What to Know Before Hiring Recent College Graduates as Sales Reps

John Greene

April 9, 2024

8 min

Table of Contents

Every year, a new pool of college graduates joins the workforce.

If your sales team has one or more openings, it's wise to consider a promising recent graduate who can grow with your company.

Naturally, it's tough to know who will make it. Most recent grads have little, if any, sales experience.

But, it's also true that everyone starts somewhere. And today's pool of grads is full of tomorrow's sales superstars. They're also enthusiastic, open to guidance, and brimming with ready-to-be-realized value.

Now that you're ready to consider adding recent graduates to your sales team, here's what you can do to attract and ultimately hire good candidates.

1. Appeal to What College Grads Are Looking For

Many college grads won't be excited about an outright sales position. But they are passionate about their interests and finding a role that lets them creatively delve into them.

You can appeal to them more by putting the emphasis on the product.

For example, if you sell vacation packages, you could refer to the position as a travel coordinator - an opportunity to work with prospects to find the ideal vacation.

Not only is that a more appealing angle, good sales people are, above all, solution finders. They help prospects scratch an itch, solve a problem, or fill a need.

2. Determine Skills and Qualities that Fit Your Sales Team

Grades and extracurriculars aren't all that matter, but they can certainly prove useful. Look for classes and activities that are relevant to what you're selling, or sales in general, and then prioritize candidates who excelled in those areas.

Of course, sometimes what matters most is personal characteristics. So be sure to determine the kind of person that would best fit into your team and business environment.

3. Ask the Right Questions in Your Interviews

The standard interview questions you normally use for experienced sales professionals likely won't cut it for college grads. So update your questions to get a better feel for their personalities and potential as sales reps.

4. Video Interviews Can Help You Save Time

Have a large number of recruits to interview? Record the questions in a video, and then have each candidate respond with their own video of their answers. It's faster, easier and it shows that your company is forward-thinking.

5. Ambassadors from Your Team Are a Valuable Recruiting Method

If you have any younger, recent grads on your sales team, it's a good idea to request their help, or send them out during the recruiting process. It helps for college students and grads to talk to someone who has been in their shoes recently. And, you'll have a valuable asset to help you in the final decision making process.

6. Avoid Getting Too Focused on One Type of Candidate

It's easy to find one type that you think will be successful, such as assertive, energetic candidates. Keep an open mind, though, so that you don't pass over anyone with potential who doesn't quite fit that mold.

7. Set Expectations Early

Remember, this will likely be the first experience your hire will have in this environment. That makes setting proper expectations, and explaining the role in detail that much more important than usual. Not only will this help you find a candidate who seems genuinely comfortable in the role, it also helps avoid surprises that leave both parties disappointed from the getgo.

Wrapping Up What to Know Before Hiring College Grads as Sales Reps…

If you choose wisely, recent college grads can make for valuable additions to your sales team. To recap, here's what you need to attract and hire the right one:

  • It's important that the position appeals to what college grads currently want in a job.
  • Consider the skills and knowledge from college will transfer easily to your company, as well as personality traits that would fit your team.
  • Craft interview questions that help you determine a grad's potential as a sales rep.
  • Get through interviews more quickly by having candidates complete video interviews.
  • Sending out ambassadors can help you stir up more interest in your company.
  • Don't get locked in on a specific type of person for your sales team.
  • Be clear with responsibilities and expectations to avoid surprises and disappointment.

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