Trends in Hiring Top-Performing Software Sales Professionals


Advancements in technology and interconnectivity have enabled executive recruiters to strategically target potential candidates with greater precision and ease than ever before.  Investing the time to hire the ideal candidate for your current hiring needs is a worthwhile endeavor that facilitates long-term success.  Through their vetting process, organizations should strive to seek out individuals that not only possess the required technical skills and experience, but  that also fit into the company culture,  in order to maximize their contributions to the company and increase their chances of success.

As a direct result of the current candidate driven job market, with the US economy enjoying  unemployment rates at their lowest levels since the mid 1960’s, there is a noticeable trend emerging in the software industry  to evaluate candidates less on software industry specific experience and more on potential.  While this is a terrific way to enlarge the candidate pool, it also makes the hiring process more complex.

In this article, ISCs team of Software Recruiters will cover a few current trends in hiring software sales professionals to help businesses attract, employ and retain top talent.

Potential is Everything

According to the Harvard Business Review, the term “potential” refers to the capacity of developing into something great.  Employees with high potential must possess baseline traits such as determination, curiosity, insight, motivation, and engagement.

This illuminating study reports that while an applicant’s prior experience is certainly applicable,  most new and upcoming tech firms simply don’t have the budget or resources to recruit highly-qualified employees with a long history of success specifically within the software space.   Instead, targeting candidates that can develop over time with the proper industry specific training is more conducive to growth, and serves to dramatically increase the applicant pool.

The key is to learn how to measure potential.

  • *Conducting personality profiling on all candidates, determining which candidates will thrive in your current work environment is a smart use of time and money.
  • * Evaluating candidates based on Situational Interviews, which will provide information regarding how they will handle common scenarios can provide valuable data when comparing individual applicants.
  • *As they say, the best indicator of future success is looking at past performance. Delving into a person’s prior work history, and appraising their past successes or lack thereof, can be indicative of what you can expect moving forward. It is imperative when doing this to compare apples to apples.  If you are hiring for a new business development role, be sure to look at past roles that required canvassing and generating new business as opposed to farming and growing existing accounts.
  • *Another smart way to measure potential is by assessing how eager and hungry the candidate is to join your team.  There is great truth in the saying that actions speak louder than words.  What are their follow up skills like?
  • Assessing ‘Fire in the Belly’ is a critical component when evaluating potential employees.  This is something that cannot be taught, and someone either has it, or not.  When comparing your top 5 applicants, who is consistently following up?  Many smart hiring managers add additional steps to their interview process to simply show who will follow up when given a task to complete.  Keep in mind that sharp candidates are snapped up quickly so you do not want to add a long length of time to your evaluation process, but simply asking your top 5 applicants to send a follow up email by the next morning to reiterate why they should be hired will provide a decent snapshot into what kind of employee they will be if granted the opportunity to join your team.  Are they enthusiastic in their approach, and do they complete any tasks that you assign them as part of the interview process on time, or better yet, early?

A Competitive Market

With each passing year, the scarcity of talent – coupled with a growing number of competitors – results in fierce competition for high performing candidates.

According to a report published by Gartner, the current talent shortage for US based technical sales people now represents the number one emerging risk factor for companies, especially in the Software industry.  Organizations will be wise to step up their game by adopting aggressive recruitment and retention strategies including cultural perks, financial compensation, and a host of other incentives.

Focusing on attracting  diversity candidates is another effective tool for targeting a wider pool of applicants; to this end, extending options such as working virtually from remote locations and offering  flexible work hours are sought-after incentives that can substantially increase the candidate pool.

The Role of Recruiters

Predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for recruitment purposes are modern tools and applications that should be present at the core of  talent acquisition strategies.  However, the role of experienced recruiters cannot be overlooked.

As mentioned earlier, getting a hold of the best talent in today’s competitive market requires businesses to expend a considerable amount of resources.  By availing the services of an experienced executive recruiter with a background in  software recruiting, companies can shift their focus to more pressing tasks such as employee on-boarding, training development & retention. Not to mention the fact that experienced recruiters with a strong focus on the software industry will typically be able to deliver highly qualified candidates that the company would not otherwise have access to .



The golden rule to remember while hiring is that you’re not recruiting to fill spots; you’re hiring to enhance the bottom line profitability of the company.

International Search Consultants has been a leader in Executive Recruiting since 1999.  Our Software Sales Recruiters help companies locate and hire top talent.  We’ve helped countless organizations bring on- board top performers on a nationwide basis to gain an edge over competition.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants and can be reached at or 888-866-7276.

Kara Onorato is Director of Software Recruiting and can be reached at or 877-316-6249.