Recruitment is a positive process in which a company attracts a pool of talented people, whereas selection is a negative process through which they screen people and finally select desired number of personnel who are offered appointment. Attracting and selecting new sales personnel is an important aspect of the sales manager’s job.

Recruitment is the procedure to obtain a good number of people with the potential capability of becoming good sales personnel. After attracting a large number of people, it becomes feasible to select the individuals, which fit the needs of the organization. Appropriate recruiting and selection policies and procedures, and their skilful execution result in greater overall efficiency of sales department. Good selection fits the right person to the right job, thereby increasing job satisfaction and reducing the cost of personnel turnover. In addition training costs are reduced, either because those hired are more capable of absorbing training or because they require less formal training.

Recruitment is the process of generating a pool (group) of capable people to apply for employment to an organization.

Selection is the process of choosing the most suitable people out of the acceptable candidates who have applied for the job in the organization. (From both within as well as outside the organization)

Recruitment Process

To ensure the new recruits have the aptitude (ability) necessary to be successful in a particular type of sales job, certain procedures should be followed in the recruitment process. The steps in recruitment process are:

  1. Conducting a job analysis
  2. Preparing a job description
  3. Developing a set of job qualifications
  4. Attracting a pool of applicants

Conducting a job analysis – Prior to a company can seek for a particular type of salesperson, it must know something about the job to be filled. To aid in the process, a job analysis should be conducted to identify the duties, requirements, responsibilities, and conditions involved in the job. A good job analysis involves following steps:

Analyze the environment in which the salesperson is to work – E.g.

What is the nature of the competition faced by the salesperson in this job?

What is the nature of the customers to be contacted, and what kinds of problems do they have?

What degree of knowledge, skill, and potential is needed for this particular position?

Determine the duties and responsibilities that are expected from the sales-person – In so doing, information should be obtained from (a) salespeople; (b) customers; (c) the sales manager; and (d) other marketing executives, including the advertising manager, marketing services manager, distribution manager, marketing research director, and credit manager.

Spend time making calls with several salespeople, observing and recording the various tasks of the job as they are actually performed – This should be done for a variety of different types of customers and over a representative period of time.


Preparing a job description – The result of a formal job analysis is a job description. Since a job description is used in recruiting, selecting, training, compensating and evaluating the sales force, the description should be in writing so that it can be referred to frequently. The written job description lets prospective job applicants, as well as current sales personnel, know exactly what the duties and responsibilities of the sales position are and on what basis the new employee will be evaluated.

The job description is probably the most important single tool used in managing the sales force. It is used not only in hiring but also in managing and sometimes as a basis for firing salespeople. It provides the sales trainer with a description of the salespeople’s duties and enables him or her to develop training programs that will help salespeople perform their duties better. Job descriptions are also used in developing compensation plans. Often, the type of job determines the type of compensation plan that will be used. Job descriptions aid managers in supervision and motivation, and they are used as an official document that is part of the contract between management and a salesperson’s union. Finally, a job description puts management in a position to determine whether each salesperson has a reasonable workload.

Developing a set of job qualifications – The duties and responsibilities set forth in the job description should be converted into a set of qualifications that a recruit should have in order to perform the sales job satisfactorily. Determining these qualifications is probably the most difficult aspect of the entire recruitment process. One reason is that the manager is dealing with human beings; therefore, a multitude of subjective and very complex characteristics are involved. Specific qualifications such as education and experience should be included in the job qualification, thus making good candidates easier to identify. But most firms also try to identify personality traits that presumably make better salespersons, such as self-confidence, aggressiveness, etc.

Job descriptions generally include:

  • General statement describing the concept and specific duties of the position
  • Classification title, position number, geographic location, division and work unit of the position, name and title of supervisor, and effective date of duties.
  • If supervisor position, list classifications supervised.
  • General statement describing the nature of the unit in context with the department/program
  • Description of the positions supervisory reporting relationship (this information can be found in the class specification, usually under the definition of the class)
  • Description of each range of supervision for “deep class” classifications
  • List of typical essential and marginal functions/duties, grouped in related categories
  • Duties broken down by percentage of time spent on each task or group of similar tasks
  • Signature and date of employee and supervisor. You may want to include a disclaimer that the employee and supervisor acknowledge by signing the duty statement that they have discussed the expectations of the position.

Attracting a pool of applicants – This is the last step in the recruitment process which involves attracting a pool of applicants for the sales position to be filled. Recruitment medium needs to ensure that there are a sufficient number of suitably qualified candidates from which to make a selection without being overwhelmed with large numbers of unsuitable applications. Using a recruitment agency to find a small number of suitable candidates, particularly for senior or specialized posts, may prove a significantly more cost-effective and efficient method than a major advertising campaign which generates a large response from unsuitable candidates. The choice of method will also be influenced by the availability of candidates – i.e. is there likely to be a shortage or surplus of candidates?

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