
Laura Lloyd:    Yeah, the tech savvy kids are going to be helpful in the future.
Drea Douglass:    Exactly. With the renewed academic focus on sales, companies have a real opportunity here to work with these universities to help build a sustainable talent pipeline. On to tip number two, now that you have nowhere to go, how do you attract these young, intelligent, ambitious, millennials? You need to be actively building your employer brand. Remember, millennials trust reviews and recommendations from peers and review sites like glassdoor.com. So if you want your company to be perceived a certain way, you have to live up to the claims you make. Think of all the times, for example, that you’ve used Yelp or something like that to help you pick a restaurant.
Drea Douglass:    Millennials are taking the same approach to picking an employer. So maybe even consider proposing a call to action to your existing employees in the context of your current environment of course. So in order to keep the finger on the pulse of the environment at your company, we recommend leveraging software tools like TINYpulse. These tools send a brief question out to your staff and allows them to respond anonymously, crucial, so you know where you stand as an employer before putting a call to action like that out to your employees. You need to make sure that they’re satisfied.
Laura Lloyd:    Yeah, absolutely. In fact, The Brooks Group uses TINYpulse weekly which includes a feature called Cheers for Peers which I love that. It allows the employees the opportunity to recognize individuals within a company for outstanding work or commendation. And we actually scroll the cheers on a digital screen in our office of our lobby for everybody to see, kind of like our brag board. Another idea is to establish an employee referral program. When successful young talent recruit peers, it breaks down the barriers and builds interest and can also reduce the hiring costs and speed the hiring process. And we’ve actually seen it here at The Brooks group.
Drea Douglass:    Right, absolutely. So let’s walk through some ways to build your employer brand. Millennials value more than just basic benefits, we keep hearing this over and over again. They don’t prioritize how much money they make as much as their work life balance or other things that they consider important in their lives. So including benefits that add to a well-balanced life like flexible vacation policy, flexible work arrangements like remote work opportunities, comprehensive wellness programs. You can even think about including or offering gym memberships to your employees. I’ve read many articles of companies in stating those programs where they pay their employees to work out during the day.
Laura Lloyd:    I like that.
Drea Douglass:    Right? In fact, I think we have yoga this Friday-
Laura Lloyd:    Yes, we do.
Drea Douglass:    … here in our office. You also want your people to be fulfilled doing their job, of course, we all want to feel fulfilled and engaged in our work. If you match someone’s natural motivators to the job requirements, they’ll be engaged and work won’t feel like drudgery. Also, millennials want to know that they’ll be able to grow and advance their careers. Make it clear that you’re invested in your employees and provide ongoing training and advancement opportunities. This creates avenues for vertical growth.
Laura Lloyd:    Yeah, when it comes to recruiting and retention, company culture is often more important to the millennials than the salary or the benefits. It determines whether or not they’ll be truly happy in their day to day life at your company. The Brooks Group incorporates all these steps into our culture and recruiting strategy. In fact, we’re repeatedly named by the Triad Business Journal as the best place to work and this kind of recognition really goes a long way in attracting the millennial talent. It’s important to them. And, remember, you don’t want to pitch a job to the millennials, you want to pitch a fulfilling and meaningful career because that’s going to speak to them much more.
Laura Lloyd:    So we’re going to move on to tip number three. We touched on this subject on the last tip but it’s really important enough that it be a tip of its own. People feel fulfilled and engaged when they’re doing work that naturally motivates them and this is especially important for millennials who value job satisfaction over monetary incentives as you’re saying. And determine exactly what a position requires for success and use the interview process to find the candidate with the right behaviors, motivators, and also soft skills or what we call real skills and make sure that it matches the job.
Drea Douglass:    Right, exactly. In fact, we took questions before the Brief NR and one of our registrants asked how to look for candidates that are self-motivated and driven? So this really gets at the heart of the concept of motivation, what is that? And all of us fall into this trap that we assume that people are motivated by the same things we are. Everybody loves this, right? I love it, you love it, of course. But that’s not true and for sales leaders or people who are a part of a sales organization inside of a business, often assume that everybody is motivated by things like money, for example, “We’re all motivated by money because I am and that’s really fun to run Cost-Benefit Analysis and have incentives that we are rewarded based on performance.”
Drea Douglass:    But that’s a trap to believe that, actually. Some people, in fact, are demotivated if you place an incentive on their performance and may even perform more poorly if you do that. So it’s important to understand and measure what motivates a person and to ask yourself, “What does this job reward?” Matching those two things, what the person is motivated by and what the job rewards in sales jobs most of the time, that’s incentives, financial incentives ROI. If somebody is not motivated by that, they’re going to perform poorly and you’re going to be scratching your head saying, “This great person, why aren’t they performing?”
Laura Lloyd:    That’s exactly it. Another registrant asked if we could include tips on how to hire a sales individual that will match their top sales performer cloning it? So I think you were going to answer this one.
Drea Douglass:    Yeah, so basically the first thing to consider here really is just you got to take a step back. When you ask this question you’re trying to clone your top sales performer but really think about this, how long has that top performer been in your organization? Maybe they’ve been there for a long time, what are the circumstances under which they’ve been successful? And does that match where you’re trying to take your company into the future? So what basically I’m trying to say here is that your top performers today may not be wired in the way that you need people to be wired to take your company into the future. So the first thing to consider here is not just who the top performers are now and the role, but where the company is trying to go.
Drea Douglass:    For this reason, we recommend creating a position benchmark, it reverse engineers the role to ask the question, if the job could talk, what would it tell us?
Laura Lloyd:    That’s going to help you find the ideal candidate.
Drea Douglass:    Absolutely. Tip number four gets into really the biggest difference between millennials and the generation before them is the importance they place on meaningful work. They typically placed less value on high levels of pay because what this emerging workforce is really after is a career that allows them to engage in work they find genuinely meaningful. For example, I had a call just the other day with a client and this is what I do on a regular basis, I consult with organizations to help them find the candidates from their candidate pool who are at the highest likelihood of success in their organization. So they had a candidate that was a candidate because they were trying to leave their employer. Now their employer it was their first job out of college and they went to go work for an employer that sells essentially vice.
Laura Lloyd:    What do you mean by vice?
Drea Douglass:    By vice, without getting into too much detail, basically, the product that they sold did not contribute to the health and well-being of the individual. So people buy this thing for enjoyment but it actually erodes your health as opposed to making you healthier. This person was actively making a conscious decision to target an employer that has a stated mission of improving lives by improving certain parts of people’s health and the access to health care.
Laura Lloyd:    More in alignment with their values.
Drea Douglass:    Exactly, so this was a millennial, obviously, it was their first job out of college and they were looking to make a change. At The Brooks Group even, I can give you another example. Our purpose is to transform sales organizations so that it’s easier for customers to buy. We believe that professional selling can be a noble career. Great selling isn’t about manipulation or persuasion, it’s about helping your client identify a challenge or growth opportunity and recommending the best solution. Since we communicate that purpose clearly across the organization, all employees know they’re working to help to improve people’s lives.
Laura Lloyd:    Yeah, and that’s what motivates us all here. We do ultimately like to help the client out.
Drea Douglass:    Exactly. Now, you can also use the interview process as a chance to communicate how and why the role is pivotal to your organization. So starting early and stating it often goes a long way to make them feel like they’re not just filling a cubicle. The last bullet here, let them know that their talents will be valued and put to use. You can use specifics on their resume to suggest unique ways, they can contribute to the organization. Asking them about their hobbies, interests or extracurricular activities can help you find ways to suggest how they may be incorporated into the job. Even if it’s just part of the culture building, so it’s not necessarily directly impacting the bottom line but it’s leading to much more engagement among your staff.
Drea Douglass:    For example, somebody who likes to volunteer and they’re altruistically motivated, you could suggest that they head up the food donation program your company’s been looking to get started with.
Laura Lloyd:    In fact, at the Brooks Group, we created a team called the Culture Club and the primary function of the group is to plan, schedule events and service projects that are voted on by the employees of the company and it’s to support comradery, and also make personal connections with the employees. Doing something outside of work, so it takes you away from there and you get to build those interpersonal skills. So we’d like to go ahead and recap the four tips for hiring and recruiting millennials. Number one, make sure you target college grads from colleges that have sales certificate programs, build your brand as an employer, identify candidates match for the position, and communicate purpose behind the job. Did we have time for one more question, Drea?
Drea Douglass:    Actually, we do. And if you have questions, we’re happy to take them, so now’s the time. If you’d like to ask a question about anything that we’ve presented today, go ahead in the chat feature here. Type your question and we’ll be happy to answer it. But we did have another question from a registrant before the Brief NR. I actually really liked his statement and if you’re listening now, you may recognize your question. He said and I’m just going to quote here, “Being a millennial myself, I’m fully aware of some of our weaknesses as employees, for example, tardiness, lack of commitment, lack of humility, etc. Are there questions that will draw out or ways to know whether the individual suffers from these issues? And what are some ways to know if what’s being said is true or typical, you know, say whatever to get the job?”
Drea Douglass:    That’s a great question and that’s some pretty fundamental stuff actually. Based on what we do here at The Brooks Group day in and day out is to recommend questions to ask in the interview process to clarify important issues that may come up in their assessment results. The first step of course is to assess. You need to understand how this person is wired and if whether they match what the job requires in their behaviors, their motivation, and their personal skills. So then you can actually verify, you have this data-driven scientific objective “proof” of who they really are and then you can gauge that against what they’ve been telling you in the interview process. So that goes a long way into helping you understand who they really are versus what they might just be telling you.
Laura Lloyd:    Do we have any more questions?
Drea Douglass:    We do have another question. Fred has asked us to repeat the four things.
Laura Lloyd:    Oh, sure. The four tips for hiring and recruiting millennials is to target college grads from colleges that have sales certificate programs and build your brand as an employer, identify candidates match for the position, and communicate purpose behind the job. And just so you know, we will be emailing this out to everybody. Did we have any more questions? Okay. Drea, no more?
Drea Douglass:    That’s it.
Laura Lloyd:    All right, so if you have open positions and currently aren’t using our assessments, we would like to give you the opportunity to try it out. As I said, we’ll be sending out the recording to everybody from today’s webinar … briefinar, excuse me, the slides as well as information about the assessments. We want to leave you with a quote and food for thought in the context of a job from Simon Sinek, “Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” Let’s make sure that your people are passionate in the role that they’re in or that they’re hired for. We want to thank you for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed the briefinar and have a few good takeaways from today’s session, and we hope to see you the next time.

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