2 key reasons sales reps are reluctant to collaborate with talent acquisition

A Meeting is Still A Meeting

It is possible to find a lot of articles written for technical recruiters on how they can improve collaboration with other employees to identify talent, yet less content on leveraging the collective knowledge of the sales team. The status quo appears to be to ask team members to join physical or online meetings to run through talent lists, yet it is infinitely harder to get a quota-carrying sales rep to attend than it is for a non-quota carrying member. So how can we bridge this gap and get the most out of the company’s collective knowledge on the talent market?

Some talent acquisition leaders I talk to explain how the best way their people get collaboration is by physically visiting sales reps at their desks to pick their brains on prospect lists. However in a world of WFH (Work from Home) this doesn’t seem a scalable solution to our problem and before exploring better ideas, let’s ask the question why sales reps are reluctant to participate on talent collaboration. The quick answer is because a meeting is still a meeting, whether it is physical or virtual. And meetings take time.

Let’s look at this in more detail and explore how a simple, mobile and proactive approach might be a better way.

1) The Pressing Demands of Time

For sales reps the quota clock is always ticking. The stress of meeting their numbers is ever-present; it’s a high-stakes game where time quite literally equals money. Dedicating even a half-hour to discuss potential hires can seem like an unwelcome diversion and mental break from the primary mission. There’s an underlying stress tied to stepping away from the (physical or mental) sales floor—each minute not spent engaging with clients or closing deals feels like a missed opportunity, not just for the individual, but potentially for the company’s bottom line as well.

Asking a sales rep to attend a meeting to identify talent on a market map will end in a late withdrawal more times than not. Even if the sales reps do attend such a session, it is usually out of a sense of courtesy which may not stretch to subsequent meetings. We need to find a way to minimize the time it takes for these kinds of talent meetings so that the barrier to entry is equally removed and engagement rates can be increased. 

2) The Challenge of Timing

For those in sales, the work schedule isn’t just busy—it’s unpredictable. Aligning a slot for a talent meeting amidst customer calls, prospect visits, and deal closures can seem like an almost Herculean task. The unpredictable nature of their role means that sales reps are often in the field or deep in client interactions, making it difficult to commit to scheduled meetings without the risk of them clashing with a critical sales opportunity.

The best sales reps are masters of their schedules and we all know what it is like to have someone break our patterns—or worse, to break our state of flow. Having a recruiter reach out to a sales rep with a request to attend a meeting may seem a nuisance that takes them away from their primary responsibility. Certainly at the end of quarter when pressure is greatest, such a request will be met with rejection; but even after the quarter has closed the sales reps are looking for a mental break and may show reluctance to collaborate. 

The Need for a Better Way

Recognizing the constraints of time and timing for sales reps suggests a need for a shift in approach. Teams, Zoom or physical meetings, while valuable, must be exceptionally well-structured and succinct—essentially, “snappy.” But even this may not be enough to consistently engage sales reps who are bound by the unpredictability of their schedules.

Ideally, the solution should accommodate the erratic nature of sales work and give sales reps the power to help on their own terms. We need a way for sales professionals to contribute insights and recommendations on talent at their convenience, rather than at the recruiters convenience. This would not only respect their time but also allow for valuable input in the talent acquisition process when they can provide it—whether that’s between meetings, during a quick lunch, or after closing a deal, or even from a transit lounge.

The talent acquisition landscape is ripe for innovation that caters to the unique workstyle of every department, including sales. While traditional methods have their place, the goal should be to enhance collaboration without adding undue stress or stretching thin the already limited time of busy sales teams. Only through such understanding and adaptability can the synergy between sales and recruitment be fully realized, to the benefit of the entire organization. 

Enter Referable

If you find yourself stuck in the endless loop of chasing meetings with your sales reps—or if you’ve thrown in the towel on the idea altogether—then it’s time to consider a different approach. Take a moment to explore Referable, a game-changer in proactive, collaborative sourcing. The Referable platform streamlines the process of talent prospecting by automatically mapping employees to their previous colleagues, significantly accelerating the shortlisting process.

But that’s just the beginning. Referable is designed to enable recruiters to share prospect shortlists so the team can provide their input at their own convenience. And the response? It’s lightning-fast, with high engagement rates! Sales reps can provide feedback in mere seconds, whenever and wherever it suits them—across any device. This means that input from your sales team can be gathered without the need for disruptive and time-consuming meetings or the hassle of updating cumbersome spreadsheets. With Referable, the focus is on efficiency, simplicity, and respecting the valuable time of your sales professionals. 

In Summary

Time constraints and timing your engagement are limiting factors behind the reluctance of sales reps in helping talent acquisition. To overcome these barriers we recommend to make collaboration:

  1. Simple—it should take seconds, not tens of minutes 
  2. Mobile—allow contributors to do it at their own convenience
  3. Proactive—provide prospect shortlists to be confirmed as suitable or not

By improving engagement and collaboration rates, and by making it easy for everyone in the organization to contribute on talent identification, recruiters can proactively build talent pipelines and attend every new req briefing with a ready-to-go list of pre-qualified candidates. And who wouldn’t want that?

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