As a sales manager you need to learn how to properly engage sales recruiters in order to find the best potential candidates for your company. Oftentimes when business owners engage recruiters they sort of let them do their own thing. But I don’t think you should do that. You want to be very specific about what you want in order to find the best potential candidates for your company. . So I wanted to put a podcast together specifically focused on this to help you learn how to engage recruiters.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Good and bad.
  • Clear rules of engagement.
  • Know what you are looking for.
  • Compensation.



Good and bad.



“Not all recruiters are the same. So, if you go to engage a recruiter the thing you start with is developing a list, write a list of potential recruiters, and looking for recommendations. Call around to other business owners, other people in the same position that you’re in and ask them ‘hey who do you use for a recruiter and how do you like them?’

And hey, you want to ask the questions of the people you’re asking the recommendations from as much as you want to ask about the recruiters. Because they may do it completely different. So, if you’re just going off a recommendation that they’re the greatest without any context that’s difficult. So, I would do a heavy amount of homework ahead of selecting the recruiter.”

Success stories.


“You want to build the case before you interview the recruiters. Then I’d interview the recruiters, I’d go through the process of the conversation. How do you work, who do you work with, give me some companies, can you provide me with references? Can you talk to me about some of your success stories? Can you give me your expectations, what you expect from me? And you’re writing all this down. You’re interviewing them like you would interview a sales candidate.”

Clear rules of engagement.


How we will work together.

“You need to communicate clearly. So when I ask a question and you give me a general answer, I’m not being difficult when I dig deeper and I look for specifics. I’m doing that because I want to know exactly what I’m dealing with.

I’m going to help you find the best candidates, great but don’t like this candidate you chose for me, well that’s the best. Have you defined the best? Well you haven’t. Clear rules of engagement are what’s necessary here. I want to know as I take people through the interview process and we go through a resume, and I read things like ‘developed this program to do this, this, and this’. But what did it take to develop that program? I don’t know the specifics.”


“What’s the submittal process, what it look like from in your end? And how do you submit candidates to us, what’s the expectation out of your pool of candidates when can I expect to start receiving them and how many  do I get at a time? Do you send me one do you really look hard is it one week, two weeks? How do you evaluate candidates before you send them to me? What do you do and I want to know the specifics.

Are they going to follow these same rules of engagement? This is how we submit, this is how we evaluate, this is the refusal. Once they give you what they do then you need to put in place what you’re going to do and then come to a meeting of the minds.

It’s important. Because there are recruiters that will try to sell you on somebody. I don’t want to be sold on somebody, I want to make my own decision.”

Know what you are looking for.


Specific job outline.

“The truth is you have to have a really good understanding of who it is that you’re looking for, a specific job outline, the profile, the experience the skill set, exactly what it is I’m looking for. And I don’t want to deviate from this. “But what if I have a really good candidate and they don’t fit the experience and the skill set, would you consider them?” No. And I say that because you’re opening Pandora’s box. You’re opening them the opportunity to send someone over every time something doesn’t fit right.”


“If someone doesn’t pass the thumbs up then we don’t even think about talking to them, if they’re not recommended we don’t talk to them, bottom line.What if they don’t meet the skill set? They’ve been in the business for 10 years but the skill set’s they have listed here don’t fit for me. So, I might say no based on that, I might look at the resume and say you know what this doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not going to move forward.”




Who are they working for?

” Who are they working for? Are they working for you or are they working for the candidate? Well technically they’re working for you because you’re paying for it. But they don’t get paid until they place a candidate. So, they really work for the candidate.”

Fee structure.

“Part of it is the fee structure, you give someone a percentage of the compensation basically what you’re saying to them is I need to drive the compensation up.

When you give a percentage of the compensation listen to how they talk to you, ‘you’re not paying enough, your salary structure isn’t where it needs to be, I have experience I know what you should be paying in this market.’ Great can you support that with data and documentation? Well I just know what other clients talk about.  Well that’s not documentation, if you can’t share your data to prove to me that this is where the salary structure should be I’m starting to think you want the salary structure higher because it’s easier to place candidates and you get paid more. That’s not a healthy relationship.”

Flat fee?

“Should I negotiate a flat fee? It’s not a bad idea. Here’s a flat fee, work it out, this is what we pay for the job. They’re not worried about that. They’re just worried about getting the right candidate in front of you.”

What guarantee do I have that they’re going to get what they need to be successful?

“If a recruiter asks you that they’re a good recruiter, they get it. If they don’t and they’re willing to negotiate that let them negotiate that replacement and that’s fine. But I’m going to tell you, you’re not going to be successful without an onboarding program. So, you should work on that.”


“So, the compensation is really about getting as close as you can to a good working relationship, and I think at the end of the day, this is all about control. You need to control this relationship not the other way around. Recruiters tend to be very strong willed, very strong personalities, and they try to control the relationship. They have a bit of an advantage because you have 500 other things to do during the day, this is what they do so they’re going to push their candidates, they’re going to push their program, they’re going to push their process on you. I would push back if I had a really good process and I wouldn’t engage with recruiters if I didn’t. I need a really strong hiring process, a really good evaluation, a really good assessment, and I need a strong onboarding program.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.



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